Dear Charley

Charley Davison was born in Lowestoft on 24 November 1993.   

At the age of eight her dad, Mark, began teaching her how to box using pads at home after she was turned away from her local gym because she was a girl.

Aged 16 she represented England at junior level for the first time, winning a youth world silver medal and youth European gold..   

In the lead-up to the London Olympic Games she sparred with future double Olympic champion Nicola Adams, but in April 2012 she stepped away from boxing to give birth to her now eight-year-old son Arnell.  She went on to have a daughter, Amani (6) and another son, Amir (4).   

Six long years would follow before she would make her comeback, and in 2019 she would follow in Adams’ footsteps by becoming the English national amateur champion in the 54kg category 

It earned her an assessment to join Great Britain’s Olympic boxing programme and in December 2019 she was added to the GB Boxing squad.  

She was selected to box at the Olympic qualifying event in March 2020 and was one fight away from qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games before the event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.   

In the latest of a new series on, Charley writes a letter to her 19-year-old self just after she gave birth to Arnell, reflecting on the experiences which have made her who she is today.   

Dear Charley,   

Boxing has been a part of your life since you were eight years old, it’s your passion and you love the buzz it gives you.   

Despite being turned away from a local gym because you were a girl, you would wake up with boxing on your mind, talk to Dad about boxing and train with him whenever you could at home. It created a lifelong bond between the two of you.  

And when you did finally go to a gym, despite being anxious at only being boys there, you showed show just what you were capable of.   

It’s these early experiences with boxing that you need to hold onto, cherish and remember right now.   

Having a child is an incredible, life-changing experience but it is never easy especially when you’ve put your career on hold. Don’t worry though, you will be back.   

But make sure to enjoy your time with Arnell first and foremost, and Armani and Amir who come into the world later down the line.   

People will say that you won’t be able to come back, but you’ve never been one to listen too closely to what others think anyway.   

You are a driven and determined woman and you need to hold onto those traits through this difficult period, watching the London 2012 Olympics with Arnell in your lap will fuel the fire for a return.   

There will be doubts. You’ll have a range of questions running through your head as time passes like ‘oh, I’m a mum now, can I really do the sport? Have I got time for hobbies? Who’s going to look after the children?’   

But, keep the faith. Keep positive. The support of your darling partner Bruce and the rest of the family will help you manage boxing and the children just fine.   

You’ve got to give yourself some time and know you’re not losing out on anything by pushing for that goal. Have no regrets. Give it your all and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.   

When you return to the gym it will be hard at first, but you will see your buzz for it quickly return, especially when you spar for the first time again.   

You will be so much stronger mentally for having had the children. You’ll be prepared for different situations and your whole outlook, even on boxing, will have changed.   

Success is bound to come, if you work as hard as you know you can to return better than ever before.   

At the end of the day you will be back doing what you love, getting to travel the world and box before you know it. And, who knows, maybe your dream of an Olympic gold medal will come true.