SHELLEY Watts, pictured early in her amateur boxing career which started in northern New South Wales, has come a long way since she took up the sport in 2010 due to a football injury. Picture: Jay Cronan.
SHELLEY Watts, pictured early in her amateur boxing career which started in northern New South Wales, has come a long way since she took up the sport in 2010 due to a football injury. Picture: Jay Cronan. JAY CRONAN

Watts is some kind of talent

ARTHUR MALONEY has been mentoring boxers for more than 50 years. And although women are rare in the sport he has seen plenty don the gloves in his time.

The latest addition to his stable, Shelley Watts, he says, could be the best. In fact, “she is without a doubt the best”.

On Saturday night in Armidale, Watts, 22, stepped into the ring competitively for the first time. The bout lasted just 80 seconds before the referee stopped the contest.

He had no choice.

A hard-hitting and aggressive Watts landed 18 telling blows, stamping her arrival with a walkover.

“Gee, she could take a punch,” Watts said of her opponent, Jemima Lush.

Maloney, who runs Maloney’s Glove Club in Goonellabah, has big plans for his latest winner. The pair have an eye on the Golden Gloves tournament in Caboolture in August.

Watts doesn’t know what to expect from her new venture.

“We will head to Caboolture and just see what happens,” she said.

But if Maloney’s judgement is anything to go by, there is more glory in store for this pocket-rocket Watts.

“When you stand a bunch of youngsters together you can just tell which will be any good,” Maloney said. “Shelley is one of those – I could tell she would perform; she has the natural ability that struck me right away.”

The boxing veteran went on to describe the traits that he feels will make his girl a star.

“She has the hand speed, the body movement, and she is a quick learner,” he said. “But fitness is half of the battle and she had that when she came to me.”

Watts first entered the gym in March this year. She, along with her mates, turned up for fitness sessions.

Not long after she was bringing her Lismore Thistles soccer team-mates along for the ride.

Then, all of a sudden, things got serious.

“In May, Arthur told me he thought I was good enough to get in the ring for real,” Watts said.

And Maloney’s word was enough.

“You’ve got to trust your coach,” she said.



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