EPISODE: Episode 11
Charlie Cavanagh | The Female Fist | Talkin Fight
First Women in Canada to win a youth world title. In 2018 she was Youth World Champion at 69kg.
Scarlett and Charlie spoke about all the challenges she experienced as a young girl fast-forwarding to a world champion stage so fast and also fighting Olympian Mary Spencer.
Watch more on YouTube at or talkinfight.com/live
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World champion, so please everybody welcome charlie cavanaugh, how you doing charlie hi.
Thank you so much for having me.
Oh thank you for being on the show so charlie, and i were just saying right now that um you know she was 18 years old when she won the youths women’s world title, and i thought that, like that was just so fascinating.
I thought that was just absolutely incredible, so now you’re turning well, if that was in 2018 you’re gon na be 21 this year, yeah, my goodness, so you know going into.
Actually, i want to just completely rewind this, and i want to make a note to her audience that she is the first female canadian to win in the youth world division in the 69 kilo division.
The world title.
I just want to really make that emphasized.
So, charlie 18 years old, you won the world title.
When did you begin this journey? For yourself yeah? It was actually a really fast journey um.
So before boxing i i was in judo, i started very young.
I think i was five or six years old.
My parents were very strict on wanting me to have discipline all those things and uh.
I honestly wasn’t very interested in the sport um.
I didn’t really like it.
I competed a little bit, but it wasn’t my thing and then i had a friend who was in boxing and we kind of made a pact.
I was like you, you come try judo for a night i’ll come try boxing um and she never made it to the to the judo club.
But i uh went to the boxing club and i really liked it and uh my dad used to coach boxing at that same club.
So then he started going back and we started going together and it kind of became like a thing that we did together.
So that was really cool.
That’S amazing! So you were how old were you when you first stepped into the boxing gym? So i would have been in middle school, i want to say like 12 or 13.
and then i had my first fight in 2015.
I was 14 at the time.
So, in the span of four years i went from having my first fight to being at the world championships with people with 100 plus fights it was.
It was absolutely insane what an exhilarating feeling did.
You feel, like you know, when you qualified to go to world championships.
What kind of celebration was that for you yeah? I mean it all kind of happened so fast and i just kept rolling with it like, as i started, to like get to compete with the upper level names and like even go to the extent of competing outside of my youth division.
Competing with like some of the older ladies and i realized like it, was a possibility, and then i just kind of kept with it and yeah.
It just happened.
That’S amazing! Your parents must be so proud of you yeah.
My dad loves it because, like like i said he was, he was boxing coach, so yeah he loves it.
Did he ever like? Have that idea, but prior to you wanting to go to the gym like? Did he ever think that, one day since he owned or sorry since he coached at it before like? Did he ever think that you were gon na one day step in there and just take up boxing? I don’t know, i don’t think so, because when i was younger, he like, i would have been like maybe five or six he used to go to the boxing club and obviously i was never there with him, but i think he was very happy that it happened.
But definitely unexpected for sure, and it’s funny how your parents put you in judo as opposed to taekwondo, because most parents, the taekwondo, was like the go-to for yeah, whatever that’s pretty cool, that’s very unique yeah and then, like you, get the whole, oh, like the judo And so you have like a lot of people.
Ask me if i want to do the mma side of things and that wasn’t really my route either.
I kind of just wanted to go straight with the boxing and and i’m really happy that i have yeah.
Well, i’m of course you are they’re world types certainly paid off and i can totally empathize with you.
I have a um in case you didn’t know.
I had a olympic amateur wrestling background as well like the freestyle and oh wow.
We had the same conversations.
Everybody was like: do you want to take that route of mma, and you know what boxing just really holds that place in that heart, where it’s like? No, i’m not ready to give that up.
Yet i’m not yeah.
It’S like once you get bit by the boxing bug: it’s for life, yeah, absolutely okay! So what was your prep like leading up to this world title yeah, leading up to the world championships? So um? As you know, my coach is joe blanchard um.
He he and i work together a lot and i’m from st john new brunswick, not a big boxing place.
New brunswick has like a few athletes that go to nationals every year.
But aside from that, we’re we’re really like the underdog province there, yeah yeah um, so yeah joe, and i really really worked together.
Um worked around his work schedule because he’s a volunteer coach worked around my school schedule, i’m a student athlete um and it was a really hectic time in my life because i just graduated high school, i was going into university like it was.
Everything was changing.
Of course and yeah, so we we kind of spent the summer preparing.
It was nice that it was in the summer.
I got to go to the continental championships there in uh in may, and unfortunately that was in colorado springs.
Unfortunately, i i came second there.
I got a silver medal um and i was hoping to meet that girl again at worlds, but i believe she had a family incident or something she wasn’t able to make it.
And then, in the summer i traveled a little bit to we went to ireland for the eden dairy torn uh.
Oh yes, training, camp, yep and then from there went to montreal and got some like good uh sparring camping with mary spencer.
Funny enough, because i ended up fighting her later and then and then from there we went over to hungary for the tournament just busy busy busy busy busy just yeah catapulting four.
