During a fight night, there's so many people involved its easy to overlook some. We spend the evening fixated on the guys in the ring battling it out, the referee controlling the action or the corner men screaming instructions. Perhaps further from centre stage, we have the camera crews, the commentators, announcers, runners etc. Put them aside and the show just couldn't go on. However, there's one group we are forgetting, The Ring Girls!
A long standing part of boxing and combat sports that nowadays generates some mixed feelings, we thought it important to address, so Ben at Simboxx was lucky enough to catch up with one of the main players, Sara Beverley Jones.
Ben – So Sara, thanks for you time. First things first, hows your lock down been?
Sara – To be honest, it was difficult to start with, being as lock down hit in March, my company was affected almost instantly. As a a company, we provide ring girls for all the big boxing shows as well as smaller white collar events and MMA. We work with the likes of Matchroom and Bellator, so with the pandemic, all these events were called off. Matchroom for example, a regular source of income cancelled 7 events which had a real financial impact on the business and the girls working. April, May and June are usually my busiest months as we work with Expo shows as well and these were all cancelled. The whole experience has been very upsetting.
Ben – Sounds really tough. Its been a terrible time for everyone. Have you managed to keep busy?
Sara – I knew I needed to prep for the comeback. As they say “The comeback is greater than the setback”. I had a lot of admin to do, I have been working on the website and a complete re-brand.
Ben – Ring Girls have always been part of the boxing world. Nowadays with all the political correctness , do you think a time will come when they cant be part of the show?
Sara – Its only really a minority online that ever complain about the girls. They are there for venue audience more than the TV viewers. I personally think it brings glamour to the evening. I know when I did it, I enjoyed the nights, spending time with people, getting to know the coaches and fighters and really being a part of their journey. The Matchroom nights were always enjoyable and I know the girls enjoy it now. That being said, they have fun and have a great night but still have a job to do and that is to let the audience know what round it is. The people that complain about it really don't have a place to, if they came to the venues they'd see the girls enjoy the evening, doing it at their own free will and are embraced by the boxing family and are treated the same as everyone else. More and more girls are applying to join nowadays and I don't think we should shame beauty.
Ben – For you and the other girls, is it just a job or do you enjoy the sport?
Sara – I was always into boxing, I have an older brother and we were massively into Rocky. I used to watched all the films, especially the training montages and wanted to be a part of it, so when I got the chance to be a ring girl, I jumped at the chance. I got totally obsessed with boxing and after spending so much time with the likes of Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell I started understanding styles more and during Froch Groves, I predicted how that would go by the round, You can say that's a fluke but after being apart of multiple journeys, you get a knack for it. All in all, I love being around the sport and it becomes more than a job. However, with other girls, I try to teach them as much as I can but its not always possible. I think we all understand though, its not just holding a card up in the ring, you get to know these boxers and want them to do well, you become friends and as I mentioned earlier, you all become part of a family.
Ben – Promotion wise, who do you favour? Is there anyone you wont work with?
Sara – Matchroom promotions are great to work for. From being there myself, I struck up a really good relationship with them. They are an extremely friendly and professional outfit to be a part of. Away from boxing, Bellator MMA work very similar when they come over here. They treat the girls like family and everything is done correctly and to plan. All the big companies are good at what they do and dont cause any problems. Cant say there isn't anyone we wouldn't work with.
Ben – Best fight night you have been part of?
Sara – By Far, has to be Froch Groves 2. For boxing it broke boundaries and broke box offices, I mean it was at Wembley to start with. The hype and build up was unreal, we did so many photo shoots and magazines and we really go to be a part of the show. Before that fight, the UK hadn't really taken interest in ring girls and we got to really start are own platform. The fight itself for most people was a 50/50, for me though I knew Froch was going to win. The was no negativity around the event, you had your Groves fans and your Froch fans and it was just a real show. The energy was unreal, the venue was bouncing and I don't think you could re-write that night. Theres a video going around of the knockout and in the background you can see me out of my sheet screaming with joy. I will take that night to the memory bank.
Ben – Team Joshua or Fury?
Sara – Usually I would sit on the fence, their both British, ones a Matchroom fighter and ones not. A few years ago, I would have probably said different but at the minute I would Say Fury has been on fire, his footwork, his movement, his jab, he's just an all-round boxer and doesn't rely on just power. I cant say whether it will go to points. All the lessons hes had to learn over the years and how hes got re-enthused with boxing. Being honest, I'm more interested in Usyk and Fury, their styles will go so well together. Usyk is one of my favourite fighters, he's part of that Ukrainian setup with the likes of Loma and their both unreal.
Ben – Finally, girls out there that want to get involved, what's the best way about it?
Sara – Gain experience, work you way up, start with your local white collar events and that will help with confidence and experience. The girls that usually take to it are the ones that have some stage experience from acting or dancing. Approach agencies that provide the work and get whatever experience you can. I don't have any open applications at present as I have a waiting list of around 300 girls. Every fight night, my company is being advertised and people see that and want to be a part of it. Obviously with the pandemic, its not sensible to take new girls on while others aren't working. Key is experience!