Meet the baker-turned-boxer who became the first female boxer in a club’s 56 year history.
Steph “Sugar” Farley has just had her second bout but says she had no intention of getting into the ring when she first walked through the door at Cae Dai in Denbigh in May last year.
Steph, 22, who works at Henllan bakery, says her workmates were apprehensive at first but have been more than supportive as she got deeper into the sport.
Nearly a year on, Steph says women are close to outnumbering men at the gym even with the risk of going into work the next day with a black eye.
Steph said: “It’s taking off a bit more now, it’s been brilliant to see more women in the boxing gym.
“My colleagues were a bit scared when they first heard, a bit shocked, but the boss is really supportive.
“He’s really into his boxing so it’s nice to know you can go in on a Monday morning with a black eye and not get sacked.
“I’d definitely recommend boxing for other women and girls. Even if you’re not that confident, it’s worth a try as there are lots of other people there who know what it’s like.
“Everyone’s there to help, they won’t stand to see people struggling, everyone’s really welcoming.”
Steph had her first bout at the end of February and managed to come away with the win, bating Llandudno’s Karen Barnes.
Despite never intending to compete at first she says she’s really got into it.
“I used to play football a bit but i didn’t really do anything.
“I only did it for fitness at first but I really started enjoying it. I’d been going one night a week, and as I got into it I took on more and got a bit committed to it.
“I was really nervous at first but Craig Winters did a female only class, which was a confidence booster
“After that I started the normal mens class when the womens course stopped, so I just carried it on
“My first bout was on February 25 which I managed to win which was great, I was really proud.
“It went as well as expected, I just tried to do what Craig told me to do, he gave me instructions and I tried to stick to them; I had a height and reach advantage on the other woman and just tried not to get too close.”
Steph’s trainer, Craig Winters, who himself had 19 professional bouts says Women’s boxing has definitely turned a corner.
Craig said: “I was an amateur with the Denbigh club when I started out myself.
“Denbigh’s club is growing, so many more girls are getting into it because they see the likes of Nicola Adams in the Olympics, and some days we have more women in the gym than lads.
“It’s brilliant, I can’t believe we have to many women and new girls starting, and so many wanting to fight, there are all sorts of opportunities opening up.
“We work with semi-pros now but there’s so many women involved and belts to fight for, I’ve had two women who’ve won belts, there’s plenty going on and it’s really growing.”