It’S like okay graduate in high school all right.
Let’S go to the continentals all right.
Let’S go to this tournament: let’s go to the edinbury uh whole training camp.
Okay, now you’re gon na find an olympian.
You know yeah that must have been really um.
Did you have a? Did? You have time like when you reflect back? Do you have time to process all of it? No like looking back on it.
It was such an eventful summer like an eventful year, but more so just an eventful even few months and uh yeah, like i didn’t even have time.
I remember going to the training camp and then flying home.
I was home for like two days i did like i repacked.
Some stuff did some laundry and then i was off to montreal and then i was off to budapest for like three weeks.
So it was really it was the first time i’d been been away from home that much so it was a lot of like homesick missing, like the friends and family and stuff, but like obviously so happy about it at the same time, and how strict was your Coach with you with like well i mean did he have to be? How would you like describe yourself when it comes to staying disciplined, staying, focused and kind of the you know what i mean yeah, so i would say that i um my coach and i worked very well together because i am pretty disciplined um.
I don’t walk around much heavier than my fight weight to begin with, i fight at 69 kilos, so 152 pounds and i normally walk around 155 ish.
So i’m not like a big cutter or anything.
So my diet’s, pretty good um exercise, has always been like a like a good stress reliever for me with my academics.
So, like that’s been fine, so yeah, he didn’t have to be too too hard on me.
Just always reassuring me, always motivating me.
Keeping me focused up here was the big thing but yeah well, that must have been very.
How would i say very relieving for him.
You know when you have like a young teenage girl.
Sometimes it’s kind of unpredictable okay how’s.
She gon na handle doing something like this, that not every teenage girl is doing.
You know, for example, i’m assuming, because you know you are the first in canada to do something that you did.
I’M assuming that not many of your other friends around your age group are taking on these kinds of opportunities and taking on these kinds of accomplishments.
Yeah, like it was definitely new for both of us because, like you say, like a lot of my friends, weren’t doing the same sort of thing and i had to try to balance that with a social life um.
And i think my social life definitely was compromised.
A little bit, but for good reason, i was prioritizing what was important for me.
Um and my coach too, like saint john golden gloves.
Um is one of the oldest boxing clubs in in the country and um, but we don’t have a lot of female fighters and i was really the first female fighter out of st john golden gloves to make it to that international stage and um.
So it was new for my coach to be coaching a female athlete a lot different, obviously – and it was also just new for him to be coaching, someone at the level that i had gotten to male or female, so it was really like just a journey for The both of us together and it was it was fantastic, so it must have been just like a real like well, like you said, a journey for both of you.
What an experience – and i guess it was very left field like i’m sure he never expected.
You walk in and boom went like just a few short years, you’re off to world championships.
Yeah i mean that’s one thing i’ll say about my coach joe.
He always he always believed in me.
From the start, i mean when i went to nationals for the first time.
I’D only had like three or four fights i got upgraded earlier and, like i said it was very like i was pushing out of my weight class.
I was always fighting people who were above and better than me, but i really think that’s what that’s what made me get good so fast, absolutely absolutely because to be the best you got ta fight with the best you got ta train with the best you got.
Ta always kind of put yourself in situations with people that have a little bit more experience than you, you’re, not gon na gain much from people that what that’s not true, you always gain something working with anybody at any level.
But if you really want to push yourself and get yourself to that next level for sure you have to always make sure that there’s challenges ahead of you with every single opportunity that you can and that’s amazing, that you’re experiencing these kinds of opportunities at such a Young age, like i am so happy for you, oh thank you, oh i really am.
This is amazing, so you know a new brunswick.
As you said, it’s not very populated with that many boxers overall men are female.
You know i’m from ontario, so we have ontario and quebec have the most, i would say, going to nationals.
So i understand what you’re saying when you know you’re coming in as a pure underdog and going in your first nationals.
What was your first nationals like yeah? Absolutely so, like i said um, we don’t have many boxers here in new brunswick and we don’t even have a provincials.
We just go straight to nationals um because there would be no one for me to fight to make it to pro like to nationals from provincial.
So it’s kind of just you have fights um, the coach being joe at the time and still um.
He will like assess your performance and then basically decide if he’s going to take you um, and he took he decided to take me back in 2016, was my first nationals and yeah in 2016.
That was only two years before the world championships.
So i went and i was a junior at the time and i fought alberta.
I can’t remember the name of the girl i fought, but i fought a girl from alberta.
She was she’s, really tall, um, really strong, and i really just focused on like slipping and hitting like the very basics that i was learning, um and yeah, so that i won my first national title.
There was only one other girl in my weight class um and then after that uh we decided to try to get a makeup boat.
While we were there, because we came all the way from brunswick to quebec um, we ended up fighting the champ at the youth division, so we just went up a weight, division and uh.
We had a really good fight uh.
It was a strong performance, but uh that was my first loss.
Well, i went to nationals one and then lost hey.
I mean whatever.
