Q&A: One on one with Sylvia Scharper

AUSTRALIAN womens bantamweight champion Sylvia Scharper fits a lot of personality into her small frame.

Scharper (3-1-1, 1 KO) caught up with Aus-Boxing’s Dan Smart to discuss her fledgling professional career and her road to national title glory and falling short in her first attempt at a world title.

Dan Smart: Thank you for joining us Sylvia, in what is a male dominated sport, what was the decisive factor in entering the sport of professional boxing for you?

Sylvia Scharper: There was no decisive factor it just happened. I was a violent little tomboy that growing up who enjoyed play fighting with my brother.

I started in Muay Thai much later in life for a bit of fun after watching some fights. I fell in love with Muay Thai and just kind of transitioned into boxing.

Finding myself in a male-dominated sport has never really bothered me, as I have been lucky enough to always be treated equally. I train hard and put in the hard yards and don’t expect special treatment.

I have always been treated like all the other fighters.

I have also been really lucky to have a promoter that has been behind me the whole way, offering me opportunities to fight and create a career for myself.

It is important to have that because a lot of spectators often don’t think they want to watch the ladies fight or aren’t there for the ladies, until they actually watch us fight.

So, having promoters willing to give us those opportunities is important for us to achieve our goals.

Obviously within combat sport as a whole, women don’t tend to gain as much recognition as the males but I think that has really improved over the years due to some great female fighters paving the way.

I think it will only continue to improve as women are continually showing they can fight.

DS: Your last fight was against tough Filipino Marnelle Verano for the WIBA super flyweight world title in what many saw as fight of the night back in May.

Although you didn’t get the decision, what did it mean to you to have the entire crowd on their feet yelling with excitement in what was truly a war. What did you learn from the fight and how will this experience help you moving forward?

SS: The saying that ‘boxing is toughest and loneliest sport in the world’ has never really resonated with me. That night was pure proof of it. I just don’t think ‘lonely’ is the right word.

You are definitely on your own in the ring because it is an individual sport but for me it is far from lonely. I felt like I had so many people in that ring with me that night.

When it was over everyone that I spoke to seemed just as exhausted and emotional as me.

Having a standing ovation when I left the ring, was pretty special because I put my heart and soul into the camp and the fight and for people to acknowledge what I left in there felt nice.

I knew I was in for a very tough night from the first round. I had to give myself a little pep talk, knowing whatever happens I had to fight my heart our for ten rounds. And that’s what I did.

Unfortunately, I fought the same fight from round one to round ten so I was disappointed I couldn’t adjust.

It wasn’t a loss that will haunt me because I did my best and I believe it will push me to a new level. All the fight did was make me hungrier than ever and really highlight what I need to improve upon.

DS: Unfortunately you have recently torn a rotator cuff and have had to withdraw from your upcoming bout with Rachael Phillips last Friday evening. How did the injury come about and how long are you looking at being on the sidelines?

SS: It’s probably a little bit raw at the moment so I won’t go too far into it, but I am very disappointed at having to withdraw. But I am more determined than ever to get back when I am healed. It’ll make me stronger mentally.

DS: Who have been some of the biggest influences/idols in your career thus far?

My idols are Mike Tyson and Joe Frazier. Mike Tyson is undoubtedly my hero. He was a supreme athlete. And not just for his sheer power but for his evasiveness and speed.

He was controlled, ‘sinister’ in his attacks and completely imposed his will and took care of business in devastating fashion. I also love Frazier for his catch and kill style, I admire his stamina and relentlessness.

I love powerful pressure fighters who come to fight but are tactical and skilled.

DS: You have won an Australian title at bantamweight, how did that feel and what do you hope to achieve in the rest of your days as a professional fighter?

Winning the Australian title against Kori Farr has to be my proudest moment in this sport and one of the greatest moments in my life.

To go from not being able to throw two consecutive punches, to barely being able to believe I was a boxer, to winning a national title against a very skilled boxer was so very special.

It still makes me smile like a dill when I think about it. I want to obviously fix the holes in my game and just keep improving. I want to mix it with the best and in order to do that I need to become a more well rounded boxer.

I don’t think I will ever be satisfied because there is always going to be something to correct. And the ultimate goal – world domination – of course.

Words: Dan Smart/Follow Dan on Twitter @dansmart76
Photos: Marty Camilleri/Marty’s Knockout Photography



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