Shannon Courtenay has described herself as an "animal" in the ring ahead of her third professional fight next Friday.

The 'Baby Face Assassin' will take on a yet-to-be-named opponent at York Hall as she looks to continue her development since turning pro last year.

Courtenay has two wins from two fights and believes she is changing perceptions of women's boxing every time she steps in the ring.

"I'm extremely girly and you would never believe that I box because I'm everything that you wouldn't expect a boxer to look like," she said.

"But the minute that my gumshield goes in, I'm an absolute animal when it comes time to fight.

"I look like a woman outside the ring, but I fight like a man and that's changed a lot of people's opinions.

"Before my debut, a lot of people saw what I looked like and thought I couldn't box, so it's good to change people's minds. My main objective, other than winning and winning titles is to start breaking stereotypes."

The super bantamweight is part of a swathe of female boxers currently demonstrating why boxing is not just a man's sport.

Recently, Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon produced one of the most convincing arguments in favour of women's boxing when they clashed in a close-run scrap on the undercard of Joshua vs Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York, and Courtenay is pleased to be part of the same set of fighters changing public opinion.

"I definitely feel like I'm part of the movement that's changing women's boxing," she said.

"Obviously Katie Taylor's led the way, that fight was incredible and it just shows again that even on a massive stage like that, where everyone's only really there to watch Anthony Joshua, she stole the show yet again. That fight showed that we can compete at that level and it did wonders for women's boxing.

"If I'm honest, I don't believe Taylor won the fight, but the rematch is a fight I definitely want to see and I think we need to see.

"I think we're still quite far away from a woman headlining a massive, massive show, which is a shame because we're just as exciting, sometimes even more exciting, than men."

Changing perceptions has come at a cost to Courtenay, who has not had time to rest since turning professional last September.

After two fights just two weeks apart, shortly followed by the third next week, the 25-year-old admits she has been putting her body "through hell" in order to compete.

However, a flurry of messages from people who have taken inspiration from her journey from a heavy drinker who was once told she was "fat and smelled of cigarettes" to a professional athlete, ensures she maintains the desire to keep working hard to achieve her goals.

"My body's kind of sore now, I've been in camp since September, so I need a rest," said Courtenay.

"I've been training and putting my body through hell, but after I'll get to give my body a rest and my mind a rest, which I'm looking forward to more than anything.

"This is probably the best I've felt going into a fight where everything's coming together, sparring's going great and I've kind of got used to the cameras and everything else and I'm excited for my next fight.

"I get thousands and thousands of messages from people saying how my story's either changed them or inspired their daughter or their son or their wife and it makes such a difference to me.

"Just to know I've helped even one person would tell me I'm doing the right thing, but apparently I've helped a lot of people, which is just amazing.

"It pushes me further knowing that I've got great backing, great support, it makes me want to achieve even more."

Further support for Courtenay comes from Watford, where she is just one of several boxers to be representing the town.

Also fighting in York Hall next week will be Reece Bellotti, who also comes from the area, while heavyweight superstar Anthony Joshua is one of the town's most famous athletes.

"There must be something in the Water in Watford," said Courtenay.

"Watford just seems to be creating some pretty decent boxers at the moment, which is nice to see.

"It's great to be a part of it and to get Watford out there for sporting achievements. Obviously the football team had a great season this year and as a sporting town we seem to be doing really well at the minute so I feel really blessed to be part of that.

"Watford has the most amazing passionate fans, you saw that against City even though they were 6-0 down they were still cheering and when I fight in arenas, even in these massive arenas, my fans seem to take over, they're so loud, so I dread to think how loud they're going to be at York Hall."