Jen Royle: I Became a Boxer in 120 Days

Royle is a sports reporter and private chef who has both won an Emmy and was a finalist on The Taste. —Chris Randa


Photograph by Trevor Reid

Jen Royle

Age: 41
Occupation: Sports reporter. Private chef with Dare to Taste.
Passion: Amateur boxing.
It Helps That…: She won an Emmy and was a finalist on The Taste. Competition is nothing new.
The Goal: Charity.

• • •

Jen Royle’s dad died of lung cancer and her grandmother died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When she watched an amateur boxing match held by Haymakers for Hope, a nonprofit that raises money for cancer research, she knew she had to sign up. Just one catch: She’d never boxed before. Oh, and she had just four months to train.

Through friend (and former Bruin) Shawn Thornton, she met her trainer, Tommy McInerney, who’d trained boxers for Haymakers. Royle was his first female student.

Before Haymakers, Royle hit the gym for light maintenance workouts, but she never broke a sweat. Her back was soft. Her arms? Flabby. “Day one of training, my left jab was like spaghetti,” she says.

Training was brutal. “At the time, I was sparring against skilled female boxers who were kicking the crap out of me, but it made me better, tougher, more confident,” she says. “There were days I left the ring in tears, threatening to quit, but I never gave up. If I’m going to do something, I fucking do it.”

Eventually, Royle got stronger and faster. She was jumping rope for more than three minutes, effortlessly. By the end of training, her left jab was her best punch.

Fight night arrived in early October. She landed solid punches and moved like she’d been boxing for years, but in the end, her opponent got the win. Royle was disappointed, but that wasn’t really the point: She’d raised nearly $8,000.

“I’m a different person now, physically and mentally,” Royle says. “I know I can do more than I ever could. I doubt myself less. I’ve never felt better.”

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