By photojournalist Joanne Coates

Fight like a girl

Candy Floss, 18, performing as a professional for the first time at Progress Wrestling in Manchester

I don’t want to be a female wrestler, I want to be a wrestler.

“When I tell people I’m a professional wrestler they don’t really believe me. Not a lot of people do it - it’s rare.”

JOANNE COATES

“I see wrestling as an art form. For me, it’s all about characters and understanding the story,” says Candy Floss.

JOANNE COATES

I wanted to share my love of wrestling and show the female camaraderie in the sport. I wanted to inspire women to 'fight like a girl'.

JOANNE COATES

Women's wrestling is entertainment, hope and strength. It's also determination and fun in hard times.

JOANNE COATES

The bouts might be scripted, but they're not staged.

JOANNE COATES

Injuries do happen. Here, a referee helps a fighter at a match staged by EVE in Bethnal Green, London.

JOANNE COATES

The team at EVE promote so-called feminist-punk-rock wrestling. The whole team is like a large family.

JOANNE COATES

It surprised me backstage how affectionate and considerate the young women are with each other.

JOANNE COATES

The changing rooms are places of pure emotion where young women transform into courageous wrestling stars.

JOANNE COATES

There's laughter, nerves, make-up and false eyelashes...

JOANNE COATES

... and spandex and adrenaline bouncing off the walls.

JOANNE COATES

And then it's time to perform!

JOANNE COATES