BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ellie Scotney is set to make her professional debut on Saturday night – with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing a seven-month delay.
The 22-year-old from Catford signed a long-term promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing in February and was due to be out on a show at Greenwich’s 02 Arena on March 28.
But Scotney found out on her birthday – March 16 – that the event was off as the coronavirus forced sport into lockdown.
“It wasn’t good timing but I managed to get some cake – so that made up for it,” said the South Londoner, who boxed as an amateur for Lynn and also Churchill’s. “The world went still, and so did boxing.
“I was proper gutted. It was bad, bad timing but it’s just one of those things that couldn’t be helped. I had to crack on and look forward to whatever was next – which was stacking shelves.”
Scotney was working at B&Q until the last couple of weeks.
“They got rid of me,” she said. “I kept being a bit late because of my training and I was daydreaming. I put pictures on social media of me in my uniform – I was a little model but I ain’t got no job offers from it!
“I’m so excited that I’m boxing this week. I can’t wait to get in there. I last boxed more than a year ago – September. It’s been a long time coming. My first fight will be at featherweight and then I’ll go down to super-bantam.
“I haven’t turned over to just be a number. I want to be a world champion and if I don’t get there then I’ll feel like I have massively underachieved. I know I need to walk before I can run, but Saturday night is my first steps.
“When you think of women’s boxing you think of Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields in terms of changing the game. But I go a bit more old school and someone like Jane Couch – look what she did for the sport. I don’t think she gets enough credit.”
Scotney had won the 2017 Elite national amateur title at 57kg and the English youth title, the latter triumph after only four amateur bouts. She was marked out as a potential GB star at the next Olympics. Instead she signed with Matchroom.
“Looking back it was one of the best decisions I made,” she said. “I’m talking boxing-wise and style-wise. My character wasn’t suited to the [GB] programme – I hated it.
“I used to get on the train [to Sheffield where GB Boxing is based] and want to get straight back on the train home. Something was brewing and it was affecting my boxing. As soon as I made the decision I fell in love with the sport all over again.”
Former Fitzroy Lodge coach Adam Martin helped Scotney make at least a couple of big decisions.
He is based at Adam Booth’s gym in Merstham, Surrey. Booth – who worked with Dave Haye when the Bermondsey boxer turned professional and won world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight – manages and trains Scotney.
“When I decided to leave the GB set up I knew what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she said. “I told Adam I was meant to be meeting [Frank] Warren at the weekend and that I didn’t have a clue about things. He said he was going to spar with Booth and I thought nothing of it. It flowed from there. Adam Booth wanted my number and the rest fell into place.
“Adam [Booth] has crazy knowledge and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.”
Scotney’s debut will be at Peterborough’s East of England Arena. No fans are allowed in due to Covid-19.
“There won’t be any of the ‘Catford Massiv’ and my brother Michael, who is like my personal taxi driver, is used to following me around the world but he’ll have to watch from home,” explained Scotney. “But I’m used to having no crowd when I went away with GB. I’ve boxed in India, which was a bit rough.”
Scotney has five brothers and they are all Crystal Palace fans.
“I’m a Crystal Palace fanatic,” she said. “It wasn’t the team I’d have picked, because you’d want to pick the best team. I was bullied into supporting the red and blue. The first player I remember was AJ [Andrew Johnson]. – he was the magic man.”
Scotney’s bout against Bec Connolly (3-7) is set to open the show, which is headlined by WBA Intercontinental super-lightweight champion Lewis Ritson.
PICTURES: MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM
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