Georgia O’Connor is only 21 and has not yet fought as a pro, but is already talking insistently about living “your last every day” and chasing dreams.

She was a fantastic amateur boxer but now, ahead of her professional debut, the unlikely future of women’s boxing is because her path to that moment was a roller coaster that was about to derail.

At first, her experience with Team GB, which would lead her to Olympic glory, went sour. More recently, a severe blood clot in her lungs put more than just her boxing future in question.

O’Connor certainly didn’t come from a boxing forge, nor did she have the typical boxer childhood – her tiny hamlet in County Durham is full of farm animals and she lived briefly in France as a child.

“My dad put a pair of gloves on me before I could run,” she tells Sky Sports.

“He played stupid games with me – like Peek-a-Boo where I had to try and hit him – I think that’s why my reactions are so good now!

“He always wanted me to be able to take care of myself. He never wanted me to be a superstar, my family is not like that. He just wanted me to defend myself because the world is not a beautiful place.”

O’Connor tried martial arts, MMA and boxing as a child: “I was a three-time national taekwondo champion, unbeaten in kickboxing, but my heart was always boxing.”

Georgia O’Connor will fight live on Sky Sports on Saturday

She won five national amateur titles, silver and bronze medals at the European Youth Championships before breaking through in 2017, earning Commonwealth Youth Gold and then World Youth Silver.

O’Connor won her gold medal in the Bahamas: “It was surreal. It was a dream. I had only seen it on TV how clear the water is. It was like standing on one of these pictures. A completely different way of life.

“I’ve traveled quite a long way, but that was fantastic.

“If I have to be serious, I can be very serious.”

She won silver in India: “I loved the culture and the religions. I loved how religiously harmonized it was – the same street would have a mosque, a synagogue, a church. If they can, why not we? We can do a lot to learn.”

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ***.  Savannah Marshall vs Maria Lindberg, WBO World Female Middleweight Title Fight.  April 10, 2021. Picture by Dave Thompson Matchroom Boxing.  Savannah Marshall walks away after knocking down her opponent for the second and final time.

Savannah Marshall will defend her world title live on Sky Sports on Saturday

A bomb had recently been dropped on the same place where O’Connor was staying for the Games: “The level of security was the same as in Iraq. It was strange. We had one guard per person, everyone wore an AK47. It was like in an action movie. “

Their amateur qualifications made them a fascinating proposition for the 2020 Olympics, but things didn’t go according to plan when O’Connor moved to Team GB’s Sheffield base.

She says: “I am infinitely grateful to have traveled the world and lived my dream. Every boxer dreams of wearing his tracksuit.

“I thought: ‘I will be too young in 2020, do I want to wait for the 2024 Olympics?’

“As a professional I was able to gain experience and inspire others.

“I wasn’t entirely happy so I didn’t reach my full potential. It made me a mature, versatile person.”

The Tokyo Games instead took place in 2021, with Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall winning medals while Caroline Dubois also shone.

April hunter

April Hunter aims to win her fifth fight in a row on Saturday, live on Sky Sports

Must have been hard watching from home?

“I’m at peace with what happened,” says O’Connor.

It’s clear that O’Connor isn’t your stereotypical boxer.

She is currently studying law and in her spare time she plays guitar and sings.

“My idea of ​​fun is reading a book in bed,” she says. “I’ve never drunk alcohol.

“When I’ve made a few pounds and inspired a generation, then I can have fun.

“That is the sacrifice I am making.”

Her illness was an overall more serious problem to be endured.

“So that I can overcome this, to still be there, to be healthy? I thank God every day for the rest of my life,” says O’Connor.

“I realized that I have a life, I want to live it to the fullest and not wait for opportunities that may not arise, hence the Olympics.

“It is important to live as the last of each day.”

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Sky Sports Boxing meets Tyson’s cousin Hughie Fury as he prepares for his fight this weekend.

O’Connor has serious courage and it will serve her well in her new job.

“I’ve always had a big heart. I see homeless people on the street and I’m actually too much, if at all,” she says.

“People may say it’s not a good thing because as a boxer you have to be heartless.

“But that’s not true. You need a huge heart to fight.”

So when O’Connor first steps into the ring, what to expect?

“I like to protect my nose so I try to be tactical! I’m quick, pretty sharp, a lot of people in the amateurs said I had exceptional footwork. But I also like to fight.”

“People should follow me because I’m not that tall. My main goal is to inspire future generations. As a woman in sport, it’s great to have the opportunity to show that there is nothing you can’t do. “

“It’s important for people to say, ‘She can fight, period’.

“If a child is watching me and taking action by saying, ‘I can do this,’ then my life is worth living.”

Sky Sports Boxing Schedule

October 16 – Top spot in San Diego
Emanuel Navarette vs. Joet Gonzalez – WBO Featherweight Title

October 16 – BOXXER in Newcastle
Savannah Marshall vs. Lolita Muzeya – WBO Middleweight Title
Hughie Fury versus Christian Hammer
Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Wanik Awidjan

October 24th – Top spot in Atlanta
Shakur Stevenson vs. Jamel Herring – WBO Super Featherweight Title

October 31st – Top spot in New York
Jose Zepeda versus Josue Vargas

November 6th – Top spot in Las Vegas
Mikaela Mayer vs. Maiva Hamadouche – IBF and WBO Super Featherweight Titles

November 6th – BOXXER in Liverpool

November 20th – BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe versus Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut

December 11th – Top spot in Las Vegas
Vasiliy Lomachenko versus Richard Commey

December 18th – Top spot in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title