At just 23 years old, standing 6 feet tall, Kerry Davis is a full-time middleweight boxer for Great Britian and part of the elite English squad. Despite the remarkable achievements of being crowned the 2018 Elite National Champion and three Nations Champion, her road to the top is only just beginning, as she looks ahead to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Success in combat sports is in Davis’s blood, as her mother competed for England in the martial art of Karate. However, Davis found her strengths in boxing and turned her focus to this training at the age of 14.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped Davis from working hard as she has continued to train twice a day with regimented programs. Davis qualified for the GB squad in 2018 and trains with the team in Sheffield every Wednesday to Saturday.
“I’m so used to being at GB training and having so many people around me when I train. At first, in lockdown, training was just going into your back garden and hitting a bag, so motivational wise it was hard and slow to get going. I think everyone found it hard to get into a routine,” Davis said.
One of the advantages of sport is the bonding with friends and teams throughout your highs and lows of training and competitions. Yet balancing friendship and fierce competition can be tricky as it makes losing more difficult and winning more complicated.
Throughout lockdown the GB girls’ squad have stayed in touch regularly with group chats and facetime to check up on each other and keep up the motivation and team spirits.
“When you’re in the gym you all spar at different times but you all still kind of train together so we do all get quite close up there,” she said.
“There are some girls obviously at the same weight as me so we do have to compete against each other, but you’re civil.
“It works because everyone is in the same situation, so we all speak but when it gets down to boxing you know your place,” she added.
As exciting as it is to be in the GB squad, Kerry has had the worst set backs to her career whilst being in the team and subsequently been robbed of important matches that she was due to fight in. However, when speaking to Kerry, this doesn’t seem to have affected her mental attitude towards the sport.
“I’ve been injured basically the whole time I have been on the GB team. I fractured my foot last January and it recovered but then I did it again in August. Then that didn’t heal properly, and I boxed again, so I had to go back in the boot again for about a month,” Davis said.
“I was meant to fight in April at Nationals, but I still wasn’t running so I think lockdown has been a blessing in disguise, because I have been able to slow down and get my foot completely better. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Davis grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and used to travel twice a week, nearly 250 miles, from GB training in Sheffield to her training club in Portsmouth. Eventually the travel, the expenses and schedule left her exhausted and overall it proved too much to cope with. In February, she made the decision to move to Baker Street ABC in Cheltenham, with coach Todd Roberts.
“It wasn’t making sense when I can get a coach here in Cheltenham. It’s better now, I’ve been lucky in lockdown because I have a coach just round the corner. I started training with him about two weeks ago, only in his garden, but we’ve been doing pad work and its better than training on my own,” said Davis.
The history of women’s boxing is somewhat different from that of many other sports. In the 19th century women’s boxing was banned in many US states and Europe.
In 2009 the International Olympic Committee made the decision to add woman’s boxing to the list of Olympic sports for the London Games in 2012. Since then, we have seen stars such as Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor emerge, which has contributed to female boxings continuous growth in the UK.
“There are a lot more women involved within the sport now and especially in the pro ranks, it’s getting a lot more popular,” she said.
“GB have done a lot to help women into the sport. In the ‘This Girl Can Campaign,’ GB took on about 15 girls who have never done boxing before and they kept a couple on and one of the girls is good enough now and she has a spot on GB squad through the campaign,” said Davis.
Similar to many athletes, Davis is still in the dark regarding when boxing will return.
“People are saying boxing will start again later this year, others say not till next year. The aim at the moment is just training and trying to maintain that level of fitness, so when we do go back, it won’t be a massive shock to the system.
“The next big thing is the Commonwealth games in 2022. So, for now, I will be putting my head down and working hard towards that,” said Davis.
You can follow Davis on Instagram: kezzad8