How many fights did you have at that point again? I think i would have had five at that point.
Yeah just leave that alone because you yeah feedback anyways yeah, so i took that i took that loss um and it took it hard because, like i said like up until that point, i had just kept winning right and uh.
So i fought that girl um.
I lost and then i had my gold medal and then i came back again 2017.
I won the youth division uh by walkover.
Unfortunately, there was no one in my category, but each year we tried to get at least a fight, so that year we got a makeup fight with a girl who was 64 kilos in the elite division, okay, um, and that time i got my first stoppage.
I won the fight by tko in the second round: fantastic yeah at national level, yeah a national level, and still at that point it was so hard to get fights, because i wasn’t really traveling a lot internationally.
Yet i’d only been, i believe in 2016 i went to puerto rico.
I went to sweden, but i was still just getting started on that national international scene um.
So, even up at my second nationals, i probably only had around like 10 to 12 fights wow, but still like do you remember which girl that was in 64 kilos? I believe her name was sarah, but i don’t know her last name it wasn’t.
Sarah kelly, it was like sarah couliard, i think, but i don’t quote me on that there: no, no because they’re coolier, i know sarah coolier.
She usually fights at my division 54.
and that’s okay, so it wouldn’t have been her um yeah.
A lot of the girls that i was fighting back back in um, like 2016 2017, aren’t fighting anymore, because i know the girl that i fought at my first nationals.
She she isn’t competing anymore, i believe she’s, coaching and um.
I haven’t seen the girl that i fought in 2017 since so yeah.
Okay, well to be continued.
Yeah wow that so that was your first few national experiences.
Can you walk us through the whole journey going into world championships what it was like once you qualified what it was like getting ready for it, what you did when you actually got there etc yeah.
So, like i said like the preparation was, was pretty intensive um.
I was trying to get experience with as many many experienced girls that i could so joe and i were constantly traveling trying to find fights um and i actually went to the balkan tournament in um in hungary.
I can’t remember where exactly it was, but it was.
It was overseas and i went there in 2017 with the elite team um.
So i would have been a youth and i fought there and i fought a girl from poland and she completely whooped me like.
It was the worst performance of my life, um and yeah so that it was my first time fighting without my coach because, like i said i was with team canada at that time, and so that was a hard pill to swallow.
Um, you know fighting with a with a different coach in your corner, as you know, is probably just it’s just so different um.
So i came back from that and funny enough when i ended up at the world championships.
My first match up was with the same girl – oh really yeah.
So honestly, i kind of thought that i had myself defeated before i even got in the ring, because i was like oh my gosh, not this girl again like she.
She kicked me like.
It was not good, she woked me, so i was really nervous going into it and then we were all backstage before the fight and i saw her warming up and i was i was scared.
I was like so scared and i was like well it’s now or never like it’s gon na happen and you’ve you’ve done growing since then, like you can do this um.
It had been just over just less than a year since i’d last fought her and i’d had some more experience with the team and traveling and and that sort of thing.
So i like put on my like face – and everyone says to me like when i was coming out at worlds, that i looked so like confident and i was like me and mugging and i was so scared, the first fight.
So we came out and got in the ring and she was like staring me down.
I was staring her down.
I was like yep, this is it so we went.
We started fighting and – and i realized like – oh i’m, like keeping her off with my jab.
Like my body, shots were landing like everything was just coming together, so perfectly and um obviously pardon got into that zone yeah.
Definitely and like the confidence just kept growing from there um and at the end of the fight when i, when i won that fight.
I remember thinking to myself like if i can be her, i can be.
Anybody like the first fight was so daunting, but after that i was like i got this like here on out.
Let’S like bring it basically and then after that i thought so i got to buy the first round.
I forgot to mention that um, so i got to buy, then i fought poland in the quarterfinals and then in the semifinals.
I thought england and funny enough at the eden dairy training camp, which would have been like three weeks before i went to worlds like it was.
It was recent um and i got to spar with england.
While i was there there’s a lot of the girls that were going to the to the world championships were at that training camp, so i’d gotten a spa with her, so i knew kind of her style and what i wanted to do against her.
So that fight was that fight was fun like you know, like i know what i’m walking into yeah like it was kind of like i had almost gotten the free trial at the training camp, and then i i got to really think about what her strengths and Weaknesses were like what i wanted to do to really put on a show, but like showcase, what i was good at so i like.
I look back at pictures from that fight and i i can see that because um one thing that i don’t um, i’m not typically known for, is i don’t throw a lot of uppercuts.
I throw like a lot of hooks to the body i keep like.
I have long punches because i’m tall, i throw like my straight punches, but uppercuts just were never like one of the things that i threw a lot of, and there was like a couple pictures of me throwing like really good uppercuts in there because she was.
She was a lot shorter than me and she came in with her head right in front of her, so it was nice to be able to like try some newer things out for me because, like i said i was still relatively inexperienced, i probably had 20 less Than 25 fights going into worlds, world championships yeah, and you had that confidence where i’m going to try something new like yeah that’d, be fine.
