The Mancunian Rocky: from adversity to Million Dolla, boxer Anthony Crolla

The Mancunian Rocky: from adversity to Million Dolla, boxer Anthony Crolla

Boxer Anthony Crolla is a Manchester legend. Billed as the city’s answer to the Rocky story, the label was hard-earned for the young boxer, who made his professional debut back in 2006 on the undercard of Joe Calzaghe v Sakio Bika at the Manchester Arena, a venue that the Mancunian prospect would thrive in a further 13 times throughout his career. A couple of early career losses were then overcome on the journey to winning the British lightweight title in 2011.

But before he had the shot at claiming a world title, Anthony Crolla would have to face an almost career-ending setback. In late 2014, he was the victim of a vicious attack while defending his neighbours’ property from burglars, and ended up in hospital having been hit across the head with a concrete slab.

Within 12 months, he’d drawn against and then beaten Darleys Perez and claimed the WBA lightweight title, going to provide legendary nights for his dedicated fanbase.

Now retired and working to train the next generation of fighters, including his brother Will, Crolla speaks openly to PathFinders about his incredible career, both in and out of the ring, and what his hopes are for the future.  

Did you yourself believe that you were going to become world champion even very early in your career?

Yeah, I did. Don’t get me wrong, if I would have been saying at some points in my career, I’d have probably got locked up saying I’m going to be a world champion when I’d lost early on in my career a few times. But I always knew what I was capable of and it’s just about sort of getting it right on the night and maturing and that a little bit of luck .

Hard work is what gets you there a lot of the times. And talent as well, a mixture of things. But a lot of the times you need that little bit of luck. There’s been some unbelievable boxers, unbelievable fighters who’ve not managed to get to where they wanted to, not got the break for one reason over and over. Thankfully, I did get my break.

I feel like I never stopped sort of believing that I could get to that level deep down, you know, like I said, even when I was sharing a bunk bed with my brother after fights! I was bluffing the Million Dolla nickname for so long!

Anthony Crolla finally achieved his dream of a world title in the second fight with Darleys Perez, after overcoming a horrific injury. He describes his journey:

“It happened in the December; I was meant to fight in January. I chased some burglars who were in my neighbour’s house a few streets away and then copped for a concrete slab on my head on the blind side and ended up seriously injured in hospital.

Talking about dark moments, that was definitely up there. I believed after that night that it had all been taken away from me. I was just praying doing all the rehab, hoping that one day I’d get cleared to box again.

But obviously on the first day, with the injuries I did think, no chance. I was down and I was thinking, I have a young family. I just moved into my first house with girlfriend and my little boy and it was a pride thing. Thinking I’ve got to provide for them. And the only way I know how to provide is to box and, and I think it might’ve been taken away from me.

So, I was it was the pride. Imagine I have to send them back to live at her mum and dads, because I can’t afford to look after them. Hopefully I would have been successful at something else. It was a horrible, worrying time.

Thankfully it then I got a second chance and that’s what that second chance and that was part of the courage building. I was always dedicated, but I knew I had to get it absolutely everything to make sure I fulfilled, you know, what I wanted to do.

You live, you learn, and everything happens for a reason, don’t it? It very nearly cost me my career, and it could have cost me more, but thankfully it didn’t.”

Watch the video above to hear the full interview.
Recruiting ex-forces: Is missing out on the skills of veterans costing your business?

Recruiting ex-forces: Is missing out on the skills of veterans costing your business?

From the C-suite to trades roles the Armed Forces community offers a wealth of hard and soft skills sought after by organisations. In a labour market where 80% of UK businesses report difficulties in filling vacancies, businesses that fail to take advantage of this talent pool stand to miss out on the opportunity hidden within this community.

We find employers are not ignorant of the benefits of recruiting ex-forces, a population which increases by over 16,000 people each year. Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen organisations increasingly focus on ex-military talent acquisition, but often they lack the network or expertise to reach, engage and retain this group of workers.

Morson Forces are the Morson Group’s dedicated recruitment arm which has been laser-focused on securing skilled employment for ex-forces personnel for the past 20 years.

Our team supports individuals and their partners to transition from ex-forces to civilian life whilst opening doors to the potential of the service leaver community for businesses. Proud holders of the Ministry of Defence Gold Award in the Employer Recognition Scheme since 2017, we have more than 2,500 ex-Royal Navy, Army and RAF individuals working across projects in the UK and overseas.

Almost 13% of our candidate pool is designated as ex-forces.

