Canberra’s Felicity Loiterton has been in the ring before. She understands all aspects of the fight game; the pressure, the discipline required and the importance of preparation.
This is owed in part to the people that she surrounds herself with. Alongside her team, she has worked hard to keep her feet firmly planted on the ground ahead of her professional boxing debut on the Tszyu vs Hogan undercard.
“There’s definitely been a few adjustments in not using all eight limbs,” Loiterton told The Inner Sanctum.
“When you’re fighting Muay Thai, you’ve got a lot more weapons in your belt.
“Having to keep my feet planted on the ground has been a little bit of a transition but we’ve been working at that over the last eight weeks. So boots are on and feet are on the ground.
“One thing my coach has always focused on is to refine and sharpen my hands and it’s always done me well in my fights. I’ve already learned to back my hands before taking this fight. So it’s just been working on that.”
Despite making a transition to a sport that can, at times, stigmatise those crossing over from other martial arts, Loiterton holds a healthy respect for the ‘sweet science’.
Specifically, she sees the sport as an art full of beauty and grace.
“I don’t think enough respect is given for how much skill is refined in boxing. You are limited to only using your hands, so that skill needs to be precise and it needs to be on point.
“There’s a lot of finesse in the sport. I think a lot of people are confused by how exciting and how beautiful I think the sport is.
“For me, it’s no different to watching a dance.”
It will be a dance that Loiterton aims to lead, shifting her firmly planted feet around opponent Linn Sandstrom in the four round Super Flyweight bout.
Although this will be the only women’s fight on the card, there is still a sense of pride in how far female fighting has come. Loiterton said she feels empowered by the opportunity to share such a grand stage with some of the best boxers in the country.
“I think a few years ago, women’s Muay Thai, boxing and even MMA, it was quite messy. We weren’t the nicest fighters to watch.
“We were quite aggressive, even more aggressive than some of the men, but the skillset that some of the women have now is really nice to see and it’s really empowering.
“I encourage all women to get involved because there’s nothing better than being a 50 kilo fighter and being able to move that way.
“There is a lot of respect for women in the sport now, there’s a lot of mums in the sport now. I couldn’t be happier for that to be honest and I’d like to see it continue to grow.”
As the proud mother of two boys herself, Felicity hopes to leave a legacy for her children to learn from. This might mean taking the occasional loss in the gym, however.
“I do have to keep up. My eldest son has been in Jiu Jitsu for the past six or seven years now and he gives me a bit of a hard time on the ground. He’s just gone into high school.
“Then looking at my four year old, he sees me in the ring and tries to copy it on the bag. It does make me proud and it does make me pick up what I know so I can pass it on to them and to teach them.”
Not all teachings have to necessarily be about the ins and outs of fighting or the intricacies involved, though. There are life lessons that she hopes can be passed on through the next generation of her family.
“It’s one of those life skills that you learn from sport. It’s taught me lessons that I can pass on to them; work ethic, being humble and just all the little things that come with fighting.
“They don’t necessarily only apply to fighting. These are lessons that I can apply to my everyday life and I can teach my children in everyday life too.
“If I can be a role model for them, that’s all I can ever ask for as a parent. They might not follow suit in the sport, but it certainly hasn’t left me short.
“I couldn’t be more blessed to put my kids in the hands of the coaches.”
It was at this point that Loiterton again gave praise to the team she is surrounded by. She believes her coaches, manager and training partners have helped her get to an incredibly positive place in life.
“When you’re a fighter you’re committed to peak nutrition, peak training, and even sleeping habits. Everything goes with it.
“You do say no to a lot of events and a lot of things that a lot of people in their 20s aren’t saying no to. So that becomes your day in and day out and they become your family, they become your best friends and you want to know that those people are there to back you.
“Peter, my coach, hasn’t just taught me everything I know about combat sports, he is my mentor and has empowered me to be the best version or myself every day, every fight.
“I’m also incredibly grateful for the work my manager Shane does to provide me with the opportunity to showcase our work on such a prestige platform.
“I can honestly say that I do know my team is the best team I could have behind me.”
With these people behind her, in her mind there is no challenge too big or too small.
Come 31 March, Loiterton insists she will be gunning to pass her next big test in front of a national audience, doing everything within her control to come away with the victory.
“There’s no doubt that we’re both out to take the win on this one.
“I don’t really tend to think about my opponents or what they’re doing, what they’re working on or what they’re good at. I ‘m more really concerned about what I’m good at and what I’ve been working on. I’m just here to back myself.
“I’m going to be giving it everything I’ve got. I’m not leaving it in the judges hands.
“You don’t want to leave the decision to someone else. I’m there to make the decision for myself.”
Tszyu vs Hogan goes down on March 31, live on Main Event and Kayo Sports. Order here: https://mainevent.kayosports.com.au/