A TALENTED female boxer who was frustrated at the lack of a sparring

partner earned the opportunity to train alongside people her own age and develop her skills.

Now Maisie Martland, 15, has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

She has been boxing since she was 12 and trains at Keel Amateur Boxing Club, on Harborough Hill Road, which is run by Ken Waddington.

Maisie trains there three times a week but was getting frustrated at the lack of sparring partners as she is currently the only registered female amateur boxer in Barnsley.

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This meant that she had to travel miles to be able to spar.

“You have to spar with people who are the same weight and gender and have the same amount of experience to keep the fight fair,” said Maisie’s coach, Gavin Coles. “So far we’ve had to get other female boxers from outside Barnsley for Maisie to spar with.”

Despite this setback, Maisie continued to train hard and earned a place on the England Boxing Female Talent Aspire Programme in Sheffield, where she is able to train with, and spar against, other young female boxers.

“The programme looks for potential talent and helps the boxers to train and harness what they have,” said Gavin.

“Maisie was referred by Ken and she went along and did some sparring with other girls, which I think really helped her confidence.

“When she first came to the gym she was really shy, so to see the transformation makes you really proud.”

The event took place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and featured boxers from minor to elite level.

“I really enjoyed the day,” said Maisie, of Greenside Avenue, Mapplewell. “The programme ran from noon until 5pm and in that time we learned about fitness and the basic moves and we were taught different techniques. It was good to learn new things and go over the basics again.

“It was nice because I had the experience to spar against other people and make new friends. I learned a lot from the other people there and I helped other people with what I know.”

Now Maisie is eyeing a spot on the national boxing team.

“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing my friends and training a lot more,” she added.

“It was a really good experience and it was nice to see so many girls who do boxing as well because there’s not a lot of us compared to boys.

“If I keep doing well, there’s a chance I could get onto the England boxing team, which would be amazing.”