So why do we invest so significantly in the ex-forces community and what makes this largely untapped talent pool key to helping our clients solve their talent challenges across multiple sectors?

“In the military, if you turn up on time, you’re actually 10 minutes late.” What skills do the ex-forces community offer?

Ex-forces personnel often possess skills that can set them apart from their peers. Soft skills such as organisation, timekeeping and discipline are hard-coded by military experience and culture. In addition, almost all have NVQ or degree accreditations and often have practical experience in subjects like engineering, easily transferrable for similar civilian roles.

We all know that ‘you don’t have to be a pilot to fly in the RAF’, but it goes much further as Jon Moon, veteran, Contracts Manager and Morson Forces team member explains:

The Royal Navy doesn’t just sail ships, the Army doesn’t just fire weapons and the RAF doesn’t just fly planes. They can be surgeons, dentists, cartographers, HR and payroll experts, logisticians, drivers, vehicle mechanics, aircraft engineers, analysts, security, IT, cyberspace communications, radar, telecoms, chefs, aircrew, firefighters, the list goes on…

Leadership, working in safety-critical environments, following instructions (verbal and written) in addition to multi-skilled, professional accreditation and qualifications mean that many forces individuals are extremely attractive candidates. Punctual, with a strong work ethic they can turn their hands to any task.


Most candidates have a minimum of an NVQ level 3 trade qualifications and many with additional professional and personal trade associated with MSc. BSc, MBA and Charter Status.

Many service leavers also come with learning credits which can be used to a future employer’s benefit. The schemes entitle eligible personnel to receive financial assistance towards their learning, promoting life-long development that enables higher level learning of a nationally recognised qualification at Level 3 or above with an approved provider. Information for serving personnel who are looking to claim this can be found here.

With job-ready service people exiting the military each year alongside those aware they will leave within the next 1-3 years, organisations can easily align veteran engagement with their short, medium and long-term talent acquisition strategies.

Barriers that hinder recruiting ex-forces often appear at the first stages of the recruitment process...

Many armed forces have limited knowledge of the working world outside the military bubble. Some ex-services personnel won’t have written a CV or experienced an interview since they joined the armed forces at the age of 16. And challenges such as translating some of the transferable skills they’ve learnt in the armed forces into something that would appeal to an employer are not to be underestimated. Employers must be aware of these challenges if they are to unleash the potential of this community.

The role of our Morson Forces Ambassador, Corporal Andy Reid MBE, is to help veterans overcome these barriers, supporting them to translate their military skills and experience into job-ready ‘civvy’ language.

Army veteran and triple amputee, having been injured by an IED while on a tour of Afghanistan in 2009, Andy is a vital link between service leavers, our recruitment teams, and clients, working together to identify and capitalise on employment/hiring opportunities.

A key part of Andy and the wider Morson Forces team’s community outreach is events. Each year, the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) and the British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) run dozens of events across the country aimed at current and future service leavers. Each event enables networking between potential candidates and employers. For businesses, it’s the perfect opportunity to engage with forces talent and register CVs for future opportunities. Our Morson Forces team attend these events regularly, often in partnership with our clients, helping introduce them to the forces talent pool. With a recruitment team composed of veterans, we provide our clients with unique insight into the ex-forces community and wider talent landscape.

Watch Pat McMullan, Morson Forces Account Manager, at the CTP in Salford:

It’s not just about engagement, it’s about retention. How can employers support recruiting ex-forces personnel and foster a forces-friendly culture?

For veterans to thrive in their new civilian roles, employers must focus on creating an environment of ongoing support and understanding. Our clients who experience the best rates of retention are those who cultivate an internal forces community or support network as well as ongoing investment from a training and development perspective.

Transitioning from military to civilian life is often a significant adjustment. To support, employers could offer:

  • Tailored support programs, such as mentoring initiatives and skills development workshops.
  • Create an internal ex-forces group led by ex-forces candidates with networking opportunities – see Amazon, Barclays, and DHL.
  • Sign the Armed Forces Covenant. With our Gold Award advocacy, we are helping some of our new clients to undertake this.
  • Use awareness days such as Armed Forces Day to educate civilian workers and celebrate military culture, challenges and experiences – training sessions, guest speakers, or internal communications are all great activations.

By demonstrating a commitment to hiring and supporting veterans through small but significant activities employers can send a powerful message to veterans that their organisation values the skills and experiences of ex-military candidates.

What does the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant demonstrate?

