EPISODE: Episode 10
Faith Rego | The Female Fist | Talkin Fight
Really exciting guest with us, she is the current junior canadian champion.
Please welcome faith rhaego.
How are you doing today, good? How are you i’m well so faith like i haven’t seen you for a while.
I know your aunt.
I know your uncle very well olga and andrew the owners of huff gym and i met your mom a few times theresa.
Yes, yes, so why don’t you like tell me and our audience a little bit about yourself, like i just mentioned that you’re, the junior canadian champion, but like where does faith’s background, come from like just tell me a little bit about yourself? Well, my family started huff gym in the 1990s and they’ve been running it ever since.
So my mom originally was my mom my uncle started, then my aunt and my uh, my late father, also and now it’s run by my stepdad, my mom and then my uncle and aunt um.
I don’t really know like uh.
I’Ve been in the gym ever since i was a little girl uh.
Usually i was in the children’s camps and stuff, so we ran a free camp every year, um we stopped running it for a little bit when we got our new um place.
Our new facility in on dundas and we’ve had that for about 60 years now and i eventually started running the kids in children’s camps and yeah, and now i’m fighting at a puff gym and with my uncle my coach and yeah, that’s amazing.
So i know that half gym is it still because i remember at one point: it was the biggest boxing gym in mississauga right.
Yes, so we were on um here ontario street and we had three floors in that one: two gym floors, and then we had a lounge area upstairs for like this eight, and that was at the one by qew right, yeah yeah, my father.
He was there.
I think for like half a year yeah, he worked there for a little bit.
I remember that was like my proceeding.
Pardon that was like my first year competing yeah yeah, but you were just a little one yeah i was you were how old, when you started competing, i was like 17.
I had to have been like maybe four right, really because you’re, how old are you now? I’M 17? Now i just turned 17.
, oh my god! Well yeah then, like you were just a little one, because i remember um.
I remember like throughout the boxing years.
I remember always like hearing like oh olga’s.
Niece is now doing like some boxing.
I remember hearing that and i remember having conversations like wow.
This is so great that so many young girls are getting so involved yeah.
I think that’s a big thing.
That’S a good thing too yeah that, like yeah, there’s lots more more girls competing in boxing as well absolutely, and it makes it easier now for your generation, since so many of the youth are coming together, saying like yeah, like, let’s kind of do it together, it’s Becoming more of a normative, i would assume yourself yeah.
I agree with you like when you were growing up.
What was the idea of like female boxing? Was that even like a stigma, or what was that like in your perception? Well, because my aunt was ranked 12th in the world, yes um at one point: she, it kind of i looked at it as like.
You had like that’s it’s very rare right, because she was the only at the time.
At one point she was like one of the main female fighters in the gym and then, as i grew up, she was training fighters, but there was only like to the ratio of men.
There was like five percent female right.
My uncle was training men, so yeah.
It was very like there wasn’t a lot right, so it was cool kind of get in that like uh.
How did i say it kind of like in the mix yeah? It was cool to get in the mix and just like learn just learn boxing and like i train with the guys right just like yeah and um yeah, you don’t find a lot a lot of female fighters, but right now, i’m like like every time a female Comes in, i try to encourage her to get in the ring um or even like all work with her, because it’s like it’s just to get that confidence.
Yes, so for them to go in the ring and just try it out and if they like it, then hopefully they go further with it.
And i think that’s great you’re.
Only 17 years old – and i feel like i’m talking to like like a young woman because, like like the sport, has kind of put you in that leadership role very early on i’m assuming yeah, especially like because my siblings and stuff – and i was like in the Gym i was like the babysitter.
I was like the one i i had actually um someone a female fighter from back in the day tell me she was like back in the day, you were like 10 years old, like just watching all those little children yeah like crazy to see right so yeah.
That’S like yeah, it was cool, it’s like a very positive way to immerse a child into responsibilities, yeah which is great yeah, just like just letting them watch their siblings or take care of them in that like nurturing way.
I think it really let me grow and like i’ve.
Definitely i definitely appreciate how i did it like how i was brought into it.
Yes and you i’m assuming, have a lot of support like around you competing in boxing because of your aunt because of your uncle.
They all supported you with competing.
Yes, so at first my uncle wanted me to like really see if i like it like after your first fight, you got really like focused right, like it’s like you want to get to that high level.
If you’re gon na want to do something like this, because it’s not like it’s not you’re, not just playing boxing right you’re in the ring someone’s punching, you you’re fighting, so olga trained me and i sparred with some of the girls, and that was like.
