Daily Mirror

FIGHT NURSE

Amazing Carly Skelly has helped save lives in ICU and is now going for boxing glory

- DAVID ANDERSON @MirrorAnde­rson

CARLY SKELLY has gone from battling on the front line against the coronaviru­s pandemic to fighting for a world title in only her sixth contest.

The NHS hero challenges women’s WBA bantamweig­ht champ Jamie Mitchell on Matchroom’s show in Phoenix, Arizona, in the early hours of Sunday. Skelly’s day job is as a paediatric nurse at Alder

Hey hospital in her home city of Liverpool and she was moved to intensive care at the height of the crisis.

The 35-year-old saw patients die without their loved ones by their bedside and says that traumatic experience allows her to keep boxing in perspectiv­e.

“I was working intensive care, an ICU unit,” said the mum-of-two (right). “I had to go there because staff were testing positive.

“The shifts were 7am till 7.30pm, 12-and-a-half-hour days, and then the nights as well.

“I saw a lot of tough stuff and it was very hard mentally to try to come home and be normal with the kids.

“That was the hardest thing I have done. I enjoy my boxing and I don’t take it too seriously because I’ve seen the other side of life, the struggles that people go through.”

Skelly (above), who is 4-0-1, did not start boxing until she was 29 and she was encouraged by her husband Paul when she impressed in a charity white-collar show.

She boxed in an ABA final 18 months later and fought for England before she turned profession­al in 2019.

She won the WBC’s Internatio­nal super-bantamweig­ht title (below) in her last fight to earn a crack at Mitchell, who beat former WBA champ Shannon Courtenay in October.

Skelly, who has never been to the US, is embarrasse­d by her celebrity status at Alder Hey and plans to return to the NHS if she beats Mitchell.

“I’ll be brought into the kids’ cubicles and they’ll say, ‘This is the boxer’,” said Skelly, who is trained by Siedu ‘Sid’ Siadankay at North Mersey ABC.

“People say, ‘It’s brilliant what you’re doing’, but I’m just a normal person. I see people in the hospital, living there for years and their families swapping shifts to be there. They’re amazing.

“To be fighting for a world title in only my sixth fight is amazing. It’s a fight I can win and I believe in myself.”

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