Beckie Ainscough: MMA to boxing, training with Molly McCann & title dream

Boxing glove

Former amateur MMA fighter Beckie Ainscough is preparing to fight in her first professional boxing bout. The Liverpudlian sat down with GiveMeSport Women to tell her story and what the future holds as she continues to make strides in her career.

Despite being an up and coming name in the combat sport industry, it wasn't until Ainscough was 16 years old that she took her first step into the ring. A strong football family background had her set on a career as a player herself, but the pull of boxing completely changed her career arc.

"Boxing was always a sport that I wanted to get into. When I was 16 I went to a boxing gym and I loved it," Ainscough said. "I had three amateur fights but after that, I wasn’t really getting any fights. So next to where I trained was an MMA gym and they [the trainers] asked me ‘Why don’t you try this?’"

I ended up trying the Thai boxing, the wrestling and the jiu-jitsu and before I knew it I was standing in a cage

Ainscough's amateur career started in the mixed martial arts promotion Cage Warriors. She immediately set the stage alight with a win over Bryony Tyrell by unanimous decision back in 2014. The Scouser made it two wins out of two in her next bout, emerging victorious in the seventh instalment of the Shinobi War competition in 2016.

Her last MMA fight came in 2019 against Manon Fiorot – the first professional bout of her career. Ainscough suffered defeat by knockout in South Africa, but still revels in the opportunity to fight outside of Europe. After that, she made another career-changing move and switched back to her preferred sport of boxing.

"I was involved in MMA for a while but I kept getting injured and sick and last year I injured my ankle in Thailand. From there, everything just pointed me back to boxing, to be honest."

MMA to boxing

Ainscough will compete in her first professional boxing bout in July in her home city. She will kickstart her senior career after making the transition from the cage to the ring. She admitted that adjusting to the change has been a challenge and she has been forced to kick a few habits picked up during her previous trade.

She has had to get used to adjusting her stance while training, while also moving away from the numerous disciplines involved in mixed martial arts.

Ainscough went on to talk about the importance of studying physiology in the women's sport in order to improve fitness and limit the numbers of injuries seen in the ring. 

"It's a huge thing that's been missed in sports for years and that's been a problem in my past," she explained. "There's more information about there now whereas usually the studies are on male athletes but not on females even though we are clearly different."

Fighting inspirations

Ainscough is currently training at the well-known Golden Gloves gym in Liverpool – home to local talent including Commonwealth gold medalist Anthony Fowler. The philosophy of the gym – which has been running since 1947 – is to give youngsters from Liverpool somewhere to train in a safe environment.

"It’s inspirational," Ainscough said. "When I first walked in there I thought: ‘This is a champion’s gym’, I just got that vibe."

Prior to her move to Golden Gloves, Ainscough trained in a local MMA gym alongside one of the sport's biggest names, Molly McCann. 

The 31-year-old flyweight is continuing her rise into the spotlight with a record of ten wins out of her 14 professional MMA bouts so far. Nicknamed Meatball Molly, because she used to work the nightshift at Subway, the fellow Brit recently moved away from Liverpool and left the gym she shared with Ainscough, who admitted she was "gutted" as she enjoyed having a female fighting partner.

Another fighter who has inspired Ainscough's game is Natasha Jonas, who recently took on Olympic gold medalist and world champion Katie Taylor. Jonas also originates from Liverpool and has been a beacon for many up and coming Liverpudlian talents in the fighting world.

Natasha Jonas

Moving forward, Ainscough discussed where her visions are taking her as she looks ahead in her boxing career.

"The ultimate goal is definitely becoming world champion," she said proudly. "There was an Olympic dream but I'm still fairly new to the sport so we'll see how that goes."

In a heavily male-dominated sport, women are quickly becoming the focal point of world boxing. Boxers like Taylor and Sandy Ryan are paving the way for a new era of women's fighting, set up by legends such as Nicola Adams who laid the foundations from early on. The likes of Ainscough are now very much part of boxing's makeup as it welcomes up and coming talent into the ring.

"It's definitely looking better for women," she said of the fighting world. As she prepares to step into her first major bout on July 31st against a yet-to-be-named opponent in Liverpool, there is every chance that Ainscough could be the face of the next generation.

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