Boxer Emily Sackett profile story and photos

Shelburne teenager has quickly proven her talent in ring

By Mark Gould

Emily Sackett boxing with coach Robert Baker.

Fourteen-year-old Emily Sackett works with All American Fitness & Tanning boxing coach Robert Baker. (Mark Gould, Free Press)

Story and photo gallery published Oct. 4, 2007 in the Burlington Free Press.

Emily Sackett’s black high-top sneakers bounce lightly across a glossy wooden floor as she approaches her target.

She holds her hands high, her boxing gloves obscuring the Shelburne baseball logo on her red T-shirt. After measuring the ever-changing angle of attack, she explodes forward, unloading a barrage of jabs on the punching bag. In the far corner of the mirrored boxing room, an industrial-sized steel fan blares loudly, but it hardly muffles the continuous thuds.

Fourteen-year-old Emily Sackett has boxed for only 10 weeks, but her tenacity and work ethic have earned her respect from coaches, fear from other fighters and concern from her mother.

“The other girls who train here, they’re afraid of her,” All American Fitness & Tanning boxing coach Robert Baker said. “She’ll be a star for sure.”

Perhaps that fear came after they witnessed Sackett’s first fight in which she landed an overhand right that knocked her opponent out in the second round.

“I just kept hitting her with my right hand over and over until she finally was walking around with her hands down, not knowing what was going on,” Sackett said. “She just put her hands down — and boom! — and her head would fly back and then everybody would go crazy, and I would do it again.”

“She has a killer instinct in her that’s kind of hard to believe,” father Jim Sackett said.

In her second exhibition bout, Sackett faced a taller girl with a reach advantage but said she outlasted her opponent to win by decision.

Asked to describe her fighting style, the Shelburne native said without hesitation: “Aggressive. If they’re punching, I don’t really back away. I stay in there and keep trying to hit them as hard as I can.”

Her mother, Mary Sackett, is a fan of boxing, but as a former nurse, she squirms nervously when watching her daughter compete.

“When she’s punching, it’s fine, but seeing your daughter take a couple of shots to the head, that’s kind of scary,” Mary Sackett said, “but she’s never gone down.”