I was like.
Let me just try this out: [ __ ].
Oh, look, it’s lit and continued.
It was yeah.
It was honestly really crazy because i never really thought about it.
Um up until i was getting ready for the semi-finals and they were talking about how many fights the girls had and one of the girls.
I don’t know if it was a girl.
I fought in the finals or the semi-finals, but she had over 100 fights and i had like 20 some and i was like holy crap yeah.
Europe’S got a lot of female boxers and they can so easily travel back and forth to their countries and just get the fights up.
I know that one thing about the european girls they’re constantly fighting like almost every weekend, constantly fighting it at a high level too, because they’re all they’re, all there they’re all so close to each other.
Like you said you, they can just travel back and forth.
So that’s definitely an advantage for them getting that experience, but i was thinking about it and um the love, the amount of high level sparring that i got, i think really made up for the lack of fights that i had um.
I sparred a lot with a lot of the guys on the team and and traveled a lot and although they couldn’t be fights because they were guys, i got a lot of experience from that and again training just with people who were better than myself.
So that really prepared me for for the experience that i got when i went there um and then after the semis, that was england, that i fought there and then going into the finals against russia.
Honestly, the scariest thing about russia was the fact that she was from russia like a rocky moment.
Yeah like the whole team team.
Russia was just like they had so many people in the finals.
They were so loud.
They were so scary.
There was like four of us from canada and we’re all just like sitting there like watching the fights, and you can just hear team russia like screaming, and we had when we fought.
Whenever someone from canada would fight team russia, they would like come down and sit next to us and like yell over us, they were a very intimidating team.
All right that must have been yeah.
It kind of was especially where we had such a small team.
We were like we just want to.
We want to cheer our people on come on guys, leave us alone.
Please, okay, please we’re from canada! Thank you, sorry yeah! So yeah, like i said russia was just i was.
I was scared because i was like oh team.
Russia is tough, like they’re the real deal um and i came in again like all these girls were, were quite a bit shorter than me, like.
I am 69 kilos and i’m just under 510, so quite tall for the weight category.
I don’t know how tall i am.
How tall are you like five foot, three and a half? I take a lot of pride in that half in the half yeah right there.
I think the shorter you get the more like fractions.
You go into right.
It’S like two and three quarters so yeah, okay, you’re, five, two you going yeah so so fought russia in the finals, and that was a hard fight.
She she came forward.
She was, she was tough and, like i said, i had already fought uh twice before within the past like five days, and they were.
They were high level opponents too, so it wasn’t like.
I was just like fresh ready to go um.
I remember like hurting.
Quite a bit between fights being like okay, we got ta really prioritize rehab here, because the turnover was so quick and the the opponents were so skilled that you’re not getting through a fight without getting hit.
Yep um, so yeah um, going into the finals there against russia was it was.
It was really cool and, like i said, the the fight was very tough and then at the end i almost didn’t realize what it meant like they.
They raised my hand, and i remember like for a split second.
I was like whoo like i won the fight and then like it hit me.
I was like this is not just the fight like this is the world championship and i just remember like crying and like there’s so many pictures of me like oh, what an accelerating feeling it’s almost like.
I did it.
I did wow because that’s pretty much, i mean world championship at 18 years old.
I mean that’s the money maker right there, world championship, like you’re, prepared you’re there, like you’re the elite of the elite at that moment, to take all that in.
I can’t i can’t even imagine yeah it was.
It was honestly, it was a lot because so immediately after we came out of the ring and they took me to go, get drug tested, um, and so i went and did that and funny story.
They they had.
Everyone waiting in line, and then i came in and i had to pee so bad and everyone else was like they couldn’t go pee like some people, can’t go when they’re nervous or whatever.
So i got to skip the whole line.
It was awesome.
I was like, if you don’t let me pee now, like i don’t know what to tell you.
So we did that and then we went back out for the award ceremony and it was honestly like a really special moment for me when, when we got up on the stand or i got up on the stand and uh like i said, there was only four Of us there, and unfortunately i was the only one to win um a medal and at that gold medal, so to uh to hear the canadian national anthem.
After being away for for weeks and just hearing like, like, i said, the bigger teams like russia, like hearing their national anthem over and over and over again, it was just so special to finally hear our national anthem.
Those details of just that.
Look just something like that: constantly hearing the russian anthem and then write for world champion, there goes your anthem, the canadian anthem singing for you and you’re singing, and all that pride that you’re feeling i’m assuming yeah like that was one of the most like, never been So happy to be a canadian in my entire life i was, i remember like singing it and just like like feeling so so happy, obviously, and that was uh.
That was a really special moment and then um.
It was really hard to stay focused throughout the tournament.
Like i was definitely there and focused, but, like i said some of the other team members, they they got it a little bit earlier, unfortunately um.
So then they all got to go and explore the beautiful city of budapest and and go out on like these little electric scooters and all these fun times and then they’d come back and i’d see all the pictures and be like.
Oh it’s so much fun.
