Since stepping into the ring, Talijah Cunningham has never felt more confident.
The 15-year-old boxer recently won her second professional bout, defeating Tasmanian Chloe Stewart.
Talijah came out the victor in a unanimous decision, claiming the Junior Interstate Welterweight Title.
“It felt good to win that fight,” the Campbelltown resident said.
“It felt like all my effort, hard work and training paid off.
“I was finally able to just do what I do in the ring.”
Talijah trains six days a week with her coach Hassan El-Achrafi out of Final Round Gym in Prestons.
She alternates between bag work, sparring and fitness training.
The Ambarvale High School student said boxing had changed her as a person.
“It’s helped me both physically and mentally,” she said.
“I used to be rude, disrespectful and I didn’t care about my school work and stuff like that.
“My now my behaviour is better, I think before I act and I’m working harder at school.”
El-Achrafi said Talijah’s self-esteem had greatly increased since she started boxing.
“It’s been a real outlet for her, a confidence builder,” he said.
“She was bullied at school but now she has an outlet to focus on.”
The coach said Talijah was “relentless” in the ring last week and refused to let her opponent beat her.
“The first two rounds were close, but Talijah just kept swinging and wouldn’t let the opponent get away with anything,” he said.
El-Achrafi said it was hard to find opponents for Talijah because there were so few young female boxers.
Talijah would like to see that change.
“I was nervous about starting boxing because I had only ever seen men in the ring, except Holly Holm,” she said.
“I thought I would be judged because I’m a girl.
“I hope that more girls do start boxing, so that others can see it’s for everyone and it’s not just a male-dominated sport.”
The year 10 student said her favourite thing about boxing was “meeting new people” and working on her fitness.
See more pictures from the fight online.