Female boxing star who proved Frank Warren wrong in-line for first world title fight despi | Boxing | Sport

Female boxing star who proved Frank Warren wrong in-line for first world title fight despi | Boxing | Sport

After a perfect record for her first eight professional fights, Raven Chapman has hit the first little bump in the road – albeit a minor one. The 30-year-old, who famously became the first ever female boxer to sign for Queensberry Promotions under Frank Warren, is undergoing rehab after having to withdraw from her scheduled bout with Yohana Sarabia last month with a shoulder injury.

A silver lining, however, doesn’t lie far away. Despite admitting the withdrawal was “bitterly disappointing”, Chapman will still be the mandatory challenger to the winner of the Skye Nicolson vs Sarah Mahfoud bout on Saturday night, when the vacant WBC featherweight title will be on the line.

And rest assured, Chapman will be watching. “It will be interesting and 100 per cent Skye’s toughest fight to date,” she said, in an exclusive interview with Express Sport. “We’ll see a different Sarah to the one that lost to Amanda Serrano in her last bout as well. It’s an intriguing one to call.”

Australian fighter Nicolson has an almost identical record to Chapman (9-0-0), and will be the favourite when she takes on her Danish opponent in Las Vegas. Chapman stopped short of voicing a preference, but given Nicolson is a Matchroom fighter, the Englishwoman is all too aware of the newly-formed ‘five vs five’ event, a unique concept which puts boxers from Warren’s stable up against those under rival Eddie Hearn.

“From a business sense, for me, Skye winning…..” said Chapman, before a telling pause. “There are five vs five opportunities in September so let’s just say I will watch Saturday with a keen eye.”

Before then though, Chapman plans to extend her winning record with a summer bout. And despite nearing her dream of becoming a world champion, ‘The Omen’ admits that anticipation is tempered by reality. “There’s excitement but this is boxing,” she conceded. “You can’t get ahead of yourself. Things happen.

“Last year I was meant to fight for the WBO interim, but results elsewhere meant it didn’t happen and I ended up missing out on the chance to face Amanda Serrano. I can’t think ‘that could or should have been me’. You’ll do your head in with boxing as things are rarely linear or go to plan.”

But she knows that date with destiny is drawing nearer, and the name Serrano, who currently holds the featherweight IBO and IBF belts, comes up persistently. “I know it’s coming and it’s there,” she said. “I’ll make it happen. It will happen. I’ve worked myself into a position where I’m mandatory and I’ve worked to the top in all the other organisations. I rank high in every governing body, not just WBC.”

For now though, it’s physio and recovery that takes precedence. Following her win over Lucie Sedlackova in December, Chapman headed to Thailand for the festive period where she participated in Muay Thai sessions, and soon realised the niggles that had plagued her during her pre-fight camp fight had not healed.

A subsequent scan showed up a stress fracture and partial tendon tear. Surgery is not required though, and Chapman is not planning to be sidelined for long. “I’m hoping to get back out in July. There are big shows I’ll be on one of them – and hopefully by September-time fighting for the WBC world title.”

She knows that touted timeline is anything but a formality. But regardless, the notion that Chapman is inching towards greatness continues to grow.

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