CHANTELLE CAMERON can fight. She hits with spite, reeling off 10 rounds in sparring, even though after only two professional contests she’s only scheduled for six rounds on Saturday, digging in heavy body shots and working with a quiet intensity. Her amateur career was marked by frustration, but she’s taking to the pros with rediscovered zest.
Cameron could easily not be here. She walked away from a defeat at the World championships in Kazakhstan last year, a bout that denied her qualification for the Olympic Games, infuriated. She didn’t want to box again.
She couldn’t bring herself to even watch the boxing at Rio 2016. Estelle Mossely eventually won the gold medal in Cameron’s category and Chantelle could only reflect bitterly on all the times she had beaten the Frenchwoman before, even at the Olympic Test Event in Brazil. “I didn’t even watch it. That should have been me,” she said.
“I didn’t even watch the Olympics because every single one of them, except for Katie Taylor, I’ve beaten.”
Cameron boxes Jasmina Nad in Belfast on Carl Frampton’s July 29 undercard and she has been rediscovered her love for boxing. “Now I’m hungry. It’s not the amateurs anymore. You don’t have judges there that have already marked your card. I can sit down on my shots and actually hurt people now. I’m not leaving it to the judges. I’m making the statement myself. It’s a lot better because I’ve got more rounds as well. Four rounds goes in a blink. Six rounds, my engine kicks in. I get better and better as the rounds go on. I can sit down more on my shots,” she said.
“In the amateurs everything seemed a rush. They didn’t like it when you had a fight… I feel like I’m back in my kickboxing days, when I liked fighting. In the amateurs you’d turn up at a tournament and think, ‘I’m probably going to get done over here.’ So you couldn’t really enjoy it as much. Now I have fun and enjoy it.”