She is the British model who has stunned Australia’s former triple world boxing champion with her pugilistic power and precision.
Australian hall of fame champion Jeff Fenech has trained the world elite’s boxers, including legendary heavyweight Mike Tyson, but he has never trained a woman. Until now.
Sydney boxer and model Kate McLaren is used to performing in front of the camera but now she will do so from inside the ring.
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This odd pairing has struck a strong and dynamic bond which McLaren knows will take her a world championship belt. And the aspiring lightweight has let his intentions be clearly known.
“I started modelling in London at age 17 and now I’m a professional female boxer – talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. I love being in front of the camera. I have also done TV and acting roles and recently featured in a music video,” he said.
“Now, I want to win a world boxing title.”
Outside the ring, McLaren modelled at the Australian Bridal Fashion Week. In England, she modelled in catalogues and on websites for an online clothing store.
McLaren, 31, was introduced to Fenech through mutual friends, the pair already mapping out her highway to the title.
Now living in Randwick, McLaren spoke of being “blessed” and “privileged” at being the first woman coached and trained by Fenech, a former three-time world champion.
“I am the first (female) Jeff has trained — I’m very lucky and privileged to have him by my side,” McLaren said. “Jeff gives me a lot of motivation and drive.
“He has memorabilia on the walls when we train so when we’re going through a hard pad session I look up and see what he’s achieved – it’s such an inspiration.
He also gives me confidence. Jeff has achieved so much in his career and he is one of the greats in my eyes. I feel very blessed to have him train me. He breaks everything down and explains to me why we’re doing things in a certain way.
“I want to go all the way and definitely, one day, win a world title. I don’t like doing anything in halves. If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it well. I’m sure Jeff will put me on the right path to win that title.”
McLaren won her first professional bout by unanimous decision on May 29 at Hornsby RSL with Fenech now attempting to land her a second fight on December 11.
A background in mixed martial arts led McLaren to take a new sporting adventure — boxing.
“I have always had a passion for fighting – that sounds terrible doesn’t it? I started combat sports from the age of eight,” McLaren said. “I’m 31 now so in that whole time I have been doing some sort of martial arts.
“I changed over to boxing and I’ve now got the boxing bug. I like to be aggressive and come forward when I’m boxing.”
Fenech said McLaren – a personal trainer – works as hard as any of his male boxers.
“She trains her arse off,” Fenech said. “Kate came over one day and asked me to train her. I gave her a couple of lessons and then she ended up having her fight and winning.
“I have trained a million boxers but she is so appreciative. She really wants to learn and that hooked me. We just clicked.
“She works hard, she’s strong and can punch. We have to get her in the positions where we can use the skill sets and strengths that she has at the right time. If she does that, Kate will be fine.”