On April 23, Boxing Ontario’s Female Development Committee (FDC) welcomed over 60 athletes to their All-Female Sparring Camp hosted at No Excuse Boxing in Burlington.

This was the largest all-female camp hosted of its kind, and female athletes of all ages, experience levels, and divisions were in attendance: from Juniors to Masters, and beginners to National and Provincial team members.

The day started with a ringside chat by Victoria Vergos (Steeltown Boxing) who recently made history as one of the first female boxers from Ontario to ever compete and medal at a Canada Games. The W60kg silver medalist shared her experiences and learnings with all the athletes and coaches in attendance. The 2023 Canada Winter Games represented the first time female boxing was hosted at a Canada Games, 11 years after it was introduced at the Olympics.

Next, Shar Gupta, a Manual Osteopath who specializes in concussion management and athlete care and founder of Cognetic Movement, led a neuro performance session to help sharpen the athletes’ reaction time, decision making, and hand-eye coordination.

To follow, the athletes were divided into their pre-matched groups for sparring, which was overseen by FDC members and volunteers and supported by personal coaches. With the over 60 athletes in attendance, participants were able to work in many rounds and experience a variety of different styles.

Female sparring camps such as these are essential to athlete development because it gives female boxers experience against other female athletes of similar skill levels, divisions, and weight classes. These opportunities can help athletes simulate and prepare for competition, sharpen their skills, and challenge themselves. Through these camps, the FDC’s goal is also to cultivate a sense of community and learning, which is important to retaining athletes in the sport and developing athletes to the next level.

“Essentially we want to get these girls together to work together so that we can really improve the level of boxing right here in Ontario,” said two-time Olympian, Pan Am Games gold medalist, and FDC member Mandy Bujold.

Female sparring is hosted monthly by Boxing Ontario’s Female Development Committee. The next All-Female Performance & Development Camp will be taking place on May 27 from 9am – 1pm at BUDO Canada in Toronto, and will feature a nutrition chat and Q&A, a mobility session, boxing training, and sparring rounds. Registration is now open, and to learn more about details for the next camp, visit BoxingOntario.com.

Boxing Ontario would like to thank the FDC for organizing an inspiring and successful sparring camp, and for their ongoing dedication to developing female boxing in the province of Ontario. Thank you to the volunteers and the athletes’ personal coaches for all their support, to special guests Victoria Vergos and Shar Gupta for sharing their expertise, and to No Excuse Boxing for being generous hosts.

Finally, thank you to the athletes for participating in the FDC Camp and for being part of the growing female boxing movement in Ontario.

Full album available on Boxing Ontario’s Facebook page.

Photo credit: Boxing Ontario | @boxingontario