Shannon Courtenay has achieved her goal of becoming a professional boxer - and now has her sights set on becoming a world champion.

The Abbots Langley-born pugilist was granted her pro licence earlier this week and was delighted to finally let the cat out of the bag, with some of her fans thinking her recent lack of activity was a sign that maybe she had thrown the towel in on her career.

She said: “A lot of people were actually wondering if I had given up boxing cause I hadn’t boxed since April.

“I knew something big was coming but I couldn’t tell anyone, I just kept it quiet and kept a low profile. People know what I have been up to now. I was just buzzing that I could finally tell people.”

Turning professional had always been the plan for Courtenay, who has since managed to give up her job as a chef to focus all her energy on the sport.

Since then, she says she has felt a massive improvement in her training despite it now being much more demanding.

She said: “I handed my notice in at work in September, that’s when I knew we were going to turn pro. It was literally the best feeling in the world. If you do something you love, you never work a day in your life.

“Now I’ve got some great local companies, FMS Recovery, Eason Group and Toureen Group sponsoring me, so all I do now is train. I’m not as tired any more, even though training is harder than anything I’ve ever done, my body physically is changing a lot.

“It’s long hours and it’s tiring and my body’s in pieces, but it doesn’t feel like work to me because I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

For Courtenay the hard work will have to continue as she pushes for her dream of becoming world champion. However, she believes she has the skill and determination to get there, as well as the right people around her.

She said: “When any boxer puts on a pair of gloves, they want to become world champion. That’s any boxer’s dream and that is my dream and I do genuinely believe I am going to be a world champion.

“I’ve got the work ethic, I’ve got the determination and I’ve got the right team around me.

“I’m training with Adam Booth and Charlie Beatt now and they’re both incredible coaches. Adam’s got a fantastic track record of numerous world champions like David Haye and George Groves. He’s trained the best.

“I’m surrounded by the best and success breeds success. With Charlie and Adam in my corner, I couldn’t be in better hands if I tried to be.”

With the current men’s WBA, IBF and IBO world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua coming from just around the corner in Watford, Courtenay has seen the type of support he has received from his hometown.

As she begins to make waves in the ring herself, she hopes the town will get behind her in the same way.

She said: “I’ve known Joshua for quite a few years now and it definitely makes you feel like anything’s possible.

“The great thing about it is you see how much Watford has got behind him. I really hope they can do the same with me. If I can get even half the support he’s got it will only propel me to bigger things.

“I hope that I can make some noise and I’m looking to make a big name for myself in women’s boxing.”