Dubois celebrates perfect year but remains fully focussed

Dubois celebrates perfect year but remains fully focussed

02 November 2018 / 16:19

Pretending to be a boy named Colin just to step foot in a ring, boxing has never been merely a hobby for Caroline Dubois.

That moment as a nine-year-old still occupies the thoughts of a Chelsea fighter initially denied the sport she loved due to her gender.

Eight years later and the pretending is all done for a three-time -60kg European junior, world youth and Youth Olympic champion – instead, she’s punching her way to the top.

Three major titles have come in 2018 but her insatiable appetite for more could still be fed after being nominated for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award, along with fellow Youth Olympian Aaliyah Powell.

All the product of a mental attitude proving relentless and unwavering.

“For the Europeans, Worlds and Youth Olympics to come in one year was perfect for me,” she explains. “My dad was telling me before I even competed that I was a world and Olympic champion – that confidence was No.1 for me.

“I knew I had potential and skill, it was about putting the work in.

“I feel the confidence, but no pressure. When you’re in the ring you’re one of two people – there’s nothing anyone else can do.

“I was drawn in by the challenge. Boxing is you and another person fighting and I just loved it – I left a session wondering how anyone could not want to box.

“You have to be calm. As soon as that bell goes, all the nerves slip away – I feel like I’m sparring and that’s how I try to treat every fight. You don’t panic, you just relax.”

To dub Dubois as ‘on track’ rather downplays a record that currently reads 35 fights, 35 wins – with respected BBC broadcaster Mike Costello labelling her as “the best female boxer” he has ever seen.

It's a statement the Londoner is aware of but not fazed by, a tag of expectation one she is relishing the longer the unblemished record goes.

But don’t let that be confused with fear of the unknown.

“The thought of losing scares me – before I fight I fear it, but when I take to the ring it all disappears,” she adds.

“But you don’t just want to win you want to perform well – someone is always going to be working just as hard so you need to keep pushing on.

“You always have the thought that you could lose but that gives you the drive, you might be in a tight fight and the fact that you’re undefeated gives you a little boost to keep up the proud record.”

Even in victory there is an unerring Dubois desire to improve, instantly watching back her Youth Olympic gold-medal winning performance in order to plot the route to win number 36.

“I’m a harsh critic on myself and I can always see things that I can improve on – even if I win a fight easily.

“I’m a perfectionist, to be at the level I want to be at, you have to be a perfectionist.

“But if you watch me, you can definitely tell I can box.”

Dubois’ stellar year will conclude alongside illustrious company as one of ten nominees for SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award.

The Award was launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist and diving world champion Tom Daley the inaugural winner.

She added: “I had the nomination last year as well, to be told I have that is a really big deal for me, particularly to be recognised for two years in a row.”

Powell admits it is a surreal to be nominated after a superb season which saw taekwondo star crowned junior world champion.

“I didn’t get a medal at the Youth Olympics but it was a really great experience just to be able to go there,” she said.

“I learned a lot of life lessons out there, made a lot of new friends and learned a lot about different training.

“I got to see how everyone else trains and works for competitions, it’s definitely something I’ll use to help my own practice and competitions going forward.

“It’s made me want to come home and train harder – because I haven’t come away with a medal it’s made me more motivated to go out there and do all I can.”

Sportsbeat 2018