BOXING coach Kerrie Christie has gone in search of her slice of the American dream, moving to Los Angeles to hook up with notable pro gym Box N Burn.
The move is the Lucan native’s latest in her ambitious mission to become “boxing’s premier female coach”.
Christie already has an impressive sporting background, coming to boxing after injuries forced her from soccer and immediately taking to the sport.
She quickly won an invite to train at Paschal Collins’s Dublin pro gym the Celtic Warrior Boxing Club, where she’s been for the past four years.
There, she worked with the likes of prospects Luke Keeler and Jono Carroll who are making big strides in the professional game as well as world title hopeful Stephen Ormond.
Recently, Christie became the first Irish woman ever to gain a formal coaching qualification, picking up her BUI licence earlier this year. It’s a success for which she’s particularly grateful to Collins.
The move to LA, of course, brings with it a host of new challenges.
“I’ve become a very small person in a big city,” the Dubliner says of her Californian relocation. “I have to establish myself as a hard worker and a reputable trainer. It’ll take time, but as the years go by I’ll be looking for that world champion.”
It sounds ambitious, but Christie’s going in at a top location, and is well-placed to make serious strides.
Box N Burn has recently developed into a small chain, and has seen some high-profile athletes pass through over the years.
These have included world champion boxer Chris Van Heerden and UFC champion Chris Weidman.
“The gyms are owned by Tony Jeffries and Kevan Watson”, Christie told the Dublin Gazette.
“Tony is an Olympic medal winner and an undefeated pro boxer, and Kevan is one of the world’s leading fitness trainers. Ireland’s own Wayne ‘Pocket Rocket’ McCullough is also part of the team.”
To get her foot in the door, Christie took the direct approach, presenting the owners with her impressive CV on her second trip to LA They were evidently impressed.
“The two guys sponsored my visa”, she explains. “They gave me so much support along the way. They’ve made the dream a reality.”
The faith shown comes in part from a lifelong knack Christie has for connecting when coaching.
“I’ve been told I have great patience and can adapt to how different people learn, and being very passionate helps, too. When it comes to boxing, it can be a very mental game.
“The biggest challenges you’ll face are trying to get inside your fighter’s head and understand how they think and how they work before and during a fight. It’s a tough sport to be in, and sometimes, if your head’s not right, you can lose a fight before it even starts.
“Packie Collins at Celtic Warrior has a great understanding of the psychological side having studied sports psychology.”
It’s not taken long for Christie to take to her new environment, but then again, why would it.
“Blue skies, amazing weather, lovely beaches and people who want to stay fit and healthy; it’s an amazing place”, she tell us. “As [gym owner] Tony always says, ‘it’s like living on holiday’.”
Not that the holiday feel is slowing Christie down. “I loved the gym from the moment I stepped into it,” she says.
“It’s packed on a daily basis, from pro athletes to members of the public who want to learn to box.
“The atmosphere’s electric. I want to do the best job I can with these guys,” says the driven athlete, who cites Katie Taylor as a major inspiration. “Katie made the path for women a lot easier, which has really helped me.
“There’s never been a female world champion with a female trainer. It’s a wild dream, and it’ll take years to get to that level, but it’s achievable.
“I can’t wait to spend my next five years here and help the Box N Burn name keep growing throughout LA.”
With Christie’s record and determination, you’d be a fool to bet against her.