Shannon Courtnenay is sharpening her boxing abilities throughout the coronavirus lockdown, learning Roberto Duran whereas listening to Frank Sinatra, writes Ed Draper.
Unbeaten bantamweight Courtenay could also be “bloody bored” and unable to field or spar at the moment of social distancing, however she’s removed from inactive.
“I’ve been running every day long distance, half marathons even, and my legs feel terrible because I can’t get physio or massage, ” Courtenay instructed Sky Sports.
“Normally, I’d have that once or twice a week. I’m not training quite as hard as I would in camp, but don’t have the support and I’m missing the sports massage – you need that with what we put our bodies through.”
Courtenay jumped out to a 5-Zero document final yr, her first as a professional, and was due to be very busy this spring. But like hundreds of thousands of individuals in the UK, her calendar has been cleared by the coronavirus.
“I was supposed to be out on April 24 (the undercard of Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas) and again on May 23 for Chisora-Usyk. I had a really busy couple of months coming up. We had a plan. I knew what was happening to get to those bigger fights, it’s put me back.”
Courtenay is in full-on isolation. She lives alone and other than dropping off meals to the older members of her household and waving to them from the kerb, she’s had no human-to-human interplay for weeks. But she credit boxing for giving her the self-discipline and psychological power to endure.
“Boxing has made me mentally strong, made me more resilient. I hear about a lot of people staying indoors at the moment, just drinking. And fair enough, you have to do what you have to do to get through this, but boxing has given me a focus.”
Twenty-six-year-old Courtenay used to smoke closely herself and drink typically earlier than she caught the boxing bug as a spectator at Billy Joe Saunders’ British and Commonwealth title defence in opposition to John Ryder in September 2013.
She has since dedicated herself to fixed conditioning work to compensate for her lack of novice education and performs down her personal ring abilities, describing herself as “not the most talented.”
“I’ve got a punch bag in my garage. Last week I was getting down in the dumps, but then the bag arrived and I’m spending about four hours a day in the garage. I’m doing circuits, using the punch bag and weights,” she stated.
Courtenay’s taken the additional time to prepare her thoughts as nicely. She’s been reviewing movie of her first 5 fights and watching a few of the sport’s best, previous and current.
“I’ve been learning. Last week I watched Sugar Ray Leonard versus Wilfred Benitez (for the WBC welterweight title in 1979) and Donaire-Inoue (for the WBA tremendous and IBF bantamweight belts final yr.)
“Next, it is Canelo-Golovkin – the second. I watch the fights on the lookout for sure issues, like footwork and head motion. I cease the tape and then attempt and copy the actions.”
Courtenay is in contact with trainers Adam Booth and Charlie Beatt, however she units the curriculum for the house examine herself and her prime position mannequin is a four-weight Panamanian world champion.
“I examine Roberto Duran. I’m an aggressive, come-forward fighter. I do know I’ve obtained one per cent of the expertise Duran had in certainly one of his fingers in my entire physique, however I really like to examine his footwork, his head motion, the best way he used to slip and feint on the best way in.”
As for switching off from boxing, Courtenay confesses to not being a “humongous fan of TV” and prefers to pay attention to music to calm down.
“I’ll watch the odd little bit of TV. But I sit there and have Frank Sinatra on. I favor it a lot.”
Courtenay has proven her artistic and humorous facet on social media throughout lockdown. She not too long ago put up a split-screen video the place she pretended to be Tony Bellew’s baby as the previous cruiserweight world champion declined his teen’s repeated requests for sugary treats.
“It’s pure boredom with the additional time on my fingers. I’ve even downloaded Tik Tok. My agent instructed me to obtain it final yr and I sit there watching movies on there, it is humorous,” she chuckled.
Courtenay has turned her hand to philanthropy too at a time when small companies, together with boxing golf equipment, face a rocky monetary future. She donated one of many gloves from her professional debut to increase £1000 to assist hold her first preventing dwelling going.
“The largest factor is my previous novice membership – Islington Boxing Club. It’s a large, huge membership. For them to shut (due to lockdown) is a large hit. They’ve been whacked. It’s large, two large flooring and it takes some huge cash simply to hold them going.”
And Courtenay’s satisfied novice boxing golf equipment going to the wall wouldn’t solely be a blow to the game’s professional ranks, but in addition society.
“It’s the truth that Islington Boxing Club retains a whole bunch and a whole bunch of children off the road and that is helped get knife crime means down in the realm. But these golf equipment are big to the game too. It’s the grassroots the place all of us began. It’s important we hold them going for the game.”
It’s not simply golf equipment which might be feeling the pinch. Courtenay like most professional fighters is freelance, getting paid when she containers, and her final bout was again in December. She’s conscious the state of affairs is not sustainable long run for a lot of in the struggle sport.
“I’m nonetheless being paid by some sponsors. But I’ve obtained payments to pay, a home to pay for, meals and outgoings that do not cease. But your complete nation is in the identical boat, we’re all struggling.”
While earnings could also be a priority for Courtenay, she’s definitely keen to forgo her slice of ticket gross sales if boxing’s comeback has to be behind closed doorways.
“I do not care. I’d struggle in my again backyard tomorrow!” She stated, laughing.
Courtenay’s loosely planning to be a part of the Harper-Jonas invoice, however will stay “ticking over” till a agency date is introduced.
By ticking over, she means operating half marathons, coaching in the storage for hours, pouring over video of Duran and listening to Sinatra. To adapt the lyrics of one of many legendary crooner’s well-known songs, she’s doing isolation ‘her means.’