Last month, retailer John Lewis became the 10,000th signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a clear way for employers to show their commitment to helping service leavers. The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

recruiting ex-forces

Morson Forces have been a proud holder of the Ministry of Defence Gold Award, the highest attainable level for signatories to the covenant, since 2017. We’ve also helped several of our clients on their journey through bronze and silver.

Clients we have helped on their Armed Forces Covenant journey whilst recruiting ex-forces include St. Modwen, Brakes, Marshall and Manchester United.

Through Morson Forces, we’ve made a commitment to ensuring that once a service leaver begins a new role – either as a Morson employee, permanent staff or contractor with one of our clients – they have access to the support they require through our expert HR and care support teams.

There is nothing else like Morson Forces on the market, which not only makes us best placed to welcome ex-military people into our Group, but ensures we are able to gain all the necessary knowledge and insight required to give these individuals the best chance at starting the next chapter of their lives.


We’re dedicated to supporting organisations as they explore recruiting ex-forces individuals. Whether you’re looking to fill niche roles in your business, engage the ex-forces community or need guidance with the Armed Forces Covenant, we have you covered.

Contact our Head of Integrated Services, James Millward, at

The scientist paving the way for girls in STEM in Canada, Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko

The scientist paving the way for girls in STEM in Canada, Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko

Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko is the Founder & President of the Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS), Canada’s largest and longest-running STEM club for girls, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth aged 7-16. With virtual programming and local clubs that visit labs, workshops, and field sites to meet mentors and do fun, hands-on activities, their aim is to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM in Canada.

With a natural curiosity from a young age and an interest in science and engineering that had been carefully nurtured and encouraged by her parents, Larissa initially had the idea for CAGIS at just nine years old and knew that she wanted to pursue a career in STEM.

For PathFinders, we spoke to her about her career journey, her goals with CAGIS and much more.

Tell us about your early years, when did your interest in STEM first appear?

When I was younger, I was kind of interested in everything. I was a very curious kid. I just wanted to discover and explore and learn. I always had a lot of questions and I discovered, thanks to my parents, that science was a great way to answer questions. When I had these millions of questions, as most kids do, my parents would help me through the scientific method.

My mom is a scientist, she currently works as a professor at Western University and her area of expertise is adolescent at-risk behaviour. My dad was a mechanical engineer and a pilot. So, I got very different types of STEM training from both. On my dad’s side, it was a lot of aviation and building and mechanical stuff. And on my mom’s side very much the research methods, the scientific method. It was a nice balance from them.

We would build things, we would do research. You know, the normally the step one is to start off by reading books and seeing ‘what do we know about this topic?’ But then we would also do experiments where we bring leaves and dirt home. I would prick my finger and look at blood under my microscope. I would explore a lot and science and engineering and tech were just great ways of fulfilling that curiosity I had.

How was school for you? Did you know what you wanted to be from a young age?

I wouldn’t say that I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I was interested in so many different things. I liked science and engineering, but I also love to dance. I wanted to be an astronaut and a lawyer and a professional dancer. I wanted to be all of the things! But STEM was part of that.

In high school I knew I needed to take the science courses, especially with parents who were in STEM. I did just kind of a general science and I ended up focusing on psychology, biology and French as a minor.

Through that, I was debating what path I wanted to take. I ended up in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. I was really interested in vision science from a cognitive perspective, how the brain processes visual information and how that is affected by visual experience and different typical versus atypical visual experience in development.

I ended up doing my PhD in that. I did some post-doc work and after a few years of post, I was running my organisation, the Canadian Association for Girls in Science, on the side until I saw a grant that was a really good fit, so I applied for it. We were successful and then that actually allowed me to leave academia, which was a hard decision because I love academia. But we have been successful with continuing to get funding so far and we now have a small team of staff in addition to hundreds of volunteers across the country.

Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko young STEM
What negative stereotypes did you see in school that inspired you to help girls in STEM in Canada?

As I mentioned, I loved science and engineering as a kid because I got to do it in a very hands-on way at home. When I was in school, I saw that a lot of the kids, particularly the girls in my classes, had very different perceptions. They had stereotypes. The typical scientist stereotype, an old white man with wild hair glasses, a lab coat. The perceptions were also that people in STEM were kind of nerdy. They like to stay in their lab. They didn’t socialise, they didn’t have any other interests. These were negative perceptions that were turning a lot of the girls off the subject entirely. For many of them, it was their least favourite subject.

