BOXING: Third national title for underdog Morgan

National champion Morgan Ansell on Sunday
National champion Morgan Ansell on Sunday

Rugby High School student secures place in England Talent Programme and European championships selection camp

Rugby High School’s Morgan Ansell has been crowned a national boxing champion for the third year running.

Morgan trains at Cleary's Gym in Leamington

Morgan trains at Cleary's Gym in Leamington

The talented 16-year-old beat two far more experienced fighters to take her third title in the England Boxing National Youth Championships finals at the weekend.

Morgan’s 48kg victory at the Doncaster Dome earns her a place in the England Talent Programme for the next 12 months and an invitation to the selection camp for the Youth European Championships being held in Italy in April.

She also gets to represent England again in May in Scotland for the Three Nations.

“It’s great to have won and I’m still speechless,” she said. “I entered the ring with two boxers I wasn’t expected to beat and I decided I was going to take it to them and the result would be what it would be.

“I never expected for a moment that I’d win the whole thing and I’m still feeling on top of the world. It’s really surreal!

“This title stands me in good stead for all the opportunities I have this year and I think I’ve begun my first season as a youth exceptionally and I can’t wait for everything else this season has in store.”

Morgan, who on Twitter calls herself ‘a small female boxer from Rugby with big dreams’ aims to one day compete for Great Britain at the Olympics.

She trains at Cleary’s Gym in Leamington, where coach Edwin Cleary could not be more proud of her achievements so far.

“Morgan had the hardest draw possible last weekend, boxing twice over two days against two full internationals with more international bouts between them than Morgan has had contests!” he said.

“As the underdog, with everything to prove, Morgan really did shine, comfortably beating both girls to stake her claim at this weekend’s European selection camp in Leeds.”

The draw on Wednesday put Morgan in with the favourite, Savannah Stubley from Empire ABC, meaning she was up against it from the start and would have to box twice to win, but that’s exactly what she did.

Because of Morgan’s age she could still have competed in the Cadets class but Morgan wanted to go against the best in the Women’s to push her place with this year’s England Youth calendar, with the Youth Europeans, Three Nations, World Championships and Youth Olympic Games coming up.

It was a chance she had to take and she made the most of it.

Edwin explained: “Training for the championship went better than we could have wished for, Morgan was pushed extremely hard.

“The feeling around the gym was we could see an upset but were cautious, as these girls were no pushovers, full of experience and Morgan was boxing three-minute rounds for the very first time.”

On Saturday, Morgan took on Savannah Stubley with a quick start, working off her jab to control the first round and set the tempo for the rest of the bout.

She displayed excellent fitness despite the increased round length and had a much higher work rate and accuracy than her opponent, which won her the semi-final.

In the final on Sunday Morgan took on Kira Carter from Tigers ABC who is 18 years old and is a very experienced boxer, having close to 40 bouts on her record.

Despite boxing the day before, Morgan showed no signs of fatigue and took the occasion in her stride, taking the fight to her opponent for the national title. She used the same high work rate and jab as the day before, breaking down her opponent round by round resulting in a unanimous victory and becoming National Champion for the third year running.

“There are so many opportunities for Morgan this year and this is just the beginning,” said her proud coach.

“On top of all of this Morgan is highly academic. She did extremely well in her GCSE exams last summer after a lot of hard work and revision on top of her busy training schedule.

“She aims to read Economics at Cambridge in 2020 and is currently doing Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Economics as her A Levels and she’s enjoying every moment.

“This season Morgan wants to go to as many of the major competitions for Youths as she can and if she could medal at any of these it would be an absolute dream.

“In 2013 she started boxing, aspiring to be like Nicola Adams. Today she still has that Olympic dream and she’s working towards it every single day.

“As a sportsperson Morgan would love to have a career that emulates Will Carling’s. He got a degree in psychology at Durham University then went on to captain England in rugby union - and once this girl has an ambition you’d struggle to try and stop her.”