Ipswich boxing mum honours dad during fight of her life
EMOTION-charged Ipswich boxing mum Jessica Cashman will carry additional family strength into the ring when she makes her professional debut on next week's Jeff Horn-Tim Tszyu undercard.
Cashman, 35, will wear the walkout jacket of her late dad Tim before fighting NSW opponent Linn Sandstrom in the flyweight bout in Townsville.
Being on the same card as Horn and Tszyu is a massive opportunity for the Karana Downs mother of two sons.
However, she also wants to continue paying tribute to her dad who died in 2018 after 26 years service in the airforce.
"I was daddy's little girl and he was my best friend,'' Cashman said holding back the tears.
"The only thing you can do when they are gone is to just live in their honour.''
Hearing the sadness in her trembling voice showed how much Tim meant and how she treasures his long-time support.
"Dad died from cancer and kind of smashed my world,'' she said.
"I want to make him proud.''
Losing Tim was part of challenging period for Jess. She also missed out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games after years of hard work and lost her grandmother.
"It's been pretty full-on,'' she said.
During her personal setbacks since the 2017 Commonwealth Games trials, Cashman has only had two fights ending her six-year amateur career.
However, since those bouts at the state titles and Golden Gloves tournament, she has refocused on her goals.
She has also been coaching at the Boxing Shop in Salisbury and helping the national team in overseas tournaments.
"Last year, I represented Australia as an assistant Australian coach in New Zealand,'' she said.
"I'm part of the National Futures Program with some things they've been running as well so I really just stepped into that.
"I've always still trained and wanted to fight because, being competitive, there is nothing that comes close to actually stepping in the ring.''
She had just finished her latest run before sharing her incredible tenacity.
As for her first-time opponent over four rounds on Wednesday afternoon, Cashman was giving Sandstrom plenty of respect.
"I really don't know too much about her,'' Cashman said, preparing to head to Townsville on Monday morning.
"Just that's she's really fit. She's been fighting for about four years.''
Cashman hopes her individual work twice a day and technical training with QAS coach Shara Romer gives her the edge.
"I'm feeling really good,'' she said, eager to enjoy next week's exposure.
"It's a dream to have my pro debut to be on a card like that, especially at a time like this.''
She's currently 52.5kg, needing to trim down to 51kg for Tuesday's weigh-in.
With sons aged 11 and eight, Cashman has plenty to keep her grounded living in the Ipswich area.
"It's where my heart is,'' she said.
"I can have this enormous opportunity come up and then go and just be a mum and everything's normal.''