Sheffield woman used boxing skills to fight off muggers

Kerry (right) with some of the other boxers at the Ni Yai Muay Thai martial arts gym in Ecclesall Road
Kerry (right) with some of the other boxers at the Ni Yai Muay Thai martial arts gym in Ecclesall Road

Two hooded thugs got more than they bargained for when the Sheffield woman they tried to rob a handbag from used her boxing skills to see them off.

After finishing work on October 21 this year, Kerry Orton took the bus home, got off at the top of Southey Green Road, and started taking her normal route down Collinson Road shortly after 5pm.

Kerry Orton has been taking boxing classes for the last year

Kerry Orton has been taking boxing classes for the last year

Before long, she noticed a 'young lad no older than 18-years-old' walk past her, and then heard footsteps behind her that she initially believed belonged to a jogger.

30-year-old Kerry, who has been taking regular boxing classes for the last year, said: "When I heard the footsteps slow down and panting behind me, I thought: 'this isn't good'.

"The guy who walked past me grabbed my left arm and started to try and take my handbag. The one on the right side started grabbing me as well."

But instead of giving up her bag, Kerry kept hold of it in her elbow crease and jabbed the thug on her left with the one of the bag's sharp corners.

Kerry with some of the other boxers at the Ni Yai Muay Thai martial arts gym in Ecclesall Road

Kerry with some of the other boxers at the Ni Yai Muay Thai martial arts gym in Ecclesall Road

She punched the other attacker with her right hand.

"After I punched the one on the right he started running off, and the other one went too, I think he got scared off basically. They were only young, maybe 18-years-old," continued Kerry, of Parson Cross.

She says both of the men were wearing tracksuit bottoms, hooded tops with their hoods up and scarves covering part of their faces.

Kerry's boxing trainer, Christian Di Paolo, owner of the Ni Yai Muay Thai martial arts gym in Ecclesall Road, said she is such a good boxer he 'almost feels sorry' for her two attackers.

"She's got a really good right hook, so I think she will have caused some damage," he said, adding: "I'm really glad that she felt able to defend herself, and I think the boxing will have empowered her to do that.

"I think everyone, and especially women and children, should get some form of self defence training because you just never know what's going to happen."

Kerry first became involved with boxing last year through a fundraiser for Cancer Research - a cause very close to her heart after her dad, Alan Orton, was diagnosed with the disease.

She enjoyed it so much she started going to regular classes. Over a year later and Kerry's love of boxing is still going strong, and she has now moved on to Thai Boxing.

"The boxing made me feel confident enough to try and fight back. If this had happened a year ago there's no way I would have felt able to do that. It helps me so much, it's a great way of getting rid of frustrations and stress," she said.

Alan was thankfully given the all-clear earlier this year.

"I think he's proud of me for carrying on with it. And my sister, Simone, has started coming with me too so I think it does give him peace of mind to know we're able to protect ourselves," added Kerry.

Christian continued: "Kerry's a role-model to a lot of the other women at the gym. We take a holistic approach to boxing so it helps you both physically and mentally, and it's a really supportive environment. There's no competitiveness, like you can get with other gyms, and women feel really comfortable here."