British boxer Caroline Dubois has spoken candidly about her experiences trying to break into the sport as a female when she was growing up. The 21-year-old Londoner has already achieved plenty in her young career, and won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in 2018.

After recently turning pro, she won her first bout against Vaida Masiokaite by a points decision last month, and certainly appears to have a bright future ahead. But speaking to Pandora Forsyth in our weekly #SheCan interview on Express Sport, Dubois explained just how much the odds were stacked against her initially.

“When I first started out there were not any female boxing clubs,” she said. “Well, there were a few, but my dad is the sort of guy who thinks if you are going to do something you have to do it properly. You’re not going to mess around or joke around, you’re going to go to the toughest, hardest way about it.

“There were female clubs about but they were not seen as serious, with no sparring or anything. So when my dad found out that I wanted to box he said ‘ok, well I’m going to take you to the toughest gym there is’, which was Repton Amateur Boxing Club.

“That club have produced loads of national champions and Olympic champions. When he took me down to the gym, they did not allow girls at the beginning. But my dad was adamant that I would get in, and he said ‘Ok, if they’re not going to let you in one way, you’re going to go in the other way.’

“He told me to pretend to be a boy and say my name was Colin, and that’s what I did. I sparred the boys, and it was going well for a long time until they got me a fight and I would have had to have my medical. So obviously we had to leave.”

Dubois admits that she initially found it hard to understand why she was not able to go up against males, and found it frustrating to be put in a class with those who were not taking the sport as seriously as she did.

“When I was nine years old I didn’t really understand so much about males and females, or why a girl couldn’t spar a boy if she was good enough,” she added. “Back in the day in my house we were always fighting and messing around and there were no problems there. So I didn’t understand why I had to be put in this group with girls who were not being as serious as me.

“I wanted to become a national and international champion, and I knew the only way to get there was to compete with the best, and going up against boys was the only way I could get to that level.”

To watch the full #SheCan video online with Express Sport, click here