From pretending to be a boy when she was young just so she could box, to representing her nation in Tokyo – this is the story of rising talent Caroline Dubois.
Great Britain has birthed some world class boxers over the years. From the golden era of Nicola Adams to blockbuster title bouts between Natasha Jonas and her Irish rival Katie Taylor. This summer, Team GB will be showcasing their best fighters, including the woman who is set to mark a whole new generation of British boxers.
Dubois, who has been pushing for her Olympic dream since she was a child, will be the youngest athlete on the Team GB boxing roster this year. At just 20 years old, she is gunning for her first ever Olympic medal.
“It’s been a long time coming – not even just from last year, from since I was a little girl,” Dubois said ahead of the Tokyo Games. “I watched the London 2012 Olympics and I said to myself, I want to go to the Olympics, and I’m here now.”
Olympic medal hopes
The Enfield-born fighter will join Charley Davison, Karriss Artingstall, Rosie Eccles and Lauren Price on the plane to Japan this month.
Dubois has admitted she is “very confident” she will make 2020 an Olympic debut to remember.
“I believe in my abilities and I believe that if I get in the ring, believe in myself and perform at the best of my abilities then I believe that [I can win a medal].”
At the Rio Games, it was Nicola Adams who won Team GB’s only gold medal in boxing – rounding off an illustrious career before announcing her retirement three years later.
Dubois will certainly be looking to carry the torch from Adams’ legacy as an iconic, black, female boxer. That being said, becoming a role model for young boys and girls looking to get into the sport is something the 20-year-old is hugely passionate about.
Becoming a boxing icon
In a 2018 interview, Dubois put it out to the world that she wanted to be named amongst the boxing greats, regardless of gender.
“If I went pro and I made a name for myself, I wouldn’t just want just girls to look up to me, I’d want everyone to look up to me.
“Like the way you see Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard – they went down as greats in boxing and I would want to go down as a great as well.”
But becoming a trailblazer in sport doesn’t just happen overnight. Dubois has arguably had to work extra hard to prove herself and live up the family name.
Growing up with older brother Daniel Dubois sparked her love for boxing at an early age. However, she admitted she was forced to pretend to be a boy as a child so she could train in her local boxing gym where Daniel was training at the time.
Now years on, Dubois is preparing to enter the ring as a Team GB Olympian – something not even her brother has achieved in his career.
“That’s always been my goal [to become a role model],” Dubois admitted. “When I retire, if I’m good enough, I want people to respect me and acknowledge that I was just a good fighter, not a good female fighter.”