Arlene Blencowe is a powerhouse – fired up, determined,an amazing boxer – and just about to embark on a career in the Mixed Martial Arts scene. Her story will inspire you …
Whereabouts did you grow up and go to school?
I spent most of my childhood in Gympie, QLD. I moved to the Camden Haven area when I was in Year 11 and completed my HSC down here.
When did you move to the Manning-Great Lakes area to live?
I was the 2IC/Manager of Cotton On in the Manning Mall for approximately 12 months and had been commuting back and forth from the Camden Haven each day. Being a single mother of 2, working full-time as well as pursuing an amateur boxing career was a lot to juggle − not to mention the cost of travel. I had met a lot of lovely people through my work and also gained a great following and support through my sporting venture. So, I decided to move myself and my kids down here … which gave me a little more freedom and more time to spend with my kids, which to me is my number one priority.
One of the things I like the most about the Manning-Great Lakes area is the country feel you get, yet it is located so close to the beach. I guess it feels like my childhood years again, but with the beauty of having a beach close by! I also love how down to earth the community is and how very supportive they are with my fight career.
Why did you decide to take up boxing as a sport?
In 2009, boxing for females in NSW was legalised and also became an Olympic sport. I was at a turning point in my life and I’d had an interest in boxing since the age of 13, when I first walked into a boxing gym. Being an Olympian was a childhood dream of mine, and I set out to pursue it. I’ve only just fallen short of the dream coming true.
How long have you been facing opponents in the ring now … and what has been your best fight result to date?
I had my first amateur boxing fight three years ago. There are many fights that have been memorable for me, but the tournament that stands out the most would be the Arafura Games 2011. I had stepped up in weight division into the 75 kg Olympic Division and fought a fellow Australian boxer, Tammy Taylor, who I had put on something of a pedestal. She was the pioneer of female boxing, having won an Australian Title and represented Australia overseas. I had only been competing for 12 months and was still relatively new to the sport. I beat her in the semi final 25-12 and went on to fight for gold against the Indian #1, where I came from behind and won 19-17.
For me, the reason this tournament stands out the most is not only because I won gold at a major international tournament, but it was for what I overcame mentally in the lead up to each of the bouts and because of the boxing performance that I displayed.
You’re about to embark on a professional career in the ring, and you’re planning to embrace the field of Mixed Martial Arts. What led to this decision?
I had incorporated wrestling/BJJ into my training and had really enjoyed the art of it. There is far more to the sport than meets the untrained eye. To me, MMA is so much more technical, and I enjoy the challenge of learning new skills. I’m always going to be a boxer at heart; my fast hands are my asset. But I’m also very strong for a female and a fast learner. It had been a few months since I competed in my second professional boxing bout, without having a confirmed match coming up. My trainer and I decided to take on an MMA bout to keep me active in competition.
I have competed at light welterweight in boxing, which is classed as featherweight in MMA, being 65 kg; although, I am in the process of coming down to fight at 60 kg.
Tell us a bit more about Mixed Martial Arts – what are the various techniques used?
MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, and females have just been allowed to compete in the biggest federation in the world. MMA is a combination of several combat styles, including Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and more.
Who do you currently train with … and how many hours a week do you devote to improving your skills?
I train at Allegiance Combat & Fitness Centre in Port Macquarie, under trainer Jason Harris and with my training partner, Sam Bastin. We train together for 3 hours, three times a week, where we focus on strength and conditioning and fight components within boxing, kickboxing and MMA. Jason has a plan of attack with each session that focuses on different elements within these components. His training techniques bring out the best in me; we also have a great trainer/fighter connection.
I train in total 6 days a week, twice a day, focusing on my fitness, agility, weightloss training, and Crossfit.
Who would you like to thank for helping you with your sporting career so far?
Firstly, I’d like to thank my trainer/manager/promoter Jason Harris, who has developed me into the fighter and person I am today, and also my training partner, Sam Bastin, for the countless hours of working together.
I have also been extremely lucky to have the help of other trainers, who have opened their gyms for sparring sessions and have always been welcoming and offered help where they can … like Paul Cheers from Final Round Boxing and the group of young boys out there! There’s a lot of talent floating about! Also, Taree PCYC, Gary Brewer, Fitzsimmons, who all helped with my preparations for the Olympic trials and in part, helped to develop me into the fighter I am today.
I would also like to thank my sponsors, Allegiance Clothing, CrossFit ACFC and Allegiance Combat and Fitness Centre.
I’m always looking for sponsors to help out as well. Anyone who may be interested can contact Jason on 0419 224 918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your plans for the near future − what matches do you have on the horizon?
My goals for 2013 are to obtain the Australian Title in boxing, which is currently held by Lauryn Eagle. I also want to hit the overseas scene as a professional fighter, which is looking like happening in August, when I go to NZ for an 8 girl knockout MMA tournament.
I have my next fight coming up on 25 May in Brisbane at Brace for War.
If people would like to follow your progress, where can they view your matches or contact you?
My webpage: www.angerfist.com.au or on Twitter @arleneangerfist.
Left hand page images and left hand image on right hand page supplied by Photography by Linda.