Boxer Alexis Pritchard is hoping some knockout poses for a series of artistic portraits will help bankroll her decision to get back in the ring .

The 34-year-old, who was the first Kiwi woman to win an Olympic bout in 2012, is making a comeback and hopes to compete at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year after initially hanging up her gloves in 2016.


But funding constraints for the sport in New Zealand has left Pritchard trying to raise up to $20,000 to help fund her return including travel to competitions, such as a fight in Texas in January, and any preparation for the games - if she is selected.

Boxer Alexis Pritchard is making a comeback and hopes to be selected for the Commonwealth Games. Photo/Brett Phibbs
Boxer Alexis Pritchard is making a comeback and hopes to be selected for the Commonwealth Games. Photo/Brett Phibbs

"The funding and the money thing has always been my biggest worry and also the thing that gets me down the most," said Pritchard.

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"Not being funded and working your a*** off equally [as much as those in a] sport that does get funding sometimes makes you upset and frustrated.

"On the other side I make it fuel me. It makes me more resilient, it makes me want it more…so there's the good and the hard."

With Pritchard set to begin competing, and training about 10 times a week in the new year with her husband and coach Cameron Todd, the couple would need all the financial help they could get as they take time off work.

The photos will be sold and displayed at a gallery that Pritchard is currently working to secure. Photo/Marcos Steagall
The photos will be sold and displayed at a gallery that Pritchard is currently working to secure. Photo/Marcos Steagall

And, Pritchard has shown she will do almost anything to raise the funds, including stripping down for a series of photos that will be sold.

"This photo project is definitely a very different, unique fundraising idea that initially I thought was quite crazy but we're trying to push the envelope," she said.

"And it's not only about me as a boxer, it's about the strength of women."

The idea for the photoshoot came from a member of the Auckland gym that Pritchard and Todd run.

"He sent me this picture of this man not wearing any clothes holding this ball – quite like a Greek [God]. I looked at it and I thought 'this is pretty out there'," she said.

Pritchard was left wondering whether she wanted the whole world to see her naked body and if anyone would actually buy the photos.

"But then I was like let's run with it, what's the worst that can happen? That no one buys the photo?" Pritchard said.

"I'm very happy with the photos. They show a strong athletic woman. There is strength and there is also vulnerability in all the shots."

Originally a 57kg boxer, Pritchard had to pack on the pounds to compete in the 60kg division at the 2012 London Olympics because her weight class wasn't included. She continued to fight up a division after the games.

Pritchard hoped to return to the Olympics in Rio last year, however a points loss to Yana Alekseevna, of Azerbaijan, in the world championships in Kazakhstan in May 2016, saw her miss out.

She retired soon after.

"My first thought was 'that was one of the best fights I have had in my life'…for the first time I could say 'Lex you're good enough…you're actually really good at boxing," she said.

But she decided to don the gloves again after finding out her preferred 57kg weight class would be included on the 2018 Commonwealth Games programme, where she hoped to compete.

"If they had not had the 57kg [weight division] I'm actually certain that I wouldn't have made the effort to come back," she said.

Pritchard also wanted to see how she would perform in the ring now she has a "solid belief" in herself.

She said preparing to fight again seemed like a mammoth task when she started training in January 2017.

"In the first couple of weeks of training I was like 'why are you doing this to yourself again?' It took quite a few months to get back into the swing of the training, the eating, the sleeping, and all those tiny commitments that you make.

"And then one sparring session I was like 'okay I'm back'.' I just felt it; I felt the rhythm come back."

Pritchard hoped that if she made it to the Commonwealth Games her potential success and that of other New Zealand boxers at the event, would help secure more funding for the next generation of Kiwis entering the sport.

Pritchard and her team are working towards securing a gallery which will display and sell the images. Other fundraising ideas include a possible dinner and movie night.