Dorset Spotlight had the pleasure of chatting to Gabrielle Reid, ‘Gabs the Boxer’, 18, from Poole, about her transition from kickboxing to boxing, living with cerebral palsy, and pursuing her Olympic dream.
DS: Hi Gabrielle, tell us why you first decided to pursue kickboxing and what made you transition into boxing?
Gabrielle: “I started kickboxing for self-defence. It was something my mum wanted all her children to learn.” Gabrielle has a brother and twin sister. “I enjoyed it a lot, and the progression from kickboxing to boxing was just natural.”
DS: You need to be mentally tough to be a boxer. Where do you think your hunger to succeed comes from, and who inspires you?
Gabrielle: “You must be mentally tough to be a boxer, probably more so than physically. Boxing is a lonely sport, especially when you do not win. When you step through the ropes, your coach and team members are there; but when all is said and done, it is just you and your opponent in the ring. When everything is going against you, and you are getting hit, you can begin to doubt yourself, but these are the moments where I dig deep and give everything I have got! My hunger to succeed comes from within. I am naturally a very competitive person; against my opponent, or myself, I want to be the best I can be in all I do. I have been doubted many times and told that I should not box due to my condition – which makes me more determined to prove the doubters wrong.
Many people in my life inspire me. The top one would be my mum; I am always striving to be a bit more like her! The second one would be my coach Mo because he is a great boxer and coach. He is family – I will always be extremely grateful for what he has done for me. Also, my coach, Dave, at Wimborne ABC, is the most dedicated and hard-working coach I know. He is putting Dorset on the map for boxing. Those are the top three people in my life who inspire me, but there are many more!”
DS: I admire that you are using your experiences to inspire other young people – whilst raising awareness of cerebral palsy. Tell us about your condition? Does it hold you back in any way?
Gabrielle: “If I let it, my condition could hold me back, and I could use it as an excuse not to do things, but I never allow this to happen. I have turned what could have been something very negative in my life into a positive; it has given me a mindset that makes me work hard.
Boxing changed my life in many ways and improved my condition in all aspects. My life could have been very different, so I am glad I have got boxing. I want to help others too, and show them that if I can do it, so can they. People will constantly try to hold you back and tell you that you can’t do something. Unfortunately, that’s just the way the world works, but you’ve just got to block that out. If you want it bad enough, nothing will hold you back.
Of course, with my condition, it makes it just that little bit harder to reach my goals, but that’s what makes the success even sweeter.”
DS: Tell us about your fights this year and what training you have been doing?
Gabrielle: “It has been a fantastic year for me – my first one as an amateur, where I have clocked up seven bouts in only a matter of months and won 5/7 fights. In this time, I have become Western Counties Champion, MTK Box Cup Champion and an England National Youth Development finalist. I have loved every second of it and finally all the work I have been doing over the years is paying off. This is a key message I would send to people – it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and all great things take time! Even this time last year I could have never pictured myself being in the situation I am in now, so I am incredibly excited for the future.
The training I have been doing has not been easy, in fact I train most days, but I try to give myself a few rest days too.”
DS: So, what does the future hold for Gabrielle Reid – could we see you at a future Olympics?
Gabrielle: “I dedicate everything to boxing and my goal, as with many other amateurs, is to go to the Olympics. I have a way to go, but it is not impossible – I will not stop until I get there, no matter how hard it is. For now, I have finished competing in 2021. This has been my most successful year, and 2022 will be even better.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year including my sponsor Anytech Solutions.
I am always looking for new sponsors to help me progress with my journey further, so if anyone is interested, please get in touch.
Lastly, thank you, Dawn, for this interview it is great to see all the local talent presented in Dorset Spotlight, and I’m honoured to be featured.”