BOXER Bec Connolly will be mentally and emotionally stronger when she returns to the ring in April, according to her trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick.

The 35-year-old suffered the seventh defeat of her career last time out, as she lost to Rachel Ball in a final eliminator for the Commonwealth title in November.

However, Connolly is set to step back into the ring on Neilson Boxing’s Fight Town IV show on Saturday 18th April, as she looks to claim the fourth win since turning professional.

Reflecting on her last outing, Fitzpatrick says it is important Connolly’s progress isn’t rushed, but admits he does think she will have benefitted mentally from facing Ball.

“Now what we have to do is get back into a position where we can be in those kind of fights again, the good thing with the girls is you don’t need as many wins behind you because there is a shortage,” he said.

“At the championship level, the women are really good and I think she now realises she isn’t far behind them.

“Mentally I think she will be different going into the next fight and I think emotionally she will be different for the next one too.

“For us it’s not a case of getting her back in as quickly as possible, we have to be strategic with what we are doing.”

Despite having just one win in her last four contests, Fitzpatrick believes there are plenty of positives to take from her last fight.

After already mixing with Terri Harper, Natasha Jonas and Ball, the Ferndale-Road based trainer says Connolly is more than capable of competing at their level.

“The disappointment with Bec form her last fight is that she didn’t get the verdict in her last fight,” he added.

“That doesn’t mean we think we were robbed, but I think we could have just as easily got that decision.

“Towards the end of the fight I was thinking it would be a tough one to call and thought the result would just come down to what the referee likes.

“Connolly was upset and I don’t think she needs a confidence builder as a fight, if anything I think she took confidence from that fight.

“She didn’t let herself down in that fight at all. She went 10 rounds with a girl who has good experience and she’ll go on from there and get better.”