At school, it was very book-learning-related environment. It was a way of exploring it that was different from what I found fun at home, it was different to the way my parents were facilitating that interest in me, so I knew that there was a stereotype that I wanted to break. For example, one day when I was in Grade 4, my teacher had said to our class, “I need a volunteer to set up this experiment really quickly from this science kit. Can I have a volunteer?” Now I have the science kit at home. I knew I could do it really quickly, so I raised my hand and she said “No, Larissa. I need a boy to do this.”

So I started to invite the colleagues of my parents into my classroom, women in science and engineering to be role models and to do some fun, hands-on activities with us so that the other girls in my class could see that the stereotypes aren’t true and STEM can be really fun.

When did you first get the idea to form CAGIS, and why?

My mum was actually involved in the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWEST) when I was young, back in 1992. Sometimes I was bought along to it when it was a conference. Instead of pushing me as a kid into the corner, they brought me up to the board table and asked me questions like, ‘what are things like for you as a girl in STEM in Canada?’ and ‘What do you think needs to change. what are things like in your classroom?’.

And so one day I stood up at one of these meetings when I was nine and said I’m going to start an organisation for girls. This is what I plan to do, and they were all really supportive. That gave me the part of the inspiration and the confidence to start. I think because I saw all of these other women who were doing these great things and who were trying to fix the problem.

Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko at school STEM
What is CAGIS and what does it do?

CAGIS is a STEM club for girls and gender diverse youth. It has two main programmes. One of the programmes is our local clubs, or chapters, which we have all across the country. Every month we go on a mini adventure to a different STEM location. These adventures are around 2 hours in length and we get to do fun things like sample fish in a pond. We catching the fish and colleting data with the scientist or we might go to a garage and work with the mechanic and learn how to tune up cars. We’re always going to these really cool locations to do exciting STEM activities to really encourage girls in STEM in Canada.

Then there are our virtual programmes. These happen every week during the school year. There are two one-hour sessions, one for kids, one for teens. Again, we make sure that there are role models present who are STEM experts learning the activities. They’re very hands on, so we might be making ice cream with a food engineer or growing crystals with a chemist. Again, most of the sessions are hands on because that’s the main component that we want to make sure we’re incorporating.

Organisations like CAGIS are doing a lot to balance out the gender divide and encourage girls in STEM in Canada. How do you think the perception of STEM subjects has changed since you were young?

I wish it had changed more. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing the same stereotypes in full force. I think there have been some shifts because one of the main places we get these stereotypes is from the media and from society at large. In the media, we are seeing more women and gender diverse people represented in STEM. So that’s a great step.

There is a task where scientists ask kids to ‘draw a scientist’. And then they rate the drawings based on the stereotypes that are present. We’ve have found that the stereotypes present have reduced over time and the percentage of women scientists that are being drawn by kids has increased. In fact, among 5 to 6-year-olds, they’re drawing equal numbers of male and female scientists, so that’s a great step. But we’re also seeing that as kids get older, by the time they’re 13 or 14, the number of male scientists being drawn are outnumbered 4 to 1. And so that’s kind of an important thing for us to know and that’s why developmental research is so important to make sure that we’re looking across ages.

What would you say the biggest challenges specifically in Canada at the moment with regards to attracting girls into STEM?

If we think of gender equity in STEM as a pipeline, it starts with youth. Making sure that those educational barriers are not present and that we are able to support youth in their education up to post-secondary and beyond. But it continues once we’re looking at the STEM workforce. Making sure that the workforce and the companies and employers are creating equitable spaces for their employees. And then the third component is advancement. We know that women and gender diverse people hit what we sometimes refer to as a glass ceiling. They’re not advancing in their careers at the same rate as men are. And we know that that this is impacted by bias.

There was a study that was done where University professors were given a job application for a lab manager, and they changed the name on the job application from Jane to John and had the university professors rate the job applications with the two names based on which one was more qualified, who was more hireable, etcetera. They found that when the name was a male name that those applications were rated as more qualified, assigned to higher starting salary, assigned more mentorship. They were the same application. And so that’s an example of how this bias this would be an example of implicit bias, how it affects trajectory of youth and adults within STEM.

Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko united nations STEM
What are the future plans for CAGIS?

With our local clubs, there continues to be a lot of interest across the country, both from places where we currently have local clubs or chapters and places where we don’t. Our plans are to be able to expand to make sure that we’re meeting that demand and that need and to start local clubs in regions where there’s interest where we don’t currently have them. As far as our virtual programming goes, we want to make sure as many people know about it as possible so that they can join in. We have also a fun new portion of our website that will be launched soon which will involve fun hands-on activities, blog posts written by youth, videos, a more interactive, ongoing way that you can participate in STEM.

