Lorna Redfern will make history next weekend by becoming the first female from the Highlands to box professionally.
However, the Inverness bantamweight wants her pro debut at the city’s Drumossie Hotel on October 14 to be about opening the door for female fighters from the north, rather than being a step towards world titles.
Ex-Royal Artillery gunner and physical training instructor Lorna is the daughter of Laurie Redfern, the long-established coach of Inverness City Boxing Club.
She is thrilled by the chance to be part of a show where another home fighter, Calum Turnbull, will be going for the Scottish Super Bantamweight title.
Turnbull will take on Dylan Arbuckle for the national belt, while club-mates Adian Williamson and George Stewart continue their professional careers.
Lorna said: “I am not aiming for any world titles.
“If I win one along the way that’s great, but my target is to give other females something to aim for. Just because we don’t live in the Central Belt doesn’t mean we can’t be just as ambitious.
“If there are young, talented females coming through the ranks, they could aim to go professional because they have seen it happen with me, here in Inverness.
“If that happens, I’ll feel like I’ve done my bit for female boxing.
“I feel good and relaxed about the fight – it’s nothing I haven’t done before, other than it’s under a different bracket. I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve been quite lucky to have Calum and Adian for training at the gym.
“A lot of the other guys have been helpful and I’ve had a few good sparring partners.”
Lorna’s fantastic boxing memories in leading gyms as an amateur
Redfern has already experienced many highs in amateur boxing – which has included training in gyms where some of the sports top names have been forged, as well as coming into contact with some of boxing’s stars.
She has shaped up, for example, at Vauxhall Motors gym, where the coach Peter Phelan trains flyweight world champion Paul Butler; trained under Mike Bromby at St Paul’s, which is (Olympic champion) Luke Campbell’s core gym; sparred in Amir Khan’s amateur gym in Bolton; sparred with Natasha Jonas at the iconic Rotunda Boxing club in Liverpool; and boxed as part of the same set of ABAs (England Boxing National Amateur Championships) as future multiple-belt world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua before he turned pro.
Redfern is making more history
Redfern has already been a trailblazer in Highland boxing, and now she’s excited to be preparing to complete an impressive hat-trick of firsts in the sport.
She added: “It’s exciting to be part of another first, where I’ll be the first professional female boxer from the Highlands.
“I think I was also the first female to win a (national) boxing title from the Highlands, which was when I was in the army and won the ABA Championship.
“I was also part of the first all-female bill at Liverpool’s Echo Arena (in 2014), which they called Diamonds in the Ring.
“Chantell Cameron and Natasha Jonas (two-weight world champions) boxed that night and there were a range of top boxers, so it was great to be part of that.
“I seem to get in there for all the firsts, which is nice, always good to make a bit of history.”
Redfern is a sporting all-rounder. She competed in the hugely competitive Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham in 2021 (with the latest edition coincidentally also running this week).
Gratitude to her dad and employers
She is grateful to her dad for keeping her on track with preparations for her first pro fight, and to her employers for their support.
Redfern said: “I’d just like to say a thank you ahead of the fight to my dad, who has been terrific. He’s quite strict in a way – like if I’m not in the gym, he’s at the end of the phone.
“His style of training is effective. He’s old school and says it how it is. He has the experience and has boxed professionally – he knows the score.
“I must also mention my work: Craig Wood Solicitors in Inverness. They have been supportive with my boxing commitments, such as if I need to go to Aberdeen for medicals or appointments here, there and everywhere. They have been really good.”
‘Relentless’ Turnbull set for a ‘war’
Redfern sees headliner Turnbull in action in the gym regularly and knows the work he has put in ahead of his Scottish title shot, which follows four straight professional wins.
She reckons club-mate Turnbull’s energy and determination could make the difference in the belt bout, saying: “Calum’s got a hard fight. Sometimes title fights are not anything spectacular depending on the opponent for the fight, but his opponent has a very good amateur record.
“It will be a war for Callum, but I do think he has all the attributes to win the fight. He just keeps going from start to finish. He’s relentless.
“Calum’s fight night is a big for the Highlands. Having such good talent up here will hopefully encourage more people to take part.”
Tickets for ringside, tables and outer circle are available direct from Laurie Redfern. For more information, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact 07919 670851.