A NORTH-EAST fighter will make history when she takes to the ring at London's Docklands.

Light welterweight Amanda Coulson, 22, from Hartlepool, will join the English Amateur Boxing Association's (EABA) finals next week.

The sport is enjoying a higher profile after the release of the film Million Dollar Baby, featuring a female boxer. For the first time in the EABA's 116-year history, female boxers will share the bill with England's finest male fighters.

Miss Coulson, who has won the majority of her bouts, will face Ireland's Alana Murphy on Friday, March 18.

She said: "It is a great honour and it will give women's boxing the recognition it deserves. With new funding, the film Million Dollar Baby and my fight, it is a great time for female boxing."

Chairman of selectors Keith Walters said: "We have had hundreds of calls about women's boxing because of Million Dollar Baby, and so we want to show that women's boxing is very much an emerging part of what we do."