I did that for two years and then in the winter of 2017 i started trading with my uncle and that was for the brampton cup in 2018.
That was my first fight 2018.
I think i remember that brampton cup – oh my god, it feels like ages ago.
I keep looking at like.
There was a tournament that year and it’s like it was three years ago and i was like wow.
Where is the time gone? Yes exactly? I know, because we had a whole year now that nobody’s been doing anything.
I think that when you go to compete again you have because you’re 18, you said no 17.
Are you turning 18 here? No, i just turned 17, but like that’s right, i totally understand what you’re saying i’m like i’m gon na be elite.
Soon, like i’m inviting the older girls right, i think that now that you’re 17, i think you actually have that option.
If you wanted to fight an elite girl, i think i do especially i did like i did um.
I went right into elite really, like i’m sorry, sorry, yeah, yeah yeah.
I went right into elite like elite novice and i was 17.
So i know that you can do that.
If that was something that you wanted to do wow you could do that.
I mean, like i’ve been in the ring with you, you can handle yourself against women yeah.
I don’t see an issue at all.
I mean i’m sure.
People and your aunt have said that too oh yeah and like i’ve had other fighters like even in my weight class like they’re, older they’re elites and they’ve been like yeah, you could like.
I would love if you were in our category right, because it would be a good fight, that’s what they were, inter like yeah saying, but no, i spar with only like pretty older girls i’ll do defense against the younger girls or the less experienced, but usually like.
I spar amanda, you um and usually men and whoever else is like willing to come in the ring with you mom i’m in the zoom call.
You can tell her that scarlett says hi brother says hi.
I guess like um.
Everything at huff is kind of virtual right now too right.
Yes, during this good time, yeah, it’s crazy, because i grew up with like so many people around me right and now that it’s like at first.
It was like so weird to see that the gym that empty for that long, but now it’s yeah, it’s like it’s just.
It was weird at first now it’s better and i teach one zoom class online.
Then i do one zoom class and then we like alternate like that, so i want to rewind a little bit.
You did mention um because i remember i remember thinking like i never had the privilege of meeting your father and i heard about what happened.
You mentioned that your late father yeah, so i’m gon na kind of go into that little bit, so my dad jeremy rigo he passed away in 2008, so my mom had the four of us at that time me my two like their twins, um brothers and then My sister and she was pregnant with my youngest sister at the time when my dad passed away, oh but yeah, that was a that was a hard time um, especially because my uncle and my dad were like best friends and everything, and he was coaching at that Time and everything too so it was kind of like everyone had to take a break for a little bit yeah.
I don’t remember too much of that like time i just remember it being like it was a different like vibe like energy.
It was a different atmosphere, but then, eventually everything got running again properly and yeah.
It went back to normal a little bit.
How old were you? I was four wow and i’m the oldest so yeah.
My brothers were like through two or three, and my sister had to have been like one and a half wow.
I’M really sorry to hear about the honey that that must have been like a as well like a little bit of a more responsibility for yourself.
Since you were the oldest yes, of course, like you’ve been babysitting, like you know, pretty much since you were just a kid yourself.
Yes, like i was seeing you taking care of the kids, i remember you carrying them around puff at the tournaments and stuff.
I always remember yeah, but i i really appreciate that i had that responsibility so young, because i got to appreciate like more things.
I got to appreciate a lot more.
That’S really! That’S a really really mature way to look at things, especially for like such a young girl, because i know that um a lot of times.
It takes people a long journey to kind of overcome these kinds of obstacles, because they weren’t ready for that or because um they just weren’t able to process it.
But i mean from what i see.
I think that you have a lot of love around you like your and your uncle.
They like they’re great people, i’ve seen them always with you guys, yeah a lot of support.
My family was very close, so my aunts and uncle actually like they’re another set of parents for me because they moved in with us right after my dad passed away like the night of wow.
They stayed with us for about five years.
So until i was like 9 or 10, they were with us like all the time, like my aunt like signed school stuff for me, like she did stuff like that.
So that was a big yeah.
That was a big part of my life, but it was definitely it was a journey.
It still is a journey yeah, but it looks like you’re really taking like the beauty out of all of it, and you have such great support around you and that’s just amazing to hear yeah you got ta, take good stuff out or then.
What are you doing? It’S just not good right! Well, look at you now you’re, a junior canadian champion like you’re, doing amazing things and, like you have uh, you run a program.
Don’T you like, like your own kind of program, at the gym right so right before everything ended, we were actually going into running like our own programs.
