Tak­ing the law into her own­hands

A £75,000-a-year so­lic­i­tor has given up her City job to be a boxer. By Craig Sil­ver

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

LAURA SAPER­STEIN is cer­tainly no Jewish Princess. The 36-year-old lawyer gave up her £75,000 job to train as a boxer.

And in a week’s time, she will re­alise her dream when she steps into the ring for her first pro­fes­sional bout.

Laura, a 5ft 5in Aus­tralian who now lives in Tot­ten­ham, North Lon­don, be­came hooked when a boyfriend took her to a fight.

“I sat there with my fin­gers in my ears wish­ing ev­ery­one would shut up so that I could con­cen­trate. I was over­come by how fit and skil­ful the box­ers were,” she said.

“An­other friend dragged me along to a kick­box­ing les­son, but I got ad­dicted to the punch­ing. I was not too keen about the kick­ing.”

She be­gan spar­ring on her fam­ily farm with the only op­po­nent she could find — a 6ft-tall boy.

She went on to win 10 ama­teur fights, the min­i­mum needed to turn pro­fes­sional, and be­came Bri­tish Ama­teur Light­weight Cham­pion.

Now she hopes to com­bine the sport with her other ca­reer as a prop­erty de­vel­oper — she owns 12 flats and has 35 ten­ants.

Her day be­gins with an hour-long run and lunch of chicken, salad and rice. Then she is into the gym. “I train from 3pm un­til 5.30 with the ses­sion in­clud­ing skip­ping, shadow-box­ing, tech­nique work, spar­ring, bags, pads, cir­cuits and sprints.”

She al­lows her­self to a glass of wine in the evening fol­lowed by a meal of meat and two veg. “Then I al­ways read an hour be­fore bed by 11pm.”

Al­though she says she has “lost her Jewish con­nec­tion”, she was af­fected by her late fa­ther’s ex­pe­ri­ence grow­ing up in South Africa. She said: “He suf- fered ter­ri­ble an­tisemitism. I re­ally felt for him hav­ing to go through what he did be­cause of his Jewish­ness, some­thing that pro­foundly af­fected his life. I just feel very for­tu­nate that to­day it is not some­thing that con­tin­ues to have an im­pact on peo­ple’s lives, at least not in this coun­try.”

Her fam­ily were wor­ried when she told them of her ca­reer change, but once her mind was made up she “was be­yond car­ing what peo­ple think”. But fel­low Jewish boxer Ro­man Green­berg of­fered ad­vice and en­cour­aged her to keep in touch with the com­mu­nity.

Now un­at­tached, she in­sists she is not look­ing for a part­ner. “To be hon­est, over the past year, I would not have wanted to in­flict my flat-out lifestyle on any­one,” she said.

“Box­ing is the most sat­is­fy­ing thing I have ever done. I know the big bucks are in Amer­ica, and while I would like to fight there, I love Lon­don and it is my home now.

“My ex­treme de­ter­mi­na­tion and will­ing­ness to work are my big­gest qual­i­ties. There is no sub­sti­tute for hard work. Tal­ent may get you no­ticed for a while, but with­out com­mit­ment and cre­ativ­ity it will not take you to the top.

“I’d like to be­come a role model for all women, es­pe­cially those who may be afraid to break out of a mould. I would like women to re­alise how pow­er­ful they can be if they ded­i­cate them­selves to some­thing that in­ter­ests them. ”

Her pro­fes­sional de­but will be at Toot­ing Leisure Cen­tre in South Lon­don on Novem­ber 18.

From this: Laura gave up the City...

To this: ...for the box­ing ring, where she won all her ten ama­teur bouts

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