Team GB's Charley Davison on motherhood, comeback and Olympics

By Kal SajadBBC Sport
Charley Davison
Charley Davison (right) missed out on a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

While being a mother of three should not - and does not - define her success, Olympian Charley Davison fully embraces the tag 'super mum'.

"I like the fact people realise mums are still able to fulfil their dreams after having children," the 28-year-old says. "Life doesn't stop just because you've had kids."

Having taken up boxing at the age of eight and progressed to winning multiple youth events, Davison took a seven-year hiatus from the sport in 2012 in order to focus on raising a family.

When she returned to the gym in 2019, she had no expectation of - or a burning desire to - compete again. She just wanted to get fit.

"It wasn't about getting back into boxing, it was to lose a bit of weight, like baby fat, and just enjoy the training," she says.

But a decade later, the flyweight fighter is back to her old winning ways; picking up a national title and representing Team GB at the Tokyo Games.

"I started training, got the love for the sport again and just really got stuck in," Davison adds.

"I won a national title at 54kg. It all happened so fast. I didn't force anything, just enjoyed the sport again, enjoyed the training, and everything fell into place."

Juggling family life with boxing

Davison says while many sportswomen focus on raising a family once their career has concluded, she is "happy" she has done it in reverse, with her children - aged six, eight and 10 - providing an added motivation to succeed.

"I'm happy because now I've had my children. I don't want any more children. I've got three beautiful kids," she says.

"The two eldest text me and talk to me on the phone when I'm away and that gives me so much drive."

But Davison admits juggling motherhood and family life with competing in elite-level sport is not without its challenges, particularly when being away from home for long periods.

"I went to America for a training assessment with Team GB and we were away for two weeks," she says.

"At first it was a shock to the system for them, for their mum being away, but they soon adjusted and couldn't be any happier at home with their dad.

"When I go home from camp I know I've got such a supportive partner. He does housework, cooking, cleaning, whatever he needs to do he does.

"I know when I get home I don't have to stress about everything, he's done what my normal job would be at home. I can get home, relax with the family and switch off from boxing."

'I need, want and will get an Olympic medal'

Davison competed in the 52kg category in the World Championships, her third tournament of 2022, and reached the quarter-finals, falling just short of a medal in Istanbul.

But she is likely to miss this summer's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham because of a change in the way the weight divisions are classed, meaning she does not comfortably fit into any of the reclassified limits.

Instead, Davison is focusing firmly on making amends for a disappointing campaign in Tokyo, where she was knocked out after losing to China's Yuan Chang's in the last 16.

"I could have easily have said 'that's enough' and I don't want to do anything after Tokyo," she says.

"Mentally I was distraught. You train so hard and are fully focused on that one dream, that one goal, and it just shatters so quickly.

"I could have hung my gloves up and finished. But I haven't succeeded. I want the medal. I need an Olympic medal and I will get an Olympic medal."

Watch live coverage of the Women's World Championships semi-finals and finals on BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app from Wednesday to Friday.

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