Red­fern faces a very dif­fer­ent kind of en­counter in a Liver­pool ring

The Herald - Herald Sport - - BOXING - JIM BLACK

THE In­ver­ness boxer Lorna Red­fern will con­front Kirsty Hill in front of an 11,000 ca­pac­ity crowd at Liver­pool’s Echo Arena this evening at the ABA Cham­pi­onships and not so much as blink.

Hav­ing eye­balled the Tal­iban dur­ing two tours of duty in no­to­ri­ous Hel­mand Prov­ince, it would take much more than a par­ti­san Mersey­side au­di­ence to faze the 27-year-old ex-Royal Ar­tillery gun­ner and phys­i­cal train­ing in­struc­tor.

Lorna, daugh­ter of the leg­endary High­land trainer Lau­rie Red­fern, was the lone Scot cho­sen to com­pete in the in­au­gu­ral “Di­a­monds in the Ring” tour­na­ment for the top fe­male fighters in the coun­try.

The pe­tite ban­tamweight with a 10-8 record is keen to play down her en­coun­ters with in­sur­gents in Afghanistan, ex­plain­ing that her role was mainly to es­tab­lish a rap­port with lo­cal women and chil­dren.

But she ad­mit­ted: “There were a few dodgy mo­ments when we came un­der fire and shots were ex­changed in var­i­ous lit­tle en­coun­ters. But the scari­est times were when our base came un­der rocket at­tack. So I sup­pose step­ping into a box­ing ring is a lot less daunt­ing. I am cer­tainly not fazed by it. In fact, I am very much up for this fight and look­ing for­ward to en­joy­ing the oc­ca­sion.

“I take my pas­sion for box­ing from my dad. For as far back as I can re­mem­ber I have been around box­ing gyms. They are my com­fort zone and I re­call wash­ing out gum shields and hand­ing them to my dad in the ring when I was eight-years-old.”

Lorna, also an ac­com­plished horse woman, is, how­ever, a tad con­cerned that she has not fought com­pet­i­tively for six months. “That will make this fight even more of a chal­lenge,” she ad­mit­ted. “My op­po­nent won gold in a re­cent cham­pi­onship in Swe­den so I ex­pect her to be tough.

“It may not be the big­gest fight of my ca­reer, as I boxed in the fi­nals of the ABA Cham­pi­onships, but it will be the big­gest crowd I’ve fought in front with the Eng­land Box­ing Elite quar­ters, semis and fi­nals tak­ing place over the weekend.”

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