5 min read

Packing a Punch

High-achieving, hard-hitting Ellie Harbinson is a force to be reckoned with, and doesn’t plan to let anything stop her, least of all her gender.

She says: “As a female boxer, you can get judged very quickly, but there are a lot of female boxers out there now, and the likes of Katie Taylor are bringing it higher.” Laughing, she adds: “Some men have judged me for doing it and don’t think I’m any good because I’m a ‘girl,’ but they soon find out once we start sparring!”

Boxing is in Ellie’s blood: her great grandad was a bare knuckle boxing champion, her uncle boxed in the army, and her mother always loved to box for her own pleasure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ellie began young.

She says: “I started cage fighting at age 10, moving into kickboxing, sport karate, Thai boxing, and boxing. My mum took me to my first class and I was hooked from the very first day.”

At 22, Ellie has already achieved more than many people do in a lifetime. In kickboxing, she has been part of Team Great Britain, Midlands champion, six-time British champion and twice world champion, as well as working as a kickboxing coach and achieving her 1st Dan black belt. Now, Ellie is turning her considerable combat talents towards boxing.

Don’t let anyone knock your confidence for trying a male-dominant sport.

She continues: “I originally started boxing alongside kickboxing to strengthen and speed up my hands. I was always getting warned when fighting for not picking my legs up as well as throwing my hands, as I felt I was more of a boxer. I achieved my black belt and won two world titles and I couldn’t really go any further, apart from win more titles.

“I felt I needed something new to achieve, so I left the GB squad and just boxed instead.”

While the Covid-19 pandemic plus Ellie’s studying of a degree in Physical Education has meant that her training has taken a back seat over the last couple of years, she has high hopes for her future in boxing. She wants to make team Great Britain, to fight major tournaments including the Olympics, to go professional, win titles, and be an inspiration to other females who box.

When asked what she would say to any women who are thinking of entering the ring, Ellie adds: “Get down to your local gym, be confident, and throw yourself into it. Don’t let anyone knock your confidence for trying a male-dominant sport.

“There are men who do gymnastics, so go for it!”