Same-sex couple making history in first all-female UK boxing event: ‘It’s pretty special’

Lauren Price MBE and Karriss Artingstall

Some couples are used to doing everything together. But when you’re a professional boxer – and your girlfriend is too – that includes gruelling training sessions in the ring.

Lauren Price MBE and Karriss Artingstall spar together and Karriss admits the sporting couple “don’t hold back”.

“We literally just go at each other just as professionals when we’re sparring,” she tells PinkNews.

“We’re there to try and improve each other, we get out the ring and we laugh and smile about it.”

Lauren adds: “We punch the s**t out of each other then we get out and we’re all lovely dovey.

“It’s pretty special, training with your best friend. We both bounce off each other.”

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Lauren Price punches Valgerdur Gudstensdottir
Lauren Price (r) punches opponent Valgerdur Gudstensdottir. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

This weekend, Karriss and Lauren will put that training to practice in the first-ever all-female boxing card to be televised in Britain, which will see the couple become “part of history”.

On Saturday, 15 October both Olympians will compete for world titles on the Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall bill live on Sky Sports, having previously won Olympic medals together in Tokyo last year.

And as well as making history for women, the pair have also been proudly representing LGBTQ+ women in sport with their ongoing success, as an out and open couple in the boxing world.

‘Stigma surrounding men’

Karriss Artingstall
Women’s Feather (52-57kg) bronze medalist Karriss Artingstall of Team Great Britain. (Photo by Luis Robayo – Pool/Getty Images)

Karriss Artingstall, who came out at 18, recognises LGBTQ+ people are more visible in women’s sport than in men’s. She say there continues to be a “stigma” surrounding men which makes them struggle to open up.

“I think we’re just more comfortable talking about how we feel and as more females have come out it’s easier for us step up and be open,” she says.

“There’s this whole stigma surrounding men of like, men can’t open up and men aren’t allowed to talk about who they are, or what their emotions or feelings are, which is obviously a load of rubbish,” she adds.

Lauren Price says she’s been supported since she first came out, to her nan and grandad, whose acceptance quashed any fears she had about telling them.

“When they found out their words to me were ‘you’re still Lauren and we love you no matter what’ that was a big thing for me,” the 28-year-old says.

Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall
Lauren Price (l) and Karriss Artingstall at GQ Men of the Year 2021. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Jaguar)

Boxing fans are ‘fully supportive’

Years later and Lauren feels comforted to find the boxing world hasn’t treated her, as a queer person, any differently to anyone else.

But the key to seeing more men come out in sport, Karriss believes, is for those who are queer to speak openly.

She referenced Tom Daley as a “big help and a head in the right direction for males”, while Lauren says Gareth Thomas coming out really “stood out” to her.

The pair, who have been together for three years, say they often get attention from LGBTQ+ people and couples who feel inspired by them.

Although they get the odd negative remark from social media trolls, most of the interaction they receive is “fully supportive and positive”, Karriss says.

Lauren Price
Lauren Price was inducted into the Caerphilly Hall of fame on September 03, 2021 in Ystrad Mynach, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

Lauren – who won a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – and Karriss – who picked up a bronze – both agreed their success at the games has been the highlight of their careers so far, with Lauren saying to win the medals together was a “pretty special” experience.

During their time together the couple have turned professional in boxing, travelled the world, won Olympic medals and even purchased their first home.

Karriss says she’s so grateful to travel with Lauren by her side as most professional athletes are forced to travel long periods without their family.

‘We’re both more than ready’

Lauren Price MBE (r) and Karriss Artingstall
Lauren Price MBE (r)and Karriss Artingstall have been together for three years. (BOXXER/Lawrence Lustig)

This weekend, Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall will fight alongside each other on the same card – something they never thought would happen.

Karriss will be up first to fight Marina Sakharov and when she’s done, she’ll be watching her partner’s bout.

“I know how good she is. I’ll be a little bit nervous for her but I know she’s more than capable of getting in there and putting on a cracking performance,” Karriss says.

Lauren will go against Timea Belik and she confesses the pair never thought they would box on the same card due to “nerves” and “stress”, but when this opportunity was presented, it was a “no brainer”.

“It great we can both experience a great night and be part of history,” Karriss  says.

“I’ll support her even if it’s backstage, but I don’t think anything will top the nerves of the qualifies in the Olympics.

“We’re both more than ready, we went to the Olympics together and that’s the pinnacle of sport, so if we can get through that together we can get through anything sport-wise.”