A University of Wolverhampton student is packing a punch by combining her studies with bouts in the professional boxing ring.
Known as the Black Widow, Lauren Johnson recently turned pro and won her debut professional fight.
Inspired by Olympic stars such as Nicola Adams, the Criminology and Criminal Justice student, initially got into boxing to lose weight.
Her trainer spotted her sparring talent after the 32-year-old knocked out an opponent who was being considered for the GB team in less than a minute.
Now living in Willenhall in Wolverhampton, vegan Lauren is keen to empower other female boxers and young people to aim high.
She says: “I got into boxing to lose weight – when I first walked into the gym I was 15 and a half stone. I didn’t realise that women could box until the London 2012 Olympics so I am relatively new to the sport, but when I saw Nicola Adams, Savannah Marshall and Natasha Jonas I thought ‘I’m going to have a go at that’.
“Now in women’s boxing we are trying to empower each other and do something for the future. My goal is European and World titles.
“I can’t thank the University of Wolverhampton enough. The Institute of Sport team are going to help me elevate my game and get to where I want to be, which is at the pinnacle of women’s boxing.”
Welterweight Lauren, who also works as a door supervisor at a nightclub, is thinking of life after competitive matches too and has a career plan worked out.
“I am making sure I keep up with my education as well but I want to show people that you can have an education and think about life after sport,” she says. “My advice would be to go for your dreams – but don’t forget your books!”
“I’m studying for a BA (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice and I want to work with young offenders in rehabilitation through sport. I’d like to show them that there is a different path to take and you can change your life. Sport teaches discipline in other aspects of your life and helps you to achieve your goals.”
Picture: Strength and Conditioning coach Mark Niemz, Lauren's coach Paul Mann, boxer and University of Wolverhampton student Lauren Johnson and Deputy Director of the Institute of Sport Bess Evans.
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Date Issued: Monday, 24 April 2017