Jane Couch MBE won plenty of fights during her boxing career, the former world champion retired in 2007 and has since forged a successful role as a manager as well as launching her own website and contributing to her sport by travelling the country interviewing stars, prospects, trade insiders and even the odd bin man. Couch netted another W last week when winning back her managerial licence after a dispute with the BBBoC.
Couch has long been a vocal advocate of a higher level of transparency within the game. Her outspoken comments during a discussion with a high ranking Board member in regards to the issue of BBBoC receiving remuneration for their efforts led to the indefinite withdrawal of her managerial licence last November. This move meant that she was exiled from actively taking part in the development of fighters.
Indeed, this was not the first time Couch had challenged the Board’s decision making process. In 1998 she won the right to box after the BBBoC had refused her a licence on the grounds that coping, or not coping, with bouts of PMT made women too unstable to fight – although they are capable of starting plenty of them during these periods. The win was deemed a landmark one for equal opportunities and allowed the ‘Fleetwood Assassin’ to begin a journey that eventually culminated in world title wins.
Following her frank conversation with a senior Board member, Couch had her licence withdrawn for an unspecified period and had feared for her long-term future in the sport. Ironically, Couch’s fight to be reinstated ended on March 14; the same day that Dereck Chisora’s licence was withdrawn for an undetermined period of time.
Some four months earlier, on November 9 2011, a hearing had taken place at the BBBoC’s HQ to consider the conduct of Couch. She was found guilty of serious misconduct, deemed to not be a ‘fit and proper person to hold a licence’ and had her manager’s licence withdrawn.
Couch’s problems stemmed from her insistence that members of the Board who have a financial interest in the sport should no longer be a part of the BBBoC’s upper echelons as per new rules introduced by the organisation to prevent parties with a financial interest forming part of the Board’s governance structure. The former fighter argued that the Board’s new rules kept people from within the trade from joining Area Councils, barred entry into the BBBoC and was a hypocritical decision if top-level members of the Board did not have to abide by the stipulations.
This prompted the BBBoC to point out that payments received by officials were related to their expenses, travel and accommodation etc., and not a payment in the strictest sense of the word. In response to Couch’s comments to one of their senior members, the Board decided to hand down sanctions only to retract them and rubberstamp her manager’s licence reapplication.
Couch now hopes to put the matter to one side. The hard working interviewer can relaunch her stalled managerial career and she made it clear that the fight would have continued had things not gone her way.