Grangemouth girl Erin Kowal is heading to Thailand next month to commence her career as a professional thai boxer - just like mentor Jordan Coe did in 2014.
Tragic Jordan died last year, but his Grangemouth-based protege is promising to give her big opportunity her best shot, in his memory.
Kowal has been signed to a one-year scholarship with Sutai Muay Thai gym in Phuket, beating more than 200 applicants after impressing the gym with her fights and style on Facebook.
“They put on Facebook they wanted to sponsor someone,” the 17-year-old explained. “They saw me on Facebook and contacted my dad and thought I had potential, and said they liked what they had seen of how I was on Facebook and were interested, then last month they told me I had been selected out of 200 applicants.”
Muay Thai is the national sport in Thailand, and Kowal takes over a wealth of experience gained whiletraining out of Carnage gym in her hometown and then the Griphouse in Glasgow.
She’s been champion at junior and adult level, landing belts and prizes at Scottish, British, European and World events.
And the foundation of her success was down to her coach Coe.
“I’ll be doing this in his memory, he was my inspiration,” Erin added. “Jordan was a great coach. He was young and we got on really well when he was here and my coach.
“I loved what he was doing.We were on the same level.
“When he went over he became so popular, and he was young like me. He was successful.
“He got recognised and became a big name when he went to Thailand. He fought Australian and Chinese fighters live on TV - he was a big name. It would be amazing to get to that level, but that’s what I’m aspiring to. Jordan showed it was possible.
“If he never moved he would never have reached that level and followed his dreams. I have to remember that. This is a chance for me. I hope the TV opportunities come for me too.”
The cash will come too once the fights begin, but before then Erin is seeking sponsorship to help fund her set-up and move.
A visa alone costs in excess of £1200 and intensive fundraising has been worked around a six-day a week training schedule to fund the travel, set-up costs and administration.
After that the fight purses will start to come.
She’s already been helped by DB Maintenance and the Blue Eyes Sports Foundation, amongst others but open for further opportunities, and can be contacted through her ‘Athlete’ Facebook page.
It’s all set up for a successful professional career, when she leaves Forth Valley College and her sports coaching course and Erin admits, “I hated it at first”.
She added: “It was hard but I soon began to love it. Jordan helped with that.
“I was ten and was being picked on so my dad gave me the option of Taekwondo or Thai boxing, to learn a little self defence. I’ve grown to love it.”