I didn’t get like my own, but i was running the children’s classes and the women’s classes at that time.
Right before we closed yeah, oh right, there right yeah we’re at the closing dates.
Oh my gosh, so i ran the children’s camp, the free children’s camp we had for two years, and that was sorry, the barking um that was uh a good experience.
So it’s called the the children’s.
What’S it called again, this huff huff children’s camp yeah um yeah, so we would do like before when we had the bigger facility.
We’D do a whole day, so it was like i wan na say it was nine to it was like a school day right now yeah and we used to have like fruit at the end of the day and then we’d have like art, class and we’d.
Do some drawings and then we’d go to the soccer field, yeah back in the day when we had that like facility and that space to hold a lot of a lot more children we did, and that was like great.
That was, i missed those camps because we had like that freedom to like take them get another connection with them, but now that we have the smaller facility, it’s a lot harder to like go outside because of the building right and like hold in our class, because We don’t really have like the tables or like, but we do different stuff with them inside the gym.
We play like game like camp games like the beanbag stuff and yeah, so it’s cool.
I didn’t even know that you guys had a program like that for kids and that’s like amazing to hear, especially just for like a boxing gym.
A boxing gym usually focuses on boxing, but you create this really dynamic and really um inclusive kind of activities for the youth.
So, like that’s amazing yeah, i remember we did.
We did the boxing classes.
Usually we do it every day, yeah, like sometimes like you got to do different stuff right.
Children like after like doing that much they want to do something else right.
Of course, they want to have some fun yeah right yeah, so we always had the children’s camp.
Every summer for, like i want to say, wonderful, and then that was something that you ran pretty much like.
Well, you let it um i was like.
I was like the junior counselor.
When i was like nine years old, i helped the i was like stuck by the counselors, because i like always wanted to do that and um, but now the last two years i was teaching it yeah.
I was running it well, that’s amazing, you’re, taking so much responsibility, you’re you’re, including yourself, with these wonderful, like community involvement and the youth like you’re, a great role model for the youth and because you’re young yourself, it’s easy for them to like relate to you.
It’S not like they’re looking at adults, and thinking like you know, that’s something so beyond them that they’re just almost like an authority kind of figure when they have a kid there or a young woman as yourself, it’s like i can be like that.
They look at you like that’s something that they can that’s easily obtainable and you’re such a positive role model.
For that, that’s beautiful! Thank you.
I hope they look at like.
I hope they think i’m a good role model, but all i can do is try and lead them right, you’re, not trying you’re doing.
Thank you great job, i’m really proud of you.
I didn’t even know that you were taking that much involvement.
So thank you for sharing that with me, so like now going into um because from what i understand they’re going to have a nationals this year for canada, i think it’s supposed to be at the end of this year.
To my understanding, i’m not 100 sure it’s not like uh yeah, you’ve confirmed or anything like that, but um so you’re going to be getting ready for that.
Hopefully too, if that’s available.
Yes, good and you’ll be going in as like a youth.
This time, though, yes uh yeah, i think i think i’m gon na have to fight in the provincials before.
If we have one yeah, that’s where i’m like.
I don’t know if they’re going to have a provincials, just know they’re going to have a nationals yeah.
So i’ve heard yeah right, so i don’t know i miss fighting so much.
I feel you i feel you this has been like.
Oh i know i tell everybody once the gloves come on.
They never come off.
You always get like an itch to get back in there and challenge yourself yeah and you you got that bugging you really early but you’re in for a long journey.
My dear no but yeah.
My last fight because i was supposed to fight.
I went to mississippi so my last fight, i won the amateur ibf and the small wc wbc belt in connecticut against their junior national champion.
Yes, and that was my last fight in november of 2019.
I actually went to mississippi in february right before the lockdown.
Didn’T get a fight there and yeah? I haven’t fought since that last win, so finishing you’re off on a good note, though eh coming back with like a championship, not that bad, like yeah, i mean my last fight.
I don’t want a championship so like uh, i mean kind of miss it [ Laughter, ], it’s okay, bask in it the little future world champion over here.
You know, when was your uh first boxing about like? When did you? When did you make that choice like i want to take it competitive, so the i wanted to before my first fight like two years before um, and i then told my uncle and he was like okay, we’ll do the classes regularly.
Like start like doing like doing things more regularly right, like being more involved in the boxing yeah more involved in the boxing and like i was hitting pads with people sparring more with the women and yeah.
So, after that it was like the winter of 2017 and i started training with my uncle more and then 2019.
He was like i mean 2018.
