Shannon Courtenay suffered her first career loss on Aug. 14, dropping an eight round decision to Rachel Ball at a Matchroom Fight Camp show, and the 27-year-old fighter is vowing to come back strong — though she also feels the decision was “unfair.”
“This is more to me than just a sport or a career. Boxing is my entire life,” Courtenay wrote on Instagram. “Was it an unfair decision? Yes. Am I going to let this define me? Absolutely not!
“To have an unfair decision go against me in a fight that most had me winning is heart breaking but be better not bitter. I truly believe this’ll be the making of me and I’ll come back stronger than ever!”
We scored the fight 77-74 for Ball, for what it’s worth, almost identical to referee Howard Foster’s 77-75 card. Courtenay was dropped in the first round and while she was the aggressor in the fight, activity alone just couldn’t convince Foster, as Ball landed the sharper, cleaner blows for much of the bout. You can make an argument for Courtenay — and many in the UK scene certainly will, because she seems well-liked in general — but it was far from a robbery or anything like that.
It’s also worth noting that the fight was originally contracted at junior featherweight, and Matchroom kept promoting it as such even though the contract weight had to be adjusted late, with Courtenay weighing in at 126¾, which doesn’t meet the featherweight limit, let alone junior featherweight.
The clearest thing is that Courtenay, who turned pro in March 2019, still has plenty of work to do. She’s got great heart and determination, but a lot of flaws in the ring, and she might have been pushed a bit too hard for her actual ability at this stage. But now she’ll have the chance to tighten up her work, maybe, and come back improved. Sometimes a loss isn’t the worst thing.