KELLY MORGAN has already packed so much into her 35 years, it’s a testament to her passion that she is now aiming to win a boxing world title. Having achieved numerous British records and a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in her javelin days, served as personal trainer to an Arab Sheikh and, perhaps most notably, spent 10 years in the Army, super-welterweight Morgan now has a fresh goal and is already 2-0 (1).
“I did one amateur season in the Army back in 2007,” she recalls. “But I only had four bouts. I was sent to Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany so I was on the move constantly. I’ve got roots in Swindon now, I looked around at gyms and I had my first white-collar fight at Christmas last year.”
Promoted by Keith Mayo, Morgan switched to the licensed side of the sport in July and is one of only four professional female boxers in the UK. She debuted with a first-round KO and followed that up with a gruelling six-twos points win in October.
After a comparatively short stint in the RAF, Morgan followed her father into the Army and eventually, in 2007 after two shoulder surgeries and the resulting conclusion of her athletics career, achieved her aim of emulating his progression into the Physical Training Core.
“It was a male-dominated world,” she remembers. “All the testing and selection was gender-free, so there was no difference in standards.
“In Iraq I worked in hospitals rehabbing soldiers and locals. In Afghanistan it was myself and a physio flying to all the forward positions to rehab the injured soldiers there.”
Once she had spent time as an exercise rehab specialist at Headley Court, left the Army in 2012, gone travelling and chanced upon a role training a Sheikh in Qatar (“It was a great lifestyle but I gradually felt isolated out there”), Kelly required a new pursuit towards which to channel her considerable enthusiasm and athletic capabilities. Morgan has also represented England at netball but something else she inherited from her father was his love of boxing, so the Noble Art seemed an appropriate next chapter. A fan of Nigel Benn – like her, a former squaddie – and Miguel Cotto, this real-life G.I. Jane is keen to get her professional career onto the fast track.
“The white-collar scene was flourishing in Swindon then,” she explains. “The amateur age limit then was an issue, but they’ve changed it now, although I’m still 35. Then there was the allure of the pro game, more rounds, smaller gloves, no headgear. We are taking any fights we can get and I’m having come down in weight; I’m a middleweight really. We are working with a matchmaker based in Europe and we are eying up an international or European title for my fourth or fifth bout. I’m next out on December 20, then hope March will be a title fight.
“I am loving the learning and seeing real improvements. I feel I have more base power and athleticism that most of the girls out there but I need to keep working on my skills to bring them to the same level.”