Sorry, he said, brampton cup is a great tournament that, like you, should be, and that should be your first tournament right.
Yes, so that was my first tournament, one of the best tournaments and yeah.
I actually lost my first fight, though okay, first, by a loss, great experience, though, after that i came out of the ring smiling i was like this is great like i want to do this like this is awesome.
I love boxing.
Wait, you said 20.
Sorry, you said 2019 was that or 2018 18.
So wait, you were like 14 or 15 or i was 14.
Oh, my goodness yep 14.
, and i remember i had no one pardon.
You were just a little one yeah.
I was like.
I look at that now and i was like i’ve grown so much from that.
Like first fight like even from my last fight like training, i was just like.
I see a difference in myself already right, of course yeah so, like you did the um.
So with that year you also went to nationals your first nationals, no not that year the next year, so i actually won provincials in eight 2018 wow.
I got second actually okay and then i beat the same girl right before nationals.
So i was going into nationals confident and i so i was looking at the people i had to fight.
There was like i want to say four girls, four or five girls and she wasn’t in that category.
She actually went up, so i was going in from ontario the first one scene, i’m in my category and i actually dropped both my girls in both the second rounds, and i was yeah in nationals.
You wan na do like a virtual fist bump bam.
What yeah that was great, like that, getting ready for naturals yeah, i felt amazing, you probably felt like superwoman after the fights.
I was like wow that that was like, like a serious experience like going there having that, like atmosphere being at nationals and then performing like that, it was just amazing.
That’S amazing and i’m so happy that you told me that, like that’s like so you were at that time, 15 then because i was following you like: you were 15 years old, you went in that ring at national level.
Okay, like it’s hard to for a 15 year old, to even go in to a team sport competing, let alone go into a ring where somebody’s going to hit you in the face, and you did that confidently and you took out those two girls.
You should be so proud of yourself.
Your family is probably i know they are.
They are out of your video of them at home, they’re yelling, my siblings, are yelling, it’s great, of course.
Of course, i’m so proud of you honey.
I didn’t even know that, like i know obviously like oh, she won the junior canadian championship and i was like well that’s amazing because i, like i said i remember seeing you like running around with the kids and stuff, so i just knew that you were making Your way through – and i was like this is so awesome for this little one, but i didn’t even know it was like that.
I think it was like a that hit yeah eight, so now that you’re, the junior canadian title, because i think that okay, if you’re 15, so i guess you’ve won two more nationals since then yeah, no just just that one and then after that 2020 nationals didn’t Happen, oh because that was in 2019! That’S right! So you haven’t been able to go back to another nationals: yeah, okay! Well, i’m just gon na put it out there, since you will win the next national championship and i’m assuming that because you’re 17 are that you so are you? Do you think that you’ll probably stay youth for this one more year and then go elite? I think yeah, i think at nationals i’m gon na have to go like youth yeah, because i remember watching amelia and she was like, i want to say she was 18, the last one, but she she was youth, okay, so yeah.
I think i must be going.
You might have the choice you might have the choice.
Are you pretty serious? If i had the choice, i don’t know like i.
I think that, like um, i mean don’t quote me on this, but i think i think that she chose to stay youth for one more year.
I think – oh that’s fine i’ll, probably have her on here at some point, so i’ll be able to ask her that, but like um, i think she chose.
But since from my experience i was able to compete at 17 with the elite.
So i’m pretty sure that you can go in if you want, but don’t quote me on that.
I don’t know.
Okay, i’m gon na look into that.
You should, because i think you can handle yourself.
In my opinion, i think you can handle yourself.
I mean you’re dropping girls already so so now, what do you have in plan for yourself like? What do you want to do going forward with your boxing career? Let’S just say um, let’s just say tomorrow, everything opens up.
What’S your goals right now? Well, i want to get to fight it like having.
I don’t know i want to go as far as the two-time olympic champion um.
Yes, that’s always been a goal um, but other than that.
If, if kovid wasn’t here, i would want to be fighting like at least every month three times a month, hopefully like that frequently, if i can get fights and like maintain my bo, maintain my weight um.
That would be that’s a goal that i have like fighting that frequently when everything’s done and yeah getting that experience right and you’re at a perfect age right now, because when i was your age, it was so hard to find girls to fight like like female boxing Has really taken off like yeah? It’S way, it’s way better.
Now, i think like finding female like, even if we go to the states like there’s a lot more um but yeah.
That’S that’s a really big thing.
