Vicky Glover has come a long way in the past 11 months. The Glasgow teenager started the year on the wrong side of the law but has ended it being hailed as a role model.
She is one of nine boxers included in the latest batch of 35 athletes named as part of Team Scotland for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia – and will be the first female boxer ever to represent the country on that stage.
As she listened to the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, tell those present that they had already done so much to make the nation proud, the British Champion reflected on how things have changed.
Found guilty of attacking two men with a baseball bat in January, Glover was forced to complete 200 hours of community work, and she says that the grind, along with her boxing, has helped her turn her life around.
“I was cutting grass for people, cutting people’s hedges and doing work in their gardens, painting houses and if someone needed help to move house, I was helping shift couches. Of course I’d rather not have been there. I didn’t enjoy it but I got on well with all the guys.
“It was hard graft. I’d go in from 9.30-4.30. But, it was an experience. A lot of the boys who were there had been in and out of jail. They’d done community service before; it wasn’t their first time there. That’s just not how I want to end up. So, this is a big change. I never thought this time last year that I’d be in the position I am now. It just shows you can’t let one thing knock you. It doesn’t have to be the making of you.”
Focusing on her boxing training, the Hamilton fighter she has learned to channel her energies and aggression, while the discipline that is a vital component of the sport is helping keep her on the straight and narrow. But she admits things could have been different.
“It’s given me a focus. Boxing has definitely helped. I started when I was ten. I’d taken up a few things before that: kickboxing, football, dancing. I never stuck to anything but I took to boxing straight away. My dad got me involved in it. He saw a leaflet in a shop and thought, since I’d been in trouble, it might be a good thing. He thought it was a good idea and he was right.
“A lot of kids, their parents push them into it. For me, it was a punishment not to go to boxing and that kept my focus.
“My coach saw potential straight away. He told me I was naturally talented. It was quite intimidating at first but there was a natural buzz. I enjoyed it. The first time I sparred was with a girl but even now, it’s always boys. And competing with some of the top boys has brought me on a lot. I have been competing with them and that’s the difference between me and the other girls, I think.”
Having made history by becoming the first female to force her way into the Commonwealth Games boxing team, the fighter, who boxes in the 57kg category, is hoping that the only headlines she attracts from now on are positive, as she thrives on the sensation of making her family, who she claims are “buzzing”, proud.
“[The assault and subsequent court appearance] gives you that label and people have an impression of you, I suppose.
“I made a mistake but I’m still young. We all make mistakes and I’ve learned from it. But I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve been to the British Championships, the World Championships and now I’m going to the Commonwealth Games. I just want to keep moving forward.”
As British champion, she was denied the World Youth title in India on a split decision but, heading to Gold Coast the fighter, who lists Irish boxer Katie Taylor alongside Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano as her role models, has only one target in mind. “Gold!”
After that she has her mind set on emulating Taylor in the Olympic ring. “I think [Katie] is amazing. I’ve watched her on TV and followed her on Twitter. She’s brilliant and I’d love to follow in her footsteps.” By breaking on to the Commonwealth stage, Glover is on her way to doing that.
“It’s brilliant. It’s an absolute privilege. It means a lot. It’s been a massive confidence boost as well to know that Boxing Scotland thinks enough of me to send me over there.”