Charity boxer Steph Meehan will be landing a knockout blow to her mental health issues as well as helping to raise money for Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity.
The charity is holding its popular annual boxing match, after a two-year absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Steph is taking part in its first all-female fight.
Mother of one Steph, 34 from Great Barr, who is fighting friend Sam Hale, has come a long way since entering Martin Gethin’s Wild Star gym in Aldridge four years ago.
Steph, pictured right, said: “I’ve battled mental health issues, bipolar disorder and anxiety. When I first went to the gym, I was so scared and nervous my legs were shaking.
“I couldn’t leave the house at one point, so doing this has settled my mental health issues a lot. But I did it and to keep doing this pushes me and keeps me focused, so it’s good for me. It’s changed my life really.
“I train about four times a week and do pole dancing, so it’s become a big part of my life and routine now.”
Steph, who sells candles and crafts, says she is looking to help others in a similar situation.
“I’d definitely recommend it to women. I’m doing my own physical training course and I will have passed that soon so I want to help people who are like me who have mental health issues and might be scared to go to the gym,” she added.
As for getting into the ring, Steph admits it’s another obstacle to overcome.
“I’m nervous and scared because I’ve never done it before,” she said. “Apart from Sam making me laugh all the time, I’ve just got to go for it.
“I don’t think anyone is a winner or loser here because getting into the ring is a challenge itself. The winner for me is the charity because it’s for such a good cause.
Another person who will be beaming with pride is Steph’s 15-year-old son Mason.
“He’s really proud because he’s seen how far I’ve come with my anxiety, so he’s really excited,” said Steph.
“When I push myself, he pushes himself too and we set each other goals. He’s more academic though and he’s knuckling down with his schoolwork.”
Accountant Sam, 31, from Rushall, admits her 13-year-old daughter Levy doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.
“She’s not really too bothered – she came here for a few weeks but she prefers reading, writing and artwork instead.”
Sam admits she can’t get enough of the sweat, gloves and padwork that comes with slogging it out in the gym, where she insists she has been made to feel so welcome.
“At first it was daunting but then once I got to know everyone and got used to it, everyone is friendly and welcoming now and says hello when I come in,” she said.
“I started boxing a year and a half ago and it’s a challenge and something to work towards. I’ve never fought before but I’m a fan of boxing. Steph’s good so we’ll see what the night brings.”
The sell-out show takes place at Rushall Labour Club at Liberty House, Lichfield Road, Walsall WS4 1HB. With the first of eight to 10 bouts, starting at 8.15pm.
Funds raised will benefit Walsall Healthcare’s Goscote Hospice.