Like there’s three girls that i have fought all five times, wow because, like the the options right, but now like you’re at a perfect day and age, where you can just get all the rounds in that you want with so many diverse fighters and you’re at a Perfect time to just take advantage of that, and it’s great that you have all the support, because i think that your aunt, your uncle, your mom, would really just like do whatever they can to help you achieve your goals, yeah.
They they support your palm sweetie.
You have the world in your palm.
Thank you really really and your goal like for a two-time olympic champion, like i fully like believe in you, i think that, whatever you put your mind to which i see that you do, i think, whatever you put your mind to you’re gon na, do it.
Thank you and i think you have everybody in your corner.
Yes, i have a lot of people a lot of support that i’m thankful for and grateful for and love all of them um, but that’s amazing the support i have and going into like.
Let’S say, actually i want to know um how many fights have you had to date.
I’Ve had 17 17.
, that’s still a lot, so i went.
I went open at five fights good for you upgraded cause.
A lot of people were like you should just upgrade because you’re, why spend like you’re already advanced? They were saying to me so like why don’t you like just upgrade so i was like okay.
Well, my uncle suggested it and i would agree to it and yeah.
It’S because you know what it’s different for you, because you have a lot of talent.
You have a lot of support.
You have a lot of experience very early on.
It doesn’t make sense if you stay at like where everybody is kind of like i don’t want to um bash on the lower levels, because it’s not i’m not sorry, not even lower level.
It’S just the younger girls, because a lot of them don’t have the same background as you.
A lot of them don’t have an uncle mom that has them right into boxing at such an early age.
You know a lot of them kind of like you know, decide to try it out within that year, kind of thing and they’re still kind of like finding their style they’re still trying to like work with their body, because you’re developing girls as well you’re still learning A lot of things, but you have a lot of talent.
You have a lot of body awareness and you’ve been seeing things.
You’Ve been learning things from such an early age.
It just wouldn’t make sense like you’re, going to keep getting wins with these girls.
That are just not at your level.
It makes sense for you to upgrade.
Thank you yeah that was kind of their like.
They were like you’re you’re, a lot more advanced in that sense that you’ve been around it.
So they’re like yeah, you should upgrade.
It would be better for you anyways, because you get more fights because more girls like in the states or whatever um in canada and you can go to nationals next year.
That was their kind of their angle and it’s more of a challenge for yourself too, like you, don’t want to fight girls that are not giving you.
You know a good challenge like like that’s not giving you much experience then, like you want.
You have these big.
These big goals and that’s kind of then you got ta fight like you’re, going for those big goals, hold yourself back and that’s amazing that you got all this going on for you.
I fully support you.
I support you too so now going into the next year.
So let’s say like once you hit elite: do you have any goals of like where you want to go internationally for fights any kind of international belts? You want um, not right now, like i do want to fight in the all-female tournament.
I didn’t get to do that last year, either which one of the cup or the golden girl the say that again, the first one yup esker cup in ireland – oh it’s, the golden girl, then girl, that’s in sweden! I do want to go to ireland for one of those female all-female camps um.
That would be super cool, great experience.
I think and yeah not really like.
I just i hope i fight frequently next year um.
I hope everything opens up soon, so i could spar and everything and fight um, but other than that.
No as many terms as i can travel as much as i can and yeah well, you have a great great perception on a lot of things.
You are very mature for your age.
I will say that if you could go back in time to your younger self, when you were at a really challenging point in your life, what would you tell your younger self trust in god and everything’s everything’s gon na grow? Great everything’s gon na be all right, yeah i’ll, just trust the process.
Yes, trust the process and yeah you just got ta go with the flow you got.
Ta relax, sit back and enjoy the show.
That’S amazing! So as well, one more question: do you have anything that you would tell a girl going through what you’re going through right now, some girl that has had um been around boxing? She has these big goals.
Let’S say she’s a couple years: younger she’s still kind of getting in there, though.
What would you tell her right now train hard, you got ta work hard for what you’d like in life, and you just got ta be brave kind of that fearless.
You need that fearless too um and yeah work hard, train hard, just enjoy life.
I love how you just have this? Oh believe you work for what you want and you don’t leave.
I love that.
That’S pure confidence! Thank you.
I love that well.
So much faith.
Do you have anything else that you want to tell our audience um? I hope you guys enjoyed what we had to say and no thank you for having me.
No thank you for being on the show.
May i yeah thank you so much girl.
Well, thank you.
Everybody for tuning in to our ninth episode of the female fist stay tuned for next week episode and we will be talking to everybody very shortly.
Thank you, girl, dad