Obviously i was there to win, and that was the main thing in my mind, but but after i won, i was like.
Okay, we have one more day here in budapest, like i’m gon na, go out and and see the city, and we went out on those scooters and i got to like really enjoy the scenery like budapest was so beautiful.
There was like so many castles in the rock and like very old um architecture.
It was beautiful, but when we went out um turns out there was an award ceremony the last day after everyone had already gotten their gold medals and um.
They were announcing the male and female boxer of the tournament, and i didn’t know this and i wasn’t expecting to win it, but it turns out.
I missed the ceremony that i was supposed to get an award at, so we got to find the scooter yeah.
So we got a phone call saying like oh charlie won like best boxer of the tournament um.
I have this.
It was pat fiacco, who called said he had a thing for me, so i went and met him later that night at his hotel, and i got this beautiful like crystal ball and it was just like it was something because i was like.
Not only did.
I did i come here so so much as the underdog like honestly, even some people who, like who really supported me like the coaches on team canada, like they told me straight up afterwards, they’re like you know, we watched you spar and, and we we weren’t expecting You to do this well and and like that it hurt it hurt a little bit, but i was like you know what i’d rather fight better than i spar than spar better than i fight.
So i was like you know what prove them wrong and yeah um yeah.
So then uh not only did that happen, but then i ended up winning best female fighter of the entire tournament, and i was just like overwhelmed.
I was like holy like this is.
This is incredible and yeah i really hold on to that crystal and i’m like wow like this is special.
I was i was at first, i remember being like.
Oh, they should have made it a belt because i didn’t have a belt and i wanted one.
So bad but like it was still awesome good enough.
I wanted the belt yeah i’d like a crystal ball yeah.
No, it’s beautiful! I love it yeah, so wow like what an amazing way.
So, okay, since you weren’t there at the ceremony, there wasn’t any like nobody was backlashing about that right.
No because the coaches didn’t know either like the coaches came out with us.
When we went out um, nobody knew that i was going to win it um, but it was.
It was really cool, pat accepted it.
On my behalf, and at that point they ended up like kind of like giving a rundown of my performance at worlds and like talking about it, and i listened back to it afterwards and i actually ended up not losing a single round.
In all three of my fights at worlds, amazing, so everything was unanimous.
Everything was just like boom.
You were the champion of that tournament.
Yeah everything just fell into place, like i say with the confidence there like.
I really think that was the biggest thing for me to overcome.
There was like feeling so insignificant at the start being like you’re gon na fight this girl who’s already beat you all.
These girls have more experience than you and then, when i stepped in against her and like and took it.
I was like this.
This is my tournament to win and, and and i did you get goosebumps listening to this 15 years old and you were able to get into that mindset like this is mine for the taking, and it’s so hard like.
I understand when you’re fighting somebody who you’ve already lost to that’s so hard.
That’S a fight in itself mentally to get in there and try to outperform just against yourself, because you have all these things in your head and you got to kind of try to shift that thinking into no just treat it like it’s an everyday fight like who Cares who this person is, and that’s really hard to do that, and especially at such a young age, and especially at that caliber of the whole class like this, is such a great story, and i love listening to it.
You, like you, have surpassed so many of the barriers that are input not just for like woman, but a young woman, like that’s amazing and coming from this small little like new brunswick like, like you, said it’s an underdog province and then all of a sudden.
I hear births the future youth canadian world champion, like that’s amazing, yeah, and when we got back um.
I remember this was probably the coolest part of it all is when i got back um.
My my city is so small, like everyone kind of already knew me as the boxer, but then like they.
The mayor like had like this uh, this big thing downtown where i went and i sat on stage and they like congratulated me and gave me like a certificate and like all my friends and family came, it was very community oriented and and from that there were So many young girls that came out and were like um, they came to the boxing club afterwards and they were like we wan na.
We wan na try this out and i was like that is so cool.
That’S amazing, you’re influencing and inspiring the girls in that town, like oh, my god check this out like i didn’t know that that was even possible, but it is exactly that channel for them.
That’S did you cry because i would have cried.
Oh, absolutely all the time.
Of course that’s awesome.
So i remember because i was at the same bout like the show that when you fought olympian mary spencer yep, so what was that like? When you had the opportunity to fight the olympian yeah? So that was that was definitely like a a really important part of my boxing career.
This far, like i remember, um, getting ready for this fight and just being like wow like this girl was at the olympics before i was even fighting like it.
Just it felt so like the whole, like make your idols.
Your rivals type thing like that’s, really how i was feeling and um yeah, so leading up to that fight.
I was so nerve-wracking, so like mary is, is a bigger girl than i am for sure.
Like i’m quite small for my weight category, i don’t cut um, so i was like okay she’s got the experience on you, she’s got she’s got the reflexes she’s been doing this forever.
She’S she’s bigger than you like.
You really got.
Ta, like, like i said like get in there, be confident um and that sort of thing the fight was in her hometown, which you know how that is, it makes it um makes it even that more bit um intimidating, because you don’t know anyone um, and i Remember, warming up and mary came and started warming up next to me and joe and and she’s she’s, not she’s, not dumb, like she definitely knew what she was doing getting in here.
