Women’s boxing is booming in the UK, and Cathy McAleer wants a part of it. A proven winner, Cathy is previously a world champion in karate and kick-boxing, and the Belfast fighter is determined to succeed in the pro boxing game too.
Currently unbeaten at 4-0 (1), the 42-year-old has endured a frustrating year with the Covid pandemic but gets her next outing on the UK’s first ever drive-in boxing show at Sheffield Arena on December 11, which is topped by local man Tommy Frank taking on Mexico’s Hugo Guarneros for the IBF Inter-Continental Title, live on Eurosport.
Ahead of the night, we find out more about Northern Ireland’s only female professional boxer:
Favourite all-time fighter?
I followed Barry McGuigan’s career all my childhood, I loved his work rate and pace, he never stopped. My all-time favourite fighter was [Mike] Tyson, I loved his style of fighting and his ability to move was unreal.
Toughest opponent to date?
I’ve came across many in my career in karate, kickboxing, K1 and now boxing, and I’m sure there will be many more to come! It takes a tough person to train, sacrifice and dedicate time and willpower, and then step into any mat or ring.
Your best win so far?
It would be my three world titles in karate & kickboxing. One that stands out is my kickboxing world title when I had a 35 second stoppage! In boxing my best win so far would be my last fight in Birmingham in February [against Bulgaria’s Teodora Hristova].
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a boxer?
My strengths are my experience, and my speed and power. Like most fighters my weakness probably is that I push myself too hard and never stop. Luckily I’ve a great sports psychologist who pulls the reins in on me, and with regular testing knows when my body needs to rest.
What’s the hardest thing about being a pro fighter?
The hardest thing was deciding I wanted to box and win a fourth world title in another combat sports discipline. It was only when I asked John Breen to train me that I found out I was Northern Ireland’s only female professional fighter, I couldn’t believe it!
I had to push forward and create my own path and organise my own sparring partners, fight opportunities, ticket sales, sponsors, manager and promoter. Finally I got an amazing manager in Kellie Maloney who took that role off me and has created an amazing team around me.
Now the hardest thing about being a pro is this pandemic holding me back. I’ve had to keep focused and motivated.
What weight do you see yourself winning belts at?
I’m adaptable. I’ve fought at different weights ranging from 52kg-60kg over the years, and more recently my first three fights were at bantamweight. This next one is at super bantamweight due to an opponent change so I’ve just adapted to that.
Ultimately I’ll leave it up to my manager Kellie Maloney, sports physiologist Joe Dunbar and coach John Edwards. They will know what weight suits me and my health best.
Which women fighters are impressing you the most?
Katie Taylor is a true warrior and inspiration, as well as a really genuine lady. I travelled to Manchester to watch her fight and it was an amazing evening. I also watched her last fight on tv, her work rate and skill set was unreal.
Name one UK fighter you would like to face in 2021?
It’s very hard to name the females at the minute I want to face, as it’s only really starting to kick off! When I started boxing and after my third fight, I called Shannon Courtenay out, but nothing happened she wasn’t interested. Since then she’s been beaten by [Rachel] Ball. I was also supposed to fight commonwealth champion Kristen Fraser but she pulled out.
I would say time will tell very soon who the key opponents are that I need to face to achieve the title fights I want.
Your favourite meal?
Steak, with peppercorn sauce!
GI Jane and then The Bucket List
Which actor would you choose to play you in a movie about your life?
Demi Moore would be amazing.
Belfast of course! The crowd and support and atmosphere the Belfast fans give is unreal.
Your job outside of boxing (if you have one)?
I am the business owner of MAC FIT & MAC BEAUTY. I also train many big corporate companies online for fitness and strength to help destress, improve wellbeing and self esteem. I’m also a karate instructor and before Covid I ran two schools and coached the Northern Ireland squad.
Your boxing ambitions?
To win a world title to make it a fourth word title in my portfolio in four different disciplines.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My original karate sensei, Mr Terry Boyle, who pushed me and taught me a lot about sport and business.
Tell us an unusual fact about yourself?
I played on the first ever Down Ladies County Gaelic Football team.
What is the first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery?
Difficult question! A female only boxing gym and a house in the sun with a pool and gym attached
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Retired from competing, but still involved in the sport helping and developing others.
Dennis Hobson Promotions presents an evening of boxing at Sheffield Arena on December 11, headlined by Tommy Frank and Mexico’s Rosendo Hugo Guarneros contesting the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Inter-Continental Flyweight Title.
Chief support sees Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed fight for the Central Area Super Featherweight belt. Also appearing will be Sheffield’s Perry Howe and Keanen Wainwright, Lancashire’s Josh Holmes and Zak Miller, Belfast’s Cathy McAleer, and Rotherham’s Kash Ali.
The action will be broadcast live by Eurosport.
For ticket information, call 0114 243 4443.