RAVEN Chapman says she is “not trying to prove anything to anyone” as she prepares to defend her Elite National Championship title.
Chapman goes into the competition seeded behind favourite Crystal Barker, with the pair’s two-way battle to box for England at next year’s Commonwealth Games reaching boiling point.
Rather than be cowed by the pressure, though, the 23-year-old is bristling with intent and determined to reclaim her number one spot.
Chapman, who fights out of Bournemouth’s Arena Boxing Club, recently learned that she has been included in the Great Britain development squad, established to guide the cream of the country's crop through the current Olympic cycle to Tokyo 2020.
She told the Daily Echo: “I think it is important to win this title if I want to go to the Commonwealths – and I have to box well.
“It is not necessarily a case of being under extra pressure. But when I really need to perform, and there is a lot at stake, it brings out the best in me.
“I was seeded number one last year but still went in there feeling like an underdog, because it was my first go at an Elite National title.
“I am going to go in with exactly the same mindset this year. I am not trying to prove anything to anyone.
"I will just to concentrate on what I want. And that is to be in that number one spot – which should be mine!”
Chapman’s quarter-final bout takes place this afternoon – following the morning weigh in and draw – with the semi-finals and final held across the weekend, all at Rotherham’s vast Magna Centre.
She is promising not to leave anything in the ring – and will be brimming with confidence after her successful audition for GB recognition.
“I attended a four-day assessment in Sheffield,” explained Chapman. “It covered everything: strength and conditioning, pad work, bag work, technical work, sparring, technical sparring.
"They were evaluating us the whole time.
“I will be spending eight days a month in Sheffield, Wednesday to Saturday every other week.
“We have a three-month trial period, essentially for the boxers more than the coaches, to see if this is something we want to do and if it does work for us.
“If my weight class is added to the Olympic schedule, which it possibly will be, it gives me something extra to aim for.
“At the minute it feels out of reach but when it is there it will be something to grab onto. I have to make sure I am in the running for selection.”
Chapman’s immediate focus, though, is on retaining her status as national champion.
“If I didn’t think I could win there would be no point going," she continued. "When I am at my best I know I can do it.
“I have to make sure I give it absolutely everything. I don’t want to to look back and wonder ‘what if?’
“I feel fit and sharp. I am ready.”