When Inishowen’s Natalie McCarron decided to take up kickboxing in a bid to get fit she never envisaged five years down the line she’d be taking to the ring to claim the World Championship title.
But this weekend the plucky 23-year-old reckons she’s in with a shot of lifting the Ladies ISKA World Professional Super Flyweight Kickboxing title in Denmark when she goes up against current champ Mie Posselt.
It’s hard to believe Natalie, from Carrigans, had no interest in sport up until a few years ago.
She’d never kickboxed before or had any other sporting hobbies but when an opportunity came by to join PT’s Kickboxing gym, in Carrigans, in a bid to tone up she couldn’t resist.
And it seems Inishowen’s very own Million Dollar Baby certainly had a knack for the sport. It wasn’t before long the hard-worker decided to take part in her first fight and since then has been winning fight after fight. Her most recent success was clinching the European title last year.
And now she’s quietly confident she’ll be crowned the world professional in her category too, on Saturday when she takes to the ring.
Speaking to the Journal ahead of tomorrow’s fight, Natalie said: “The whole thing just started off for fitness and then fighting part came in to it.
“I definitely enjoy it, I just love kickboxing.
“It definitely keeps me really fit.
“I had never intended to fight but when I started training away I thought I might as well see how I get on with it.
“I had a couple of fights here and there and now I’m here hoping for the title and I can’t wait.
“It just can’t come quick enough.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to bring it back as I’m really ready for it at this stage.
“I’ve been training hard, so the hard part is done now.”
Natalie’s strict training regime has involved intense training sessions, twice a day since the start of the year.
And she’s hopeful it will pay off when she takes on Posselt.
And cheering her on in Denmark will be her mum, dad and friends who she says are very supportive.
She admitted her mum becomes slightly anxious in the run up to fights, but is behind her all the way.
The sister to Darren and Natasha said she hopes if she does succeed in taking the belt off Posselt she hopes it will encourage more girls to take up the sport.
She said it has endless benefits to it and is extremely rewarding.
She added: “Hopefully this will entice more girls to come and join the sport.
“It would be nice to see more girls taking part and it’s great for a whole host of things. Some people use it for self defence, it depends what way you want to go in to it.
“I thankfully have never had to use it for that purpose but it’s been a great way to tone up, especially for the girls.”
The club has a string of champions to it’s name already, including Natalie’s trainer Paddy Toland, who is a three time world champion kickboxer, Letterkenny’s Tommy ‘The Ghost’ McCafferty, who is the current ISKA Middleweight and Light Middleweight Professional Kickboxing Champion, Daniel Quigley who is the current ISKA World Professional Heavyweight Champion and Aidan Lafferty who is the current Commonwealth Professional Kickboxing Champion.