With this pandemic lockdown in full force virtually world-wide, many fights have been already been cancelled, from the biggest, such as Anthony Joshua versus Kubrat Pulev, right through to many small hall events.
Whilst clearly the lockdown is affecting everyone involved in our beloved sport, it made me think of those that had been preparing for their professional boxing debut, such as today’s victim, sorry guest, Caitlin Foran, who was due to debut in Orkney on the 25th April.
Caitlin is a ten time Kickboxing World Champion, quite an accomplishment for someone that is still just 19 years of age, let’s face it to achieve such a high status in any sport at such a young age is quite an accomplishment and without doubt her extensive combat sports experience is going to benefit her when this pandemic is over and she makes her pro debut.
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Caitlin back in March at an event in Barrow-in-Furness, where she was supporting Paul Peers when he challenged, and beat, Nicaraguan Milton Arauz for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International title, and always intended to cover her pro debut, but with that put back until later in the year due to the current situation decided instead to arrange an interview with her.
Enough of my waffle, let’s get to know this amazing teen star a little better.
(GDC) Hello Caitlin, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. My first question is I understand you are a multi-World Champion Kick Boxer, can you please tell our readers a little about your kickboxing career?
(CF) So I started kickboxing in 2008 at the age of eight, at the time I was juggling kickboxing with lots of other sports and activities but over time my attention just stuck with kickboxing and it became my life.
I certainly wasn't one of these people that had a talent for the sport. I wasn’t flexible, I had no confidence, but the one thing I did have that has carried me through to this day is determination.
Living on an island we weren't able to get to as many competitions as other clubs on the mainland could which meant we knew we had to really put in the extra effort to make up for the lack of experience.
Also coming from a large family where my mother was a single parent to 5 children meant I rarely was able to get away to compete and didn’t really start competing properly until I got my black belt in 2011.
I then started competing usually once a month with the first big one being the WKA Scottish championships in Glasgow where I won 2x golds, that was my first big confidence booster and I went on to compete more often winning more Scottish titles as well as British and European.
I then got invited to my first world championships in 2013 in Italy where I came away with a bronze medal.
I always preferred points fighting when I was competing, which is a more karate style, 'start stop' style of fighting, but at my second World championships in Prague in 2014, there was a woman without a fight for her ring Continuous section so I was asked if I would take the fight.
I've never been one to turn down a fight so I took the fight and ended up winning it as well as two others so I came away with my first three World titles and new love for ring fighting.
From 2014 to 2017 I went on to win seven more World titles in various countries.
By 2016/17 my kickboxing career was really taking off and I was looking at turning professional sometime soon, however at the end of 2017 my coach Ryan Reffell sadly passed which put an end to my kickboxing career.
(GDC) What influenced you to switch from Kick Boxing to Professional Boxing?
(CF) As I mentioned previously, I have never been a naturally flexible person so in kickboxing my legs were predominantly used for powerful body single kicks.
While I was still training with Ryan as part of Nemesis Kickboxing, at the end of 2015 we decided I was getting better with my hands and started thinking about switching to boxing.
This lead Ryan to start boxing classes on a Monday night as well as the kickboxing classes through the week.
I was offered my first fight that September with 4 days notice for the UKBC featherweight international title. I went on to win the fight and defended it in a rematch that December.
2017 was when I really started to focus more on boxing and less on kickboxing and had two more fights, with the last fight in my unlicensed career being a Five Nations title fight in April 2017 which brought my record to 4-0-0.
I thought my boxing career had ended then, until Paul Peers moved to Orkney in 2018 and got in touch via Facebook which then kickstarted my training again as he showed great interest in my boxing and was a massive help in getting my love for the sport back and showed that he believed in me which made me more confident in myself and got myself back to training properly again ahead of signing my professional contract in January this year.
(GDC) You were due to be undertaking your professional boxing debut in Orkney on the 25th April, obviously this is being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, so firstly how have your preparations been going?
(CF) Yes, it was devastating when all this started but I am making sure to keep as active as I can with daily running and home exercises making use of the little space I do have at home.
(GDC) Has the Government ordered lockdown had an effect on your preparations?
(CF) Prior to lockdown we were getting sparring in at least once or twice a week at the club and had started our partnership with Lee Mcallister at Assassin's boxing in Aberdeen in order to mix Orkney Boxing Clubs fighters with theirs for some sparring at weekends.
We only managed this once so far with weather being bad and boats not certain to run but were planning more in the lead up to the show.
(GDC) When the lockdown ends and the new date is announced, your opponent is stated to be Carly Mackenzie, do you know much about her?
(CF) I was originally due to fight Carly Mackenzie however my opponent recently changed to Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Silver Champion Jamie Bates Wallis. I don’t know a great deal about Jamie to be honest but from what I've seen she is a strong orthodox boxer with a strong offence and sharp defence.
I took the fight knowing it would be a challenge especially being my first fight back in 3 years.
She's proved to be a champion so in order for me to become a champion I must beat champions.
(GDC) Moving away from your career to date, who is your favourite boxer, male or female, and why?
(CF) My favourite boxer to date has got to be Katie Taylor. She has played a massive part in getting Women’s boxing to where it is today and is a real inspiration to any athlete out there as she has shown that any obstacle can be overcome if you really want something.
(GDC) In the same vein, which is your all time favourite fight, and why?
(CF) It is so hard to choose a favourite fight but one has to be Katie Taylor's most recent fight against Christina Linardatou as she continued her winning record and added WBO Super-Lightweight world title to her ever growing list of achievements. Usually Taylor would be getting stuck into the fight, firing shot after shot. However she kept to the outside this time boxing smart and not wasting energy.
(GDC) Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, finally is there anyone you would like to mention with regard to your upcoming debut?
(CF) I would like to give thanks to my sponsor, Gary Sutherland at GSRI, Steven Logie at Strength 101 for keeping me in shape and Paul Peers for everything he has done over the last year and a half to get my confidence back up and reignite my love for boxing. I would also like to give a shout out to all of my old teammates at Nemesis kickboxing Academy and Nemesis Boxing Gym without them I wouldn't be where I am today.