Meet Nicole Barke – nicknamed the Burmese Python – the newest star of women’x boxing who started as ballet dancer


BRITISH ladies’s boxing has a terrifying new power with the Burmese Python arriving with a historic earlier of head-butting, financial institution jobs and horrible ballet.

Nicola Barke, 28, makes her expert debut in opposition to knowledgeable Hungarian Gabriella Mezei tonight after a protracted and bloody profession in taekwondo, kickboxing and Lethwei, a Burmese martial work the place gloves are banned and cranium assaults allowed!

The Luton super-featherweight’s daring change into battle sports activities actions obtained proper right here after a far more typical begin in dance — nonetheless she positively feels extra at residence throwing a one-two than carrying a tutu.

She talked about: “I did ballet for 16 years and was horrible at it — ineffective.

“I didn’t win a single trophy or medal in all that point and remember telling my mum and pa I wanted to attempt the full reverse and that was combating, so I started taekwondo and in no way appeared as soon as extra.

Barke makes her boxing debut tonightCredit: Instagram / @the.burmesepython
The Luton native started off as a ballet dancer
The Luton native started off as a ballet dancerCredit: Instagram / @the.burmesepython

“I do know pretty a bit of boxers use dance to reinforce or enhance their footwork in boxing.

“But I was so bad that I am not sure if all the experience I have will be a help or hindrance.”

Barke, who has supported her achievements by means of a day job with HSBC, reckons her solely exact battle exterior of the ring was a childhood battle with narcolepsy.

But she hung up her dancing shoes as she was no good at it
But she hung up her dancing footwear as she was no good at itCredit: WOW HYDRATE


She talked about: “Growing up it was seen as a bit of a comedy sickness as a final result of it featured in an episode of Mr Bean and my mother and father genuinely used to tie my ponytail to my chair at dinner so I didn’t go to sleep and burn my face in the gravy!

“I chortle about it now nonetheless as a teen it was exhausting as a final result of, whereas you may need to exit and socialise, falling asleep for 4 hours in the cinema or Pizza Hut is fairly embarrassing.

“We never found out what was causing it but bizarrely it only really cleared up when I started taekwondo and martial arts and started getting hit in the head regularly.”

Barke didn’t merely spend her previous few teenage years studying to battle.

She acquired taekwondo’s world championships in Canada nevertheless furthermore gained a firstclass diploma in biomedical sciences from the University of West England.

And it was her imprecise grasp of biology that helped information her from martial arts into knowledgeable boxing at the begin of 2021 after an hurt setback.

She talked about: “Unlike in boxing, in kickboxing we’re inclined to spar anybody, as an alternate of somebody in our weight class.

So I used to be sparring an individual a amount of stone heavier than me and when he tried to brush my standing leg he by likelihood merely spun it away from the leisure of my physique.

“My knee dislocated, my ACL, hamstring, all of it went to pot actually nonetheless I someway managed to pop my very private knee joint as soon as extra in.

“I acquired pushed to the hospital with out having to name 999 nonetheless I needed to name them in the finish as a final result of I couldn’t bodily get out of the automotive, as rapidly as all the adrenaline and inexplicable laughing had worn off.

“The journey all by the automotive park may need to have been the shortest ambulance call-out ever.

“I used to be in a medical boot for a extremely very very long time after that.


“I could eventually stand but not kick so I was just boxing, hitting the backs or pads and then the idea of just boxing and turning pro evolved into this debut on Saturday.”

The Circus Tavern in Essex is a famously boisterous venue nonetheless Barke is accustomed to intense circumstances after mum Joan’s Burmese heritage helped her land that good nickname and an infinite assist base.

She talked about: “My mum is from Burma so even as quickly as I was kickboxing in Europe that was my nickname.

“But after being on one present, I used to be contacted by a promoter in Burma who had seen my household heritage and my achievements and invited me out to compete.

“It was an important totally different nonetheless I had in no way heard of Burmese boxing and it’s not taught in any gyms in the UK.

“It was solely as quickly as I acquired over there I used to be educated it’s punches, kicks, knees and elbows — like pretty a bit of martial arts — nonetheless with headbutts too!

“The completely totally different shock on that journey was the assist. My mum and I had been travelling on barely tuktuk and full strangers in Burma had been racing as loads as us.

“I believed we had been getting held up by bandits nonetheless that they’d been so type and successfully mannered after which we drove earlier an infinite billboard selling the present and it had me on it.

“So hopefully there usually is a amount of locations in Burma this weekend tuning in to observe my debut.

“It’s a wonderful country that has suffered some really horrible times, but like me and my mum it seems to be pretty tough.”

Nicola Barke is a WOW Hydrate athlete combating at the Circus Tavern on Saturday.

Contact @the.burmesepython on Instagram for her previous few remaining tickets.

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