An aspiring teenage boxer has been tipped for the top after scooping a medal in a prestigious international women’s boxing tournament.
Bria Fielding, 16, from Howarth Avenue, Church fought off 176 female boxers from 21 countries in the fourth Nations Cup held in Sobotica, Serbia, to strike bronze.
And coaches say there is no reason why she cannot go on to follow in the footsteps of her idol and Olympic champion Nicola Adams.
The plucky teenager said: “It’s a fantastic sport I was first introduced to when I was 10.
“I now train regularly at Larches and Savick Gym in Preston and hope to continue to represent my country at international level, with my ultimate goal being the Olympics.”
Bria’s winning opponent from Kazakhstan had a massive advantage in experience with 48 fights under her belt compared to Bria’s 15.
Bria’s proud dad Craig said: “The crowd there were mostly boxers and their families - it was very noisy. I was just so proud when she won bronze - I had a lump in my throat.”
Craig said Bria, who has mum Kim, sister Shelby, 20, and brother Morgan, 13, who both also box, has full support for what she does from her family, who are ‘very excited’ and ‘very proud’ of her prowess.
Her success comes as no surprise to them though, with Shelby, now taking a break to study, previously selected for a Great Britain training camp in 2013.
Craig said: “I’m not worried about her safety because she’s great at what she does - she’s had a broken nose and a black eye but no other injuries so far.
“She was back in the gym and at school the day after she broke her nose - it didn’t put her off at all. Skill-wise there is no difference between a man and a woman. There is a lot of skill involved which, to be honest, the girls pick up more quickly and they listen more as well.”
The Accrington Academy pupil has been sparring with men to improve her chances of qualifying for the AIBA Women’s Junior and Youth World Boxing Championships in Taiwan in May.
Craig added: “She’s fought the women’s European number one and there’s not much between them. Great Britain coach Dave Fitzgerald says he fully believes she can go on to win gold medals at the Olympics. Bria is very quiet though and won’t tell anyone about what she does.”
Andy O’Brien, Accrington Academy principal said the school is “very proud” of the youngster.
He said: “This is an incredible achievement. The commitment she shows to her sport is the same that she applies to her studies - that’s why I am certain we will be supporting her all the way to the very top.”
Bria will compete in the national championships in Northumberland from February 20-22.