Last Updated: 06/07/19 10:17am
After Wales failed to qualify for the Netball World Cup, Kyra Jones opted to take up boxing instead of taking the summer off.
Jones, who retired from netball at the end of this year’s Vitality Superleague season, would have had a Liverpool swansong this month but for losses to Northern Ireland and Scotland in qualifying at the beginning of last year.
The former centre says it stings to not be at the event, but believes her nation will benefit from a chance to rebuild.
“It still hurts today, knowing that we didn’t perform in January last year,” Jones told Sky Sports. “It’s disappointing.
“I think this is the first time in eight years – even a bit longer if I remember rightly – that Wales haven’t actually gone to a World Cup.
“I guess it’s probably a blessing in disguise, things may change now. It gives Wales a four-year gap to build.”
Jones says it was purely by luck that she was led to the boxing ring after having no netball to play over the summer.
“I got a text message to say ‘I hear you’re taking part in a white-collar boxing night?’, I was like ‘Pardon? I have no idea what that is… but maybe!’
The 33-year went for a sparring session to try her hand, and says she was hooked from the start.
“It’s a good feeling, I can understand why some people enjoy it. I’m really enjoying the training that I’m doing.
“I love hitting the pads, I love hitting all the combinations and getting them right and then you hear that sweet boom!”
Jones says a lot of what boxers do in training can benefit all netball players.
“Literally all you do is you do your footwork, your skipping, and obviously that then relates to the footwork on the netball court.
“The fitness side of it – boxers are absolutely fit, and you’ve got to be fit to play netball. So all of those elements massively correspond.”
Watch every match of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup live on Sky Sports – coverage starts on Friday, July 12. Plus keep up to date with all of the latest competition news, results and enjoy in-depth features at SkySports.com/netball