Rent-Free like she was there um, but i i remember i was watching your fight.
You fought emilia that night, didn’t you yeah, so i was watching the fights and it was funny that that card only had like four fights on it or something crazy like that.
It was like you know, i mean they were good.
Fights like they were good fights.
They’Re great fighters herself was the youth canadian champion.
You know like these were good stacked fights for just a small little show yeah.
It was a great card to watch and um yeah then getting into the ring.
I remember they played like this super like i went into the ring first and then they played this.
Like super long entry for mary and she came, she was walking around the ring and i was like oh my god, yeah and then um yeah, so she got in the ring and we did the whole like get ready.
Whatever um, then, once the fight started, i felt like this was so far so long ago.
I’M thinking back to it, but i remember i had my coach joe in my corner and my friend katie.
You know katie um, so definitely had a great corner behind me and i thought the fight was really close.
Honestly, i uh i felt like at the beginning, i’m i typically tend to be a slow starter, which is one of the things that i i’ve been trying to work on this whole time.
Is i don’t tire easily, but it takes me a while to get like really riled up, if that makes sense, yeah so yeah the first round? I don’t think it went my way.
I if i was a judge, i would have given it to mary um.
The second round was was really close round and i feel like it kind of it kind of started off her way and then ended my way.
So it was very like she won the first half.
I won the second half in my opinion, um, and i remember her talking to me in the fight and um so joe and i when we were warming up.
He was talking to me about how i needed to push the pace because i was younger.
I was fit that kind of thing.
My cardio is very good um and she had overheard that so during the round she was she’s like push the pace like push, it [ Laughter, ] and it made me so mad and she knew it was going to make me mad.
So then i started just like laying in like trying to like drop bombs like body shots.
We were kind of slugging it out that second half of that round would you say a little bit emotional yeah.
Definitely it frustrated me, and i think that’s one of the things that, like a more experienced boxer as mary is, was able to like really capitalize on on a girl like me, who didn’t have near as much experience, um and yeah.
So i i think i ended up on.
Like the official scoreboard, i think i ended up losing the the first two rounds and winning the third round um and the i don’t remember if it was a split or unanimous decision, but it was.
It was a close fight and um yeah.
I also think i mentioned that i sparred mary um before the world championships, and i thought i wasn’t gon na be able to go to the world championships because she busted me open at um yeah when we started the first time.
No, my nose.
I thought i broke my nose.
I was bleeding all over her all over me everywhere was everywhere yeah, so so, like i said it was another sort of similar to the situation with poland um a situation where i felt that i uh i didn’t do great.
The first time so going into the second time was, was a little bit uh intimidating um.
So i was like really mad that i didn’t win that fight, but it was just.
It was crazy to even be able to say that i fought an olympian.
I was like so young, so inexperienced and honestly the fact that stuck with me, the most was that, like i said she was at the olympics before i even started boxing yeah, and you know what that says: a lot because you’re so young and just talking to You right now you’re, very mature and how you handle um.
All the whole experiences that you’ve been telling me you’re very mature about.
You have a very good perspective on a lot of things.
When i was watching you fight mandy, i thought like wow, like this she’s, a young girl stepping in that ring just doing her thing with an olympian, and you looked very composed.
I mean, of course, like i was hearing in the crowd, like oh mary’s, talking to her, and i was like oh no mary right.
She comes from that old school old style boxing right like just like you said those intimidation.
Tactics, like you know, getting warmed up right beside you and saying those little things like she’s, very uh, boxing iq right up there.
She knows how to do tiny, little things, which, of course, you know, as you gain more experience, you kind of get more in there.
You know with um i mean, obviously you have so much experience already, even if you have a low amount of fights you’ve had these crazy accomplishments that you know nobody can say boo to you.
You know, i feel, like you, had every right to be in the ring with somebody like mary spencer, because you did you’ve been doing so amazing.
You deserve to have those experiences, you know and that’s like um, something like that fight with mary spencer.
You held yourself really well, you performed like there’s, no there’s nobody that can deny your performance.
I think you did absolutely amazing, and i think that from the character that you have the mindset that you have and the ambition and the drive that you have, that there is nothing that’s going to stand in your way from accomplishing more than all the other women That are doing right now in canada, and you know what like, i can see you winning a world title if you continue pursuing this career going forward into your 20s.
I think that you, thank you.
No! No! I don’t don’t.
That’S the truth, so yeah that we’re looking at you know the the fight that you had with mary.
Did you guys like talk afterwards yeah? She, she kind of talked to me a little bit afterwards.
We ended up like we were at the same hotel and – and we talked a little bit afterwards um like i said i was a little bit uh flustered afterwards, but once we got back to the hotel, you know she was like great fight like like you’re gon Na you’re you’re up and coming like this is all yours like, like you, i think mary um is on like the elder side of the sport and like she was able to see like it was really nice to get that perspective from an older athlete.
