Boxer Shelley punches out a Gold Medal at Commonwealth Games
SOME additional training a few years ago during the soccer season lead to Shelley Watts taking an interest in boxing and ultimately taking her to a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Shelley was the captain-coach of the Lismore Thistles women's soccer team and a wet start to their pre-season training led them to Arthur Maloney's gym, where the whole team did some boxing and fitness training.
Mr Maloney noticed that Shelley had some natural ability and suggested she get into boxing when the soccer season had finished.
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She did, and four years later she defeated India's Laishram Devi to win the first ever women's boxing medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Shelley was recovering from a knee reconstruction when she came to Mr Maloney for training, thinking it would do her good.
"She was very fit from her soccer and I got her registered as an amateur boxer," he said.
Her first fight was at Armidale where she put her opponent on the mat in 80 seconds and the referee stopped the fight. She won another convincingly on points at Tamworth and then she had a bout with two time Australian champion Jessica Retallack at the Lismore Workers Club.
"To take on a lady of that calibre so early in her career showed she had potential. There were 18 bouts that night and a lot of people said it was the best fight of the night," Mr Maloney said.
Shelley lost in a close points decision, but went on to beat Jessica Retallack at a later date.
Shelley moved back to the Central Coast and continued boxing and now one of her Australian coaches, is another pupil of Mr Maloney's.
"Donny (Don Abnett) came to me as a 13-year-old from Casino in the 1970s and he's gone to the top as a coach. He's got to where he wanted to go.
"I'm very proud of what they've (both) done."