IT seems hard to believe that someone who has ten world kickboxing titles under their belt, as well as a successful switch into the pro boxing ranks is lacking in confidence, but for Caitlin Foran, keeping her levels of self-belief high is a constant battle. 

It is, though, one she is winning, in no small part due to her impressive levels of success despite the fact she is still only 20-years-old. 

Foran admits she never expected to have scaled the heights in the way she has, particularly coming from Orkney, which is not exactly known for producing top-class fighters. 

As a child, Foran was, she says, “into everything” however she made a name for herself in kickboxing, winning the first of her ten world titles in 2014 within just a few years of making her first competitive appearance, an ascent that surprised even herself. 

“We’ve got a big family, I’m the youngest of five, and I began kickboxing with my brother, but he was the one who always went away to competitions,” she said.  

“I’m an athletic person but I really didn’t look like that when I began kickboxing. I think it was my stubbornness that made me stick at it more than anything else. 

“So it was quite a while before I began to compete but then I started winning and I though ok, this is good – maybe I should keep going. 

“The sport was always a massive part of my life but to be honest, I never had the confidence to think I was going to be really good at it.” 

Foran racked up more world titles in the following years but it wasn’t long before she realised that her fighting style would be better suited to boxing than her first love of kickboxing. She began dabbling in boxing but it was a message she received during her time at college in Glasgow two years ago that was to change the course of her life. 

Liverpudlian boxer Paul Peers, who recently was beaten by former world champion Scott Harrison, had moved to Orkney and got in touch with Foran inviting her to train with him. It was an opportunity she could not refuse and returned home to focus her full efforts on forging a path as a boxer. 

Having been all set to make her professional debut earlier this year, two weeks out from her fight it was called-off due to the pandemic that has decimated the sporting calendar, and it was a cancellation that was all the more disappointing for Foran as the event was due to be Orkney’s first-ever professional boxing show. 

However, she finally got the chance to make her debut in July in quite extraordinary circumstances, in an empty hotel room with the absence of any audience. The silence did not deter the super-featherweight though as she racked up her first victory and it was a win she admits not everyone expected as her demeanour outside the ring could not be more different from that which she displays when she is in fighting mode. 

“I’m a really shy person and most people can’t believe I fight. Even when I’m going into the ring, people are thinking wow, this little girl’s going to get beaten up but you can’t judge people by what they’re like outside of the ring. I’ve always had that ability to switch to being totally different. I might not shout about things but I feel like the talking is done in the ring,” she said 

“My first fight was so strange – there was no one else in the room so it was very weird.  

Getting ready to go into the ring though, I was buzzing – I was desperate to get going. It was a last-minute change of opponent which actually made it a harder fight so I was pretty nervous. It went better than I expected though and that’s helped my confidence a lot.” 

Foran admits surviving lockdown has not always been easy but being the only female boxer in Orkney means she is well used to adapting to less than ideal conditions.  

She regularly spars with male fighters, although she admits they are not always as keen as her to take her on, and while she knows she has much still to learn in boxing, she has ambitions of making it right to the top. 

A scheduled fight for November has been cancelled due to Covid, with it now potentially going ahead at the start of next year, but it is in May, when Foran will take on Russian fighter, Maya Wyoming, that she will face her stiffest test to date. 

It is, she hopes, the next step on her journey to ultimately adding another world title to her name. 

“The aim is to get right to the top,” she said.  

“I’m not going to take things too fast and I’m still young so I need a lot more experience in boxing. I know I can take my time though and I want to work my way up so that I’m able to stay up there – there’s no point jumping up and then falling straight back down. 

“I do imagine myself winning a world title. It would be amazing, and it would be a great thing for Orkney too so that’s the dream.”