Distancing from a dark place

Stephanie Lee Cutting will look to add a second title-belt to her growing collection on Friday night. 391083 Pictures: SUPPLIED

By David Nagel

Stephanie Lee Cutting is making up for lost time and it appears no-one will stand in her way.

The Clyde local and former Berwick and Cranbourne footballer will enter the ring on Friday night aiming to add the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) Super Featherweight championship to her first title win in December last year.

A third-round knock-out of Fijian Maureen Chand took Cutting’s professional record to 5-0, with four of those stopped inside the distance; claiming the WBF Australasian Lightweight title along the way.

It’s been a rapid rise for Cutting, who continues to deal with the trauma of a workplace injury that instantly curtailed a promising football career.

“I was always into sport as a kid; played footy until just before it exploded into AFLW, and the injury probably cost me being drafted,” Cutting explained.

“Basketball, netball, football, I was into everything – a real sporty kid.

“I had the job of my dreams, was playing high-level football, also kick-boxing at the time.

“I had a few amateur kick-boxing fights; I was travelling overseas…just living my best life.

“The I lost my career, couldn’t play sport anymore; and basically, got stuck on the couch wondering what could have been.

“The injury put me in some strife, physically, emotionally and mentally, so I’ve had a bit of a rough trot for the last five or six years.

“I worked in film and television, on TV shows like Wentworth, House Husbands and feature films that were produced here in Australia, and I lost all of that in an instant.”

The now 33-year-old, who grew up around Cockatoo and Emerald, had a decision to make.

“I had to get myself out of that dark place,” she confessed.

“My doctors wanted me to get back to the gym, to try and find my identity again, and that’s how it all started.

“I had my Pro-debut on March 17 last year and won my title-belt on December 16; now I’m 5 and 0 with four knockouts.

“I’m looking to go 6 and 0 with two title-belts in my first year of boxing.”

Cutting’s Melbourne debut was won via a majority points decision, but her subsequent four fights have all come by way of knockout.

She attributes her improving skillset to a strong and dedicated support team.

“A friend of mine and ex-fighter, Sarah Howett, she helped me out from the beginning, and my current head coach is Blake Caperallo.

“He’s in America at the moment for his own fight, and ‘Neekz’ Johnson is a former world champion and also my best friend, she’s been a huge support also.

“I knew I had it in me before the injury, which is why it was so disheartening when I was sitting on the couch, wasting the prime years of my life.

“Sarah knew what I had; and then Blake came along and we just started chipping away; trying to get better each day.”

Cutting said it can’t be underestimated what boxing has done to reinvigorate her life.

“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and has definitely put the spark back into me that I used to have,” she said.

“It keeps me out of that dark hole.

“I still struggle with my injury every day, but I just have something now to look forward to.

“It’s my passion…I can’t explain it any other way.

“It’s about getting back out there and trying to get my life back again.”

The self-described “pressure-fighter…with a strong right-hand” has never taken a backward step, and doesn’t intend doing so until she reaches her full potential.

“I just want to see how far I can go and I’m not stopping until I get to the top,” she said.

“I just want to keep getting the wins under my belt, travelling, getting the experience; I just want to keep learning.

“I haven’t stopped and thought about what I’ve achieved so far…it’s more like I’m trying to make up for lost time.”

Businesses or individuals who would like to support Steph on her exciting journey can contact her on Instagram via @stephyleecutting, or drop her an email at stephy_lee18@hotmail.com