Seven-year old Belle McCormack likes boxing. She participates in fun boxing and is just back from an all female tournament in B.C.
She was one of three girls who represented the Lloydminster Boxing Club at the recent West Coast Wonder Women hosted by the Sooke Boxing Club in B.C. Eighty-four boxers competed from countries like Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide there are only five tournaments like this with an all female international card.
Belle says boxing is something she “just felt like doing.” She adds, “Fun boxing is like sparring but you can punch harder.”
Belle’s bigger sister Louise McCormack has been boxing for three years. She has completed her coaching studies and works with kids and women. She is also pursuing a university degree in arts and psychology. She won her two fights at the B.C. tournament.
“I’m in the 145 weight class which is 66 kilograms. Before COVID, when I fought before, there were not really many girls in that weight class, so it’s really great to go to an all female card. And now there are a lot of people in my weight class which is awesome too.”
Louise will look to see how much further her boxing will take her with a shot at provincials and nationals. She has missed a shot for the 2024 Olympics and there is uncertainty over women boxing at that level in 2028.
“Well there won’t be Olympic boxing in a few years. I think 2024 is the last Olympic boxing. I kind of missed a shot for that, but I guess I will see how far I can go. I would like to try nationals.”
Women’s boxing was introduced to the Olympics in 2012. The International Olympic Committee indicated this year that boxing, weight-lifting and the modern pentathlon will be dropped. The IOC have cited doping and financial governance concerns.
Also making the trip to Sooke was 13-year old Sydney Collinge. She says her school friends are impressed with her sparring displays and think it’s really cool. After the cancellations of the last two years, she says they were happy to finally be able to make a trip to the ring.
“Even before COVID it was really difficult to find any fights and West Coast Woman was my main source of getting an actual match. So when it was cancelled two years in a row because of COVID, we were really excited and lucky to be able to finally go this year.”
Sydney is happy with her one bout in Sooke even though she sustained an injury.
“I say I did pretty good. My fight got stopped by the referee because I had a very bad bloody nose, but other than that I think I did pretty good.”
The female boxers like other athletes missed a lot of opportunities to box over the last two years. Louise McCormack has missed out on the winter games. However, they are grateful to be able to pursue their passion again in the ring.