CAMERON, Mo. — In the basement of The Old School in Cameron, Missouri, where the smell of must overwhelms your nose and rusty treadmills sit unused, sits the gymnasium which is now a boxing training center.
As the days tick down closer to her fight, it’s where you’ll find Ashleigh Curry training with Travis Hartman.
Curry will be the main event at ‘The Next Chapter’, the boxing event being held at 7 p.m. Friday at Phil Welch Stadium. The show is promoted by Hartman, where he will also be fighting.
A Houston native, Curry played basketball at Missouri Western. In the 2011-12 season, she played in 12 games, averaging 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Basketball was always her sport. She was an athlete, though, and was always looking to play sports. Boxing came to her by accident.
“I was just going along watching fighters fight because it was enjoyable to watch people fight, and he (Galen Brown) was like, ‘Man, I need a girl fighter’ and it was for like $500, and I was like, ‘I’ll do it,’” Curry said. “He said ‘you sure?’ because it was a 10-0 girl and she’d never been knocked down. So I was the first one to knock her down, and everybody was so excited.”
Curry said she wasn’t sure why it was such a big deal and was hooked on the sport ever since.
“Her athletic ability from basketball 100% translates over,” Hartman said. “The heavyweight champion of the world right now, Deontay Wilder, was a basketball player first. He had 20 amateur fights and then turned pro, and now he’s the undefeated champion of the world. Why can’t she do it?”
Curry never boxed amateurly. She fought in that first fight and began training as a pro.
Now, she’s training with Hartman to get ready for the first main event to feature a woman in St. Joe. On a recovery day, Hartman has her jumping rope, doing reps on a heavy bag and ab circuits. She also works on the smallest of details to be the best, like stepping with a certain foot to duck away from a swinging hook.
The work their doing is for her ultimate goal: A world title.
Women’s boxing is growing, and Hartman said anything is possible for Curry if she works at it.
“This wasn’t even my main sport, but if (Travis) believes in me, and I think I’ve got a chance at a world title,” Curry said.
In the meantime, she works as a caregiver helping others and trains after work.
“I would’ve never thought I would be taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves, but with the heart I have, it grew on me,” Curry said. “I enjoy the job that I’m doing.”
Curry said several people she has met through her job — both employers and clients — are planning to be at the fight.
Hartman said Curry’s heart is one of the reasons they get along so well.
“Her heart is so pure,” Hartman said. “Ashleigh is one of the most giving people that I’ve met in a really long time.”
But despite having a good heart, Curry is in it for the glory of a win. For now, that’s the goal: Win on Friday.
“My nerves are shooting out of the roof, like really bad,” Curry said. “Hopefully I get in the ring and all that just goes out.
“Not to be cocky, I’m going in to win.”