If they don’t, if they aren’t able to log on at the right time of our virtual sessions or in person, so it’s just kind of an additional enrichment of our programming.

Morson is committed to helping attract more girls in STEM in Canada. We’re partnering with the Canadian Association for Girls in Science to support their youth programmes.

Are you passionate about building diverse STEM futures? Adept at mentorship with a flair for sharing your skills and knowledge with young people? You might be a candidate! Click here to find out more

Electrical engineering to aviation stress engineering via robotics & AI, Chloe Hughes

Electrical engineering to aviation stress engineering via robotics & AI, Chloe Hughes

Chloe Hughes is a Stress Engineer at Morson Projects. Having a long-standing enthusiasm for aviation nurtured by a love of sci-fi, Chloe has trodden an unconventional path to lead her to working in aerospace. For PathFinders, we spoke to her about her journey and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

When I was at school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I wasn’t really interested in many things. I knew I liked maths, and I loved problem-solving, so that was something that I really wanted to get into. I was lucky enough to come from a family of engineers, so I knew what an engineer was. However, I didn’t get much influence from women in engineering, so I didn’t really feel that it was something that I wanted to do at the time.

I left school at 16 and went to college. I decided to do a BTEC in electronic engineering and I loved that. I didn’t get into university at that point, so I worked in a bank for six months, hated it, and went back to college, to do a HNC in electronic engineering.

I’m from the Isle of Man, so there’s not much going on in terms of engineering and design and things like that. I knew that I had to try and get off the island to try and broaden my career choices. I went to university in London and did electronic engineering again, it was just kind of a continuation.

Even though I was very interested in aerospace, I just kind of had to keep going with what I already had. Well, that’s what I thought, because I didn’t really have anyone to tell me what I could do and what I couldn’t do. I finished my degree. I couldn’t really find a job in London. There wasn’t much going on engineering-wise there, so I decided to study a masters in Sweden in robotics.

That was an amazing thing to do. If there’s an opportunity for you to go abroad and study, definitely do it because it just opens your mind. It’s amazing. I met so many amazing people. I really enjoyed robotics. I think it was really fun. It’s the future. There’s just so many different things, like with AI and the hardware, software like everything.

One of the modules I took in Sweden was A.I. Just seeing and understanding that A.I. is just maths, it’s weird. You can really boil down decision-making to just probability, and it’s just amazing that you can just take that little bit of maths and then put that into an algorithm, into a software program, write a script about it and you have something intelligent, basically, and making decisions.

Then, I did an Erasmus to Lisbon, Portugal, to do my master’s thesis there in human-robot interaction, which was very interesting. After that came back to London, I was there still wasn’t as many jobs as I wanted there. I did struggle and then the pandemic hit. I was still in hospitality at the time, so I was put on furlough at that point.

I took it to myself to be like, “what do I actually want to do?” And that was aerospace engineering. I always wanted to do that, and I didn’t realise that I could. So that’s when I decided, let’s go back to university and do my master’s in aerospace.

I’ve always been into sci fi. It’s one of my favourite things. Watching different things when I was younger, like Red Dwarf, being on a ship. It’s just always been really cool to me! Things that can fly, like, how can things fly? It seems so abstract, but it’s real. Even if you get something up in the air, how is it going to stay there?

I met Maria Williamson. She was my mentor at the University of Salford on the Go Beyond scheme. She helped me with my interview skills as I’m rubbish at them and I think she saw some passion in me and thought it would be great to get me on the team at Morson Projects. So that’s how I got into submarines and then getting into aerospace was more about the networking at Morson Projects.

I’m currently a stress engineer and I do a lot of analysis on different structures to be able to see if the forces and pressures that are exerted on an airplane, they’ll be able to withstand that, so it won’t fail in any way. I just it’s amazing like to see how much work goes into it, putting my name on that as well, it’s amazing.

Morson Projects has recently embarked on a STEM ambassador scheme, where engineers across the organisation are trained how to engage young people in local schools in STEM activities. Chloe is one such ambassador:

I’ve chosen to be a STEM ambassador because I feel that I didn’t really have anyone there outside of my family to actually tell me the different things that engineers can do. I didn’t really like school that much and I was much shyer when I was younger. Having someone take notice of me and say like, you know what? You can do something like this, I think would really like it would that would have been amazing to see a bit more of that I would love to be able to just inspire someone outside of like their family or the norms that they see every day. And especially young girls or people that don’t know what they want to do in their lives, because it is such a fun thing and there’s so many different things you can do.

