English Amateur Champion Lauren Johnson believes her professional debut on Saturday night will be the start of her journey to World Titles.
The welterweight found her passion for pugilism whilst watching the London Olympics in 2012 and since entering the sport to lose weight five years ago, she is now competing in her first professional fight.
The 32-year-old didn’t hang about in the amateurs for long before becoming British and English champion and she wants similar results in the paid game, starting with BCB Promotions’ ‘No Guts, No Glory’ show – sponsored by the Grosvenor Casino Walsall – at Walsall Town Hall, this coming Saturday, 4th March.
“I want to get to the very top,” she told bcb-promotions.com. “I want to be at World Title level. Obviously as a woman really you have to be looking at European or World honours because there is no central area titles around. There is no English or British titles so you have to be looking at the European and the World titles, that is the aim as a professional for me. I got my inspiration from watching the Olympics on telly and I thought I would go down and lose weight but then I was told I should compete. We had a lot of fighters pulling out on me so I ended up going into the nationals and winning it, that is how it happened really.
“I am proud because I only had three and a half years in the amateurs and I got a national title, the English title, silver medals in Haringey too, but it is time to kick on now and look forward and try and get these professional honours.
“I don’t know how different it will be as a professional. Further down the line when we go for titles it will be longer rounds. But at the minute it will be four rounds and I have to do that anyway for the English title so it won’t be a problem. I have done the distance before so I know my stamina will be fine. I know the professional game is slower so I will have to learn not to be as bouncy on my feet and stuff like that and to measure my shots. But I think I am adapting quite well and I am enjoying it. I think my style is more professional anyway because when I first started in the amateurs my coach was a professional, so he taught me more of a professional attitude anyway. I just need to get rid of the little amateur habits and make sure I pick up more of the pro ones. As the rounds get longer I think that will suit me as well because I have a good engine for it.”
‘The Black Widow’ is a vegan and relies on a plant-powered diet to fuel her punches. But Johnson is adamant the diet is an advantage to her as an athlete and she wants more professionals to consider the benefits of being vegan.
“Since I have been vegan my recovery is much better,” she added. “When I am at the gym my coach is telling me I can’t be recovered yet but I am and I am sure it is because I am a vegan. My first fight after turning vegan was against a girl who was in the army and she was a full-time athlete with them. I was fine keeping up with her. I put everything in to it and my coach was very sceptical with me being vegan at the time and didn’t agree with it. But he said it was the best he had seen me fight.
“I am sure it is an advantage and I see other boxers in the gym skimping on the meals and eating little portions. I eat five meals a day and my weight is still going down so much that Errol has said I will have to be a Welterweight and not a Middleweight because I am losing so much weight. I am still eating as much, he says every time he sees me I am eating something so for me I think it is definitely an advantage.
“I don’t think it will be more difficult to do in the professional game. I am still getting my required protein intake and Errol (Johnson – manager) says I am still hitting hard as I am going down the weights so I don’t think it will be a problem at all. I have done physical activity exercise and health at university so I have started helping some of the other pros with their nutrition and that. I have spoken to a lot of pros about it and helped them and there will be a few professionals turning pro this season so I think a lot of boxers are noticing the advantages to the diet.”
Johnson is joined by a host of Black Country boxers on BCB Promotions’ ‘No Guts, No Glory’ show.
Walsall super lightweight, Luke Paddock, headlines in an eight-round contest alongside Tipton’s Ricky Summers, who will have to wait to challenge Frank Buglioni for his British Title after the ‘Wise Guy’ picked up an injury in sparring.
Old Hill featherweight, Manny Zaber, also features alongside Birmingham bantamweight, Ijaz Ahmed, Wolverhampton bantamweight, Kyle Williams, and Coventry heavyweight, Dilly Singh.
Tickets for No Guts No Glory on Saturday, 4th March are priced at £30 for standard unreserved seating or £60 VIP Ringside and are available by calling 0845 111 2900. Doors open at 6.00pm