At the same weight category, as me, kind of being, like you know like the future, is yours and like this was a tough fight for me too and like it was really like a like a huge confidence booster, and it meant a lot to me to hear Her, like speak highly of me, yeah, even with her experience like she sees it too and her going in there.
You know she obviously felt it, and she knows that’s why she can humbly tell you so like now, um, because you’ve now gone to a nationals as an elite.
Since then yeah 2019, yep yeah, so the 2019 um nationals was, was a great experience that was like.
I said my first time at the elite level i had been competing against elite since i was younger, but to really be able to be in that same category um and have those fights was was exciting for me and um.
My first fight was supposed to be against, i don’t know her name, but she was from british columbia and um.
Just i was warming up for the fight, and my coach came up to me was like 20 minutes before i was supposed to fight and he was like it’s not gon na happen.
Like she’s pulled out um.
I think that she uh had gotten sick or something but the fight.
The fight ended up, not happening, so that was kind of uh.
You know how it is when a fight falls through.
It was it’s kind of a varied overcome because i was so ready up here and then it was just everything: switching out, yeah yeah.
So after that went back to just like my hotel room and then whatever uh.
The next fight was against mary, pierre from quebec and her, and i had fought before at the 2017 brampton cup.
I believe, and at that time at the brampton cup i wasn’t old enough to compete at the elite level um.
So we fought as a makeup fight and i ended up beating her in that fight um, so going into uh nationals.
I was, i was fairly confident.
Um and that worked in my advantage, i think um.
I was able to kind of work on some things that i knew that i didn’t do great in the last fight uh and things that i wanted to do better things that i knew that she wasn’t strong with versus like what she was strong with.
She was a very um, very heavy, hitter short stocky.
That kind of thing, so i felt very well prepared for that fight.
That was the semi-finals and then from there.
I ended up fighting sarah cali in the finals and, as most people know, i i lost that fight on a decision.
I really think what my downfall was in.
That fight was the fact that sarah was lighter than me, because i i don’t.
I didn’t have a great performance.
It wasn’t a great day for me, but i remember feeling like she was just faster than me and it was so unusual because, like i said, i’m i’m usually the the skinny girl in the category.
I’M the small girl that doesn’t cut and everyone else is bigger than me, and i use my speed so to have someone use speed against me was new, absolutely yeah, so yeah sorry go on yeah.
So just a combination of her speed and again her experience.
She’S been on the national team for years, she was able to take that win from me that day and i lost my first nationals, so you brought home the silver though yeah, and you know what, though um, what i was gon na say is you’re still young, Like i have fully matured now into my body and i’m going to be 26 this year and it takes sometimes like, i think that i fully got from mature in my body around like just this past year.
I’Ve settled into like what my body weight is comfortable.
I was still carrying a little bit of baby fat when i was 21.
If that it’s weird, but it’s true, so your body is still going to mature as you get a little bit older and a little bit more experienced and you’re consistently training, because your body is going to form into that mature woman athleticism and maybe that’s the kind Of difference that you were feeling between you and sarah, because she’s, an older woman than you are and she’s already had, that development she’s already set in her body and she’s had, like you, said, the experience and whatnot so she’s very comfortable and, as you said like She felt a little faster, but you’re, usually the like girl.
Just give yourself like some time, as your body adjusts to you’re gon na feel like at some point.
There’S gon na be a huge difference, very dramatic in the next few years and you’ll be like.
Oh, like i see now my body’s like that mature athleticism, you know you’re gon na.
I think after that loss i really um well, not even after that loss, but just um.
In the last few years i’ve kind of been like i really wanted.
20, like i, was very set on it.
I was like 20 20 olympics.
I can do this and i honestly feel that i could have done it.
I lost an unfortunate um loss to mary pierre, the girl that i just talked about beating in the semi-finals.
At nationals i lost to her um at the qualifiers, i got a nice little scar here to remember yeah.
I took an elbow and um it really just busted me open, oh, my goodness, so that was the qualifiers.
What was that? The first fight that you had or yeah so that was the first fight that i had um.
I don’t remember if i got the buy or if it was, i think it was the quarterfinals of the qualifiers um.
I had a lot of experience with a lot of the girls in that category.
I believe there was only one girl in the category that i hadn’t beaten before um, so going into the qualifiers i felt prepared.
I felt confident i didn’t feel that i underestimated anybody, but i definitely think that um that elbow uh really like i, i had a concussion and i was bleeding and it was just like it really threw me off and i tried to fight through it.
I remember being like, if i don’t drop this girl, like i’m, probably gon na, lose this fight and i ended up not being able to finish the fight and i lost the fight um and in hindsight, looking back at it like, i was very like oh, this Is over for me like you’re, not making it to the olympics, but i mean funny enough: the world has a way of working out and, like march happened in terms of nobody was going to the olympics in 2020 um, and i think that honestly would have been Harder on me, um than losing, is winning and then still not getting to go um.
