COURTNEY Swanton has become the first female boxer from her club to fight in a national final.

The 13-year-old William Beamont pupil from Orford squared up with Oakmead’s Ivy Jane Smith in the National Female Championships final for class 1 boxers under 44kg in Cannock, Staffordshire, at the weekend.

Swanton, a member of the Phoenix Fire Boxing Club, was stopped in the second round of the scheduled three, but as her trainer Tom Mellor explains there was still much for the young pugilist to be proud of.

“I thought she was very brave, as it was by far the toughest bout of her career so far,” he said.

“The opponent was physically bigger and stronger, but when the bout was stopped Courtney was still trying to land a punch.

“It was a proud day for the club and we are all made up for her.”

Swanton has been in training with Mellor and Phoenix Fire for around two years, fighting four skills bouts (no decision) and two regular contests with a record of one win and one loss in that time.

Normally the club would prevent an inexperienced young boxer from taking part in a competitive bout, but Swanton’s attitude and maturity inspired Mellor and fellow trainer Damian Ridpath to make the move.

“The fact that she was there shows how highly we rate her,” said Mellor.

“And she was so mature about the defeat, saying she wants to do some more work in the gym before trying to take on Smith again in the future.”

Swanton’s achievement is timely considering Nicola Adams’ historic London 2012 boxing gold for Team GB.

Although Phoenix did not experience the increase of female boxers they had hoped to see after the introduction of the sport to the Olympic schedule, Mellor hopes that could still change.

He said: “Hopefully by this time next year we will have more females to take to championships and more carded boxers at the club, all inspired by Courtney’s achievements.”