It’s not just aerospace or power or submarines. You could do product design. Everything is engineered. It’s amazing for people with all different backgrounds, different diversities and different ideas of how things can be made… it’s just the best thing in engineering!

Another Morson Group engineer who has taken an unconventional path into the industry is James Baillie. He started off as a professional footballer, before leaning on his creative flair at school with design software to become a CAD technician with Waldeck. Hear his story here

From humble beginnings to trailblazing Boxer of the Year, Natasha Jonas

From humble beginnings to trailblazing Boxer of the Year, Natasha Jonas

Professional boxer Natasha Jonas has conquered everything the sport has thrown at her throughout her successful career. From humble beginnings in Toxteth, just outside of Liverpool, to becoming the first-ever female BBBoC Boxer of the Year in 2022, Tash Jonas navigated the challenges of an amateur career, enjoyed Olympic success, overcome a disappointing loss to Katie Taylor and managed it all while excelling at her most important job – being a mother.

Our in-depth interview with her comes at a time when she is riding high. Currently unified WBC, IBF and WBO female light-middleweight champion of the world, she also sits on a government boxing board and enjoys being a role model for women in sport.

She talks openly about many topics, from boxing and training to life on the quieter side of the ropes with her daughter, Mela. She discusses the many challenges she has faced along the way, from struggling to balance work with her Team GB career to managing her busy schedule. She also talks about overcoming self-doubt, what boxing has taught her about herself and much more.

In the early days of her amateur career, Tash had to balance a day job with the rigours of training camps and, eventually, international trips representing her country with Team GB. With the intense pressure of needing to deliver on the world stage, Tash needed to find work with an organisation that offered her the flexibility she needed:

“I was just working on the phones, mainly for banks and for internet companies, for Vodafone. And then I got on the England team. Now when you make it there, sometimes you need we’d be going away to Europe, the European championships or even the world championships. And we used to have a training camp the week before, so I’d be going to the gym before I started work, going after work and then it if comes to the big competitions we’d probably have a ten-day training camp, so then I’d need ten days off, plus the week of the tournament. And as anyone knows, it’s hard to get 20 days off work at a time for 2 to 3 tournaments a year. You’ve only got so many holidays and I’m like, well, you need to give me the holidays or I’ll have to leave. And they were like, well, you’re going to have to leave. So, I was in and out of jobs for a long time in England. And then the council did an initiative where if you were, an athlete heading towards that like Olympic star program, this was Liverpool City Council, they would sponsor you a job.

So then I got a job working in the call centre in Liverpool Direct and any time that I needed off for training I was allowed off. It wouldn’t always be paid, but you’d still be allowed the time off and you could return to your job. So that helped a helped massively because then I always knew I was coming back to a job. And then I got onto GB and then you’re a funded athlete, so that Monday to Thursday or Monday to Friday, sometimes you’re just living in Sheffield, you come home at the weekend and then go back there on the Monday.”

“Sport, and especially boxing, it’s just a skill that I’ve learned to be good at. But the life lessons that you learn from it, that I’m resilient, I’m hardworking, I’m determined, I’m motivated, I can speak to people on different levels, work along or as part of a group… if you ask a business leader what they would want their employee to be, they’d probably say those things! There are life skills that I’ve learned along the way, and sometimes they were skills that school couldn’t teach me.

When you have a career like Natasha Jonas has, coupled with parenthood, you’re bound to be taught a lot of lessons. When asked if she thinks this has changed her, she said:

I think everyone changes at different stages in life, like a metamorphosis into something else and certain things will bring out the best or the worse than people, but they’ll make you change and evolve into something else. And I think being a mom and the contract troubles that I had and just the ups and downs of general boxing in life always make you evolve into a different person. I think one of the biggest things about motherhood, you’re so focused on the results as an amateur in that Team GB set up because you were expected to get medals. A medal was your bare minimum and if I had a bad spar it would wreck my week. I’d go to a tournament and if I didn’t get a medal, I’d be panicking that I was going to get kicked off, thinking I need to do better. It would be pressure to the next tournament. As a mother, as soon as the door shuts to the gym and the door opens to the house, I’m just mum. That switch off really hopes mentally more than anything. My daughter doesn’t understand or care if I’ve had a bad spar, she just wants dinner to be done! She just needs you to be mum. Also, appreciating the moment more, the living in the now instead of beign axious about what’s coming or upset about what’s been. Living in the present.

Watch the video above to hear the full interview.