So that was something that i really thought about a lot last year was that, like there are going to be many more opportunities and these people that i’m losing to like sarah cali um, mary, pierre um, mary spencer, they’re, all so much older than me, and i Was like i could do 20 24.
I could do 20 28.
I could do 2032 like there’s so many years ahead of me, and i really don’t think i came to terms with that and really saw that as a possibility up until even this year.
So now now that you’re seeing that, though, now you’re like okay, like i have this like all this time, to get prepared for the better version of myself, because every year as fighters well as athletes, we always show up the next year as long as we’re consistent.
We always show up better than we were the previous year and you’re always ready to take on new challenges, and i think that’s great that you see that yourself.
That, like you, have all this time, like you have all this time and you’ve already had like.
First of all youth world championship: i don’t think that there’s um any of the girls that you just said.
I don’t think that any of them has ever had a youth world championship.
I don’t know if many of them have had a world championship huge.
It’S a huge accomplishment for yourself and i would not be worried, like i have full confidence that you’re going to end up making the olympic team at some point whether it be 2024, whether it be 2028, like you have the time.
As you said, you have all the time in the world to make the adjustments to make the changes that you want and to develop yourself into that fighter.
That you’re going to be at that point yeah and like like these little bumps in the road.
Really, i think, got me down in part because of my my age and my lack of experience, like i remember after the youth world championships, um two of the boys on the team to lie and spencer got to go to the youth olympics and i didn’t get To go because they didn’t have the 69 kilo division for girls there, so i was like well.
I was the only one that won and i still didn’t get to go, so it really felt defeating.
It was like it doesn’t matter how good you are.
If the sport isn’t progressing to include you and then that, following year it did they started, they added my weight category to to the olympics, and i was like okay like this.
This can happen, so it was.
It was a lot of like not getting to go to the youth olympics missing the olympic trials.
Just by that um.
It’S like it seemed that it seemed like the end of the world at the moment and – and i even took a little break from boxing like i i haven’t, fought since the olympic qualifiers back in december 2019 and um i moved.
I i moved to a little like an hour out of my hometown, just to kind of like focus on my school and and that sort of thing, and i think that i’ve done a lot of growing since then, and i’ve realized you know like.
I have like over a decade of time to spend in my peak and and it’s amazing what i was able to do before my peak, but now like that, i’m, like you, said growing into my body.
I’M gon na have even more potential that i just can’t wait to unlock that.
That’S amazing to hear that i’m so happy to hear that you see all of the opportunities that you were having and that you’re going to continue.
Having because really honestly, like you are so young with all this potential in front of you and it’s so lovely to hear the ambition that you have it’s like, you know when you say i felt like it was the end of the world and me being older.
I’M thinking but you’re just starting, you know, because i can say that, because i’m a little bit older than you like, i know how much time you have and when you say like now, i see it.
That’S awesome to hear that, because you really do you have the world at the palm of your hands, the possibilities for you are endless and as a young girl, this must have taken a lot of toll on you with your social life with your school.
How did you manage that with your competitive side? Yeah um first, can i just say wow like i.
I did not know that you were 26, like.
I really thought you were like 21 years old, like you look so good.
Thank you, so yeah in terms of school, like um, so in high school, was when i was really leading up to my world championships, and that was a lot of um.
That was a lot of work and a lot of like time management skills on my behalf.
But when i got to university is when i really started to see how that how that balance was going to get more difficult, because it seemed that every time i went away for a tournament was either during like midterms or exam season.
And i remember like missing a couple of exams and exams are like you can’t just reschedule them for any old reason, so some professors were very like some, some professors.
Like i said, i live in a small city um.
They followed my career and they were like.
Oh wow like this is awesome um and they helped me reschedule, but sometimes it was a lot more difficult and um had to go like the registrar’s building and all that stuff.
But i’m going to got it all.
I know um got it all figured out um, but definitely bringing my work with me on trips and that sort of thing sometimes i felt like i couldn’t really relate to um some of the boxers.
When i was on trips, because i felt like i was like.
I i can talk boxing and like boxing we related to, but then once you go past boxing when you’re away for weeks, like you only talk about boxing so much yeah and um, i really felt like i was struggling to connect with, like my teammates, but as I got a little bit older and like and started to really like prioritize my school and like have a little bit more of a social life and like find that balance, i was able to like manage it a little bit better, and i think that my social Life definitely lacked in some places, like i said earlier, but um i wouldn’t change it for the world, obviously good good, because you know what, like part of this whole experience for yourself being at a high level at such a young age.
Even though you’re doing this sport that’s an individual sport, it’s also since you’re, so much prioritizing it not just your school and your social life, but also your your relationship with yourself kind of goes on pause.
You stop thinking about.
You know, for example, like i just want to hang out with my girlfriends like i just want a family.
I i just want to go to the mall or something you know you mean, because you can’t you make so many sacrifices, and i understand you know you’re.
So young doing that, that’s a big sacrifice to make, and that’s really bold – and it’s really like great – that you’re able to do something like that and now that you’re kind of sitting back and now you’re.
Now you have this time.