Women’s boxing is booming in the UK and Ireland. Katie Taylor, Hannah Rankin, Terri Harper and Chantelle Cameron are all at the forefront of the game. Not too far behind is Scotland’s talented and undefeated, Kristen Fraser (6-0).
The Commonwealth bantamweight champion is progressing rapidly and currently finds herself as the ninth best 118lbs boxer in the world by the International Boxing Organization.
On September 28th, Fraser heads overseas to defend her title against the undefeated, Cathy McAleer (3-0) in her opponent’s home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland. She holds absolutely no fear of heading to McAleer’s backyard. “You can’t always box at home in your comfort zone,” she explained.
“If I end up challenging one of the women holding one of the world titles at the moment (who) are from Mexico and Argentina, you don’t want your first time away to be Argentina! You’re trying to make the weight and recover on the other side of the world. I’m not looking past it, but I’m thinking of the bigger picture.”
One potentially fight-defining difference is the fact that the thirty-one year-old is ten years McAleer’s junior and prides herself on being one of the fittest in the game today. “I think I’ll blow her away,” she boldly proclaimed.
“Since my last fight, I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym doing conditioning, getting stronger. I’m a big bantamweight anyway and I’ll be even bigger for this fight. No-one will ever be fitter than me and be able to go harder and longer than I will. She certainly won’t – especially being ten years my senior. I don’t care how long she spends in the gym, that extra ten years takes it off you.”
Prior to that September 28th title fight, the Aberdeen boxer gets a run out in her home town on August 30th in a six-rounder. A decent opponent who’ll look to take Fraser the distance will likely be the order of the day.
“You want a good test. I want someone with a good record. The last thing I want is a punch bag, you know? I don’t learn anything and they certainly don’t get anything from it. To be top of the bill, it’s not a very good show unless we have someone with a bit of teeth and gives me a good go of it. I’m still learning. We’re very lucky in that you don’t get many punch bags (in women’s boxing). Everyone’s there to win something. You can pretty much guarantee you’ll get someone who’ll give you a good go. I’m very much looking to keep going up the rankings.”
That tune-up bout is mainly due to two fights having fallen through so far this year. Despite the obvious frustrations that entails, Fraser remains upbeat and confident heading into the remainder of 2019. “That hasn’t really affected my standing because I had good quality opponents before. I’m not going to beat myself up about having a bit long out the ring. I keep fit in the gym and there’s no reason why I can’t jump right into it,” she said.
Her championship win last November saw Fraser crowned Scotland’s first-ever female Commonwealth champion. She told me of how she overwhelmed Ellen Simwaka with body shots to record her second consecutive stoppage win. “I put her down with a big body shot in the fourth. The first few rounds were really close and she was pretty awkward to box with good power. In the fourth, I really started to get my distance a lot better and I landed a couple of good body shots. I started slipping in and laying in the body shots. She went down at the end of the fourth and came out for the fifth and I just battered her everywhere in the fifth. She packed in between rounds.”
Fraser is also forever in the history books as Scotland’s first-ever professional female boxer, paving the way for many more to follow. I asked if she’d been subject to any stigma attached to being part of a sport mainly populated by men. “Not really. I’ve boxed for a long time and people generally know who I am. If you’ve been around amateur (boxing), you’ll know I’ve boxed and been away internationally. I’ve been around for a long time and people don’t tend to still have those views, I think? When I was younger there was a bit of it. I genuinely haven’t noticed any outward stigma. I’ll occasionally get the odd idiot on the socials.”
Unfortunately, several of those idiots all gathered to lurk in one particular comments section of an interview Fraser took part in with IFL TV. She was shocked at what she saw posted by the faceless knuckle-draggers. She preferred they’d, “come say it to my face”, but I replied that they simply wouldn’t dare.
Fraser’s promoter, Northern Sporting Club, hope to secure her a world title shot soon. With wins in August and September, she’ll not be just banging on the door of a title tilt; she’ll be knocking it down. Being a big bantamweight, Fraser’s stated to me that she’s also happy to move up in weight if opportunities arise at super-bantamweight.
Scotland’s world-rated contender has already got her eyes locked on the world’s elite. “I’m just biding my time a wee bit,” she told me. “As long as I’m getting good quality matches then I’m building up and keeping an eye out for the opportunities. I don’t want to go in to a big opportunity and blow it because I wasn’t ready. That would be just as bad as not getting the opportunity in the first place. I’m very much looking at the top four or five in the world and the women who are holding the belts.”
Just last month, I witnessed Hannah Rankin become Scotland’s first-ever female world champion when she won the IBO 154lbs world title. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we see Fraser become Scotland’s second female world champion later this year or in early 2020. You heard it here first!
MHD PROMOTIONS in association with A McLEAN BOOKMAKERS & NORTHERN SPORTING CLUB are delighted to be making history at Belfast’s prestigious Europa Hotel on Saturday 28th September.
Scotland’s Kristen Fraser defends her Commonwealth Bantamweight Title against Belfast’s exciting undefeated Cathy McAleer in a first for women’s boxing in Northern Ireland.
This will be the first time two UK female boxers have competed against each other for the professional Commonwealth title and the first time a major female title fight will be contested in Ireland both North & South.
Also featuring or this exciting fight card will be big hitting “Assassin” James Tennyson a former undefeated Commonwealth & European champion who recently fought for the Wold Super Featherweight Title in Boston against the American stand out Tevin Farmer.