Fighting fit

Fighting fit

A grandmother has proved she’s fighting fit by taking up boxing at the age of SEVENTY.

Ann Bebbington stepped into the ring to keep herself active but now packs a punch that would rival many of half her age.

The grandmother-of-ten often worried about walking home in the dark but now she’s proved she’s not a woman to be messed with.

Ann, 71, said: “I used to wonder if I’d be able to defend myself if I was walking on my own and came across someone.

“I now feel confident that I would. I’ve learned some real moves so I’d just go for them, as long as it was with my right hand as that has a much better aim.

“It’s a fun thing to do and it’s a bonus that it keeps me fit at the same time.”

Professional trainer

Ann was convinced to take up the sport after a friend started taking lessons and she now trains with former professional boxer Ady Lewis, who has held British and Commonwealth titles, once a week as part of the ‘I Will If You Will’ council-run scheme.

Ann said: “I’ve always done what I can to keep fit and when I heard about the boxing class, I just thought I’d give it a go because it looked so different.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work, but I love it because you get to exercise all the different parts of your body and I really enjoy how great it makes me feel.

“The coach is excellent and you definitely know when you’ve been put through your paces.”

Since taking up boxing, Ann has noticed a significant improvement in her hand-eye coordination, strength, flexibility and balance and she says she would recommend boxing to anyone who wants to burn some calories.

Ann, from Whitefield, Gtr Manchester, said: “It’s not something I’d thought of before I started, I think it can be seen as a men’s sport.

“I’ve always walked or gone swimming, anything to keep active really but I’ve not looked back since started these classes.

“I really enjoy it and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those wanting to stay active.

“I want to keep going as long as I can, it’s important to keep fit for as long as you can.”

The retired youth worker finds the sport also helps her to keep up with her grandchildren, who she is going on an outward bound course with next month.

I Will If You Will is a female fitness movement delivered by Bury Council with National Lottery funds from Sports England to get women and girls more active.

Amateur boxer Liz Norris, who helps to run the classes, said: “A lot of people think boxing is about fighting but we focus on using punching motions, footwork and equipment such as punch bags, skipping ropes and medicine balls to strengthen and tone the whole body.

“The ladies only class offers a safe environment where women of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can come along to get fit and learn the correct techniques, at their own pace and without fear of judgment.”