EBBW Vale’s Ashley Brace is aiming to make history tomorrow night by becoming the first Welsh female professional fighter to win a title.
The 26-year-old, who trains with Tony Borg at Newport’s St Joseph’s gym, has enjoyed a fine start to her career in the pro ranks with five straight wins.
And that has earned her a first professional title shot at the Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre, where she takes on Hungarian veteran Alexandra Vlajk for the WBC International belt over eight two minute rounds.
It is a big turnaround in fortunes for a fighter whose amateur career ended in difficult circumstances when she was denied the chance to fight for Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games due to her kick boxing background.
Promoter Jamie Sanigar told Bigtimeboxing.co.uk: “She came along with her father Shaun, who is very passionate, and runs a kickboxing gym up in Ebbw Vale, and they explained her plight what with the Commonwealth Games.
“Hearing their side of the story, it seemed unjust, and they just wanted to give the pro game a crack.
“In the past, my father [Chris] had done a bit of work with Jane Couch on a few shows, but we’d never actually managed a female boxer. It was an exciting opportunity for us, and a new challenge, for us as well.
“We have done it the old-fashioned way, where we promote locally and from there build them into championship fighters. Even from the beginning you started to realise that she was a special talent and very exciting, and that shows in the five wins she’s got.
“As a those fights took place, you started to realise that she was becoming a major attraction at these events.
“That’s enabled her to fast track I guess to the point where she’s got her first title shot, and really showcase in her home town of Ebbw Vale.”
And, should she claim the title this weekend, Brace has her eye on a fight with double Olympic champion Nicola Adams at some point.
“We’ve got a little bit of something to sort out,” she told the BBC. “I believe if I had gone to the Commonwealth Games it would have been me coming home with that gold medal.
“I respect her and I think she’s a fantastic boxer, but that’s what I want - I want to be the best.
“There’s no point wanting to be second in this game.”
Brace, who goes by the nickname The Storm, headlines the Sanigar Events ‘Storm Warning’ show in her home town.
The seven-fight undercard will feature Tredegar welterweight Ricky Rowlands as well as Cardiff light-heavyweight Nathan Thorley and Welsh super-welterweight champion Tony Dixon.