Nothing to lose for state boxing duo

WARRNAMBOOL boxers Bianca Slater and Luci Hand will adopt nothing-to-lose attitudes when they represent Victoria at next week's Australian championships in Perth.

The pair make the trek across the Nullarbor tomorrow as they prepare for their debut on the national stage.

The two, who will fight in different weight divisions, have become close friends, spending hours each week training together with their coach Rodney Ryan.

Slater, who is entered in the 57kg class, is armed with a wealth of new-found knowledge for the knockout competition, which is spread across four days.

The 28-year-old spent four days at the Australian Institute of Sport with boxing head coach Don Abnett this week.

"I learnt more about some technical stuff and the experience of nationals," she said.

"I've never been before but as he said 90 per cent of the people going have never been either and it's important not to be intimidated.

"We are going over there aiming for a win and to get the experience and enjoy the tournament style of boxing."

Slater said she and Hand had continued working hard since the state titles late last year.

"Luci and I are really lucky we have each other, there are no other girls in Victoria going that have two in their gym and can train together. We are always working and pushing each other." That support has extended beyond their training.

"The support we have had through sponsorship from local people and the people in the gym have been pushing us every time we are in there. And Rude (Ryan), he's made sure we have training in Melbourne or Geelong every weekend for the last six months."

Hand said her build up to the nationals had been big. "I'm very excited. Ready. I just want to do it now."

The 24-year-old will fight in the 54kg class.

"I'm going to go in and try and relax and concentrate for the four fights and do my thing and try not to get overwhelmed by it," she said. "I'm going there to win but I want to have some fun.

"This is a hobby for me, I want to treat it like that. I've got work and study that I can be 100 per cent stressed about."

Hand, a childcare worker, mixes training with studying for a bachelor of early childhood and finds spending time in the ring clears her head.

"When Rude first asked me if I wanted to start sparring, I said I would always do it until I stopped having fun. When I go into that gym, all my stress goes away. It's a place I can go and be happy. It's funny saying that being punched is quite enjoyable but it's about the challenge of learning new skills and seeing improvement. I might not be able to do something right first but the next time I know I'm going to do better."

The championships begin on Tuesday.

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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