Boxing glory for Bess

BESS Fary took up boxing to improve her fitness for netball. Four years later she is a state amateur boxing champion.

The 26-year-old is the first to admit boxing isn't a traditional sport for women and that her pastime raises eyebrows among many.

Looks can be deceptive.

Between 9am and 5pm she is an event co-ordinator with Warrnambool City Council but in the early mornings, after work and on weekends, she is a lean mean fighting machine.

"Mum doesn't like it," she said.

"She won't come and watch."

Fary had some family support when she claimed the 64kg division novice Victorian championship at Brunswick on Sunday.

In just her second amateur bout, Fary stopped Eltham boxer Samantha Redfern in the second round of their scheduled three two-minute round bout.

Her opponent had an eight-count put on her late in the first round and after a further two counts early in the second, Fary was crowned champion.

"It was exciting," she said.

"I felt good because she was a bit taller and the girls I have been sparring with were taller."

She said she had expected a tough fight to the final bell.

"I felt fitter than her after the first round," she said.

The victory was a reward for hard work.

After four years of boxing for fitness, earlier this year Fary decided to spar.

"I was getting pretty fit and I wanted to test the fitness and do something a bit different, extra. Netball wasn't doing it for me anymore," she said.

She said boxing had a team element, being part of a growing stable of female boxers under the tutelage of Warrnambool coach Rodney Ryan.

She said national masters champion Philippa Hanigan and novices Luci Hand and Gabrielle Brown had supported and pushed each other in the lead-up to the state titles. Brown fights this weekend, while Hand steps into the ring on December 16.

Fary, who is also a personal trainer, trains twice daily and has travelled far and wide to get an edge on opponents.

"I've sparred every weekend, lots of sparring," she said.

Not content with her novice victory on Sunday, Fary revealed she would step up to the intermediate state final on Saturday as she attempts a rare double.

She was approached before her novice bout about moving up but she and Ryan wanted to assess how she fared.

Fary said she had her sights set on taking boxing further. Women's boxing at Commonwealth and Olympic Games only has 50-kilogram, 60kg and 75kg divisions.

"My aim is to get down to 60 I'm 62 and try and get to a state camp or higher," she said.

She is actively pursuing grant applications to establish specialised training camps for aspiring boxers, with such opportunities currently restricted to AIS athletes.

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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