The Boxing Ontario Female Development Committee (FDC) grew from the need to have female voices and representation in the sport of boxing. The goal and purpose are to ensure that there is equality, diversity, and safe spaces in all aspects of the sport of boxing for women and girls.
The FDC’s committee members are passionate about upholding the #ChooseToChallenge theme every day and creating equal opportunity for women in boxing. International Women’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to meet the members and learn more about their achievements and goals.
Lee Smith – Official/Coach
I joined Boxing Ontario in 2008 as a boxer with Liverpool Boxing Club under Preston Roberts. It was from there that I became a coach. Shortly thereafter, I became an official in 2009. I am currently a Level 4 official. Over the past twelve years, I have officiated over 1,400 bouts across Ontario, the US and Puerto Rico.
My focus is always to help our athletes and our boxing community. I have held open sparring and referee training across Ontario with the goal to help all boxers and clubs network with each other while training new officials. I also assist coaches with matchmaking for their club competitions.
My efforts are in hopes of making a difference and change so that our athletes, coaches, officials, clubs, and Boxing Ontario can prosper and grow. This is why the creation of the Female Development Committee was imperative, I fought for it, and I am excited for the continued work I get to do with the FDC.
Kristina Ejem – Coach/Promoter
I am from Sudbury originally where I fell in love with the sport and have been boxing for over 20 years. I started coaching in 2007 and my many roles in boxing since have been fighter manager, gym manager/owner, corporate/club boxing event producer, and promoter. I have had the privilege of being the Provincial Female Coach & Team Manager in 2017 and Female Coach again in 2018 travelling with our Ontario Team to the Nationals both years. I am the founding partner and coach of Girls Just Wanna Box, an all female training program and line of boxing and coaching gear made for women and girls.
The importance of the Female Development Committee to me is an extension of my personal mission to create safe and accessible spaces for women and girls in the sport of boxing. With the creation of the FDC we have the ability to work with all committees to ensure Boxing Ontario initiatives are considered through the lens of equity and inclusiveness with the goal of gender parity in the sport of boxing. The initiatives are ambitious, as are all members of the Female Development Committee.
Melinda Watpool – Amateur Boxer/Coach
In April 2007, I had my first boxing competition and was taken aback by the excitement and community of the sport. Since then I have had over 60 bouts, won five National Championships, competed at two World Championships as well as multiple international competitions.
I am a Level 2 Coach and volunteer at Dewith’s Boxing Studio where I have developed children and youth programs, held fundraisers, and organized club shows all for the benefit of growing boxing and athletes in Ontario.
I have been the head coach at Shape Your Life since 2017 and have had the pleasure of working with such wonderful people such as Jazz and Joanne. I am also the head coach for the SYL youth program in Niagara and Edmonton which has been a new adventure for me.
I’m excited to encourage and promote female athletes and coaches in boxing. Being part of the Female Development Committee has given me the opportunity to make real change in the sport of boxing regarding female equality.
Helene Jafine – Amateur Boxer/Coach
In 2012, I was working at a boxing club in London, England and boxing for fitness. I moved back to Toronto in 2014 and joined CBA Boxing Club, where I began training to compete. I have now completed my NCCP Level 1 Apprentice Coaching course and my Level 1 Cut Course. I was the assistant team manager for Boxing Ontario in 2017 and then team manager in 2018. I became an amateur fighter in March 2019 and look forward to fighting again. I teamed up with Kristina to co-create the Girls Just Wanna Box line of boxing gear, training programs, and community for women and girls.
I joined the FDC to help create a more inclusive environment for females and encourage them to join the sport. I also want to use the FDC to help support these female athletes, coaches, and officials to thrive and feel connected to the Boxing Ontario community.
Bonnie Hunter: Amateur Boxer/ Coach /Gym Owner
I started boxing at age 26 in 2010, and within the first year of boxing, competed at Provincials and Nationals, winning bronze at Nationals in Nova Scotia. I’ve had 60 fights, winning the Brampton Cup, Silver Gloves, Bronze Gloves, Ray McGibbons tournament, silver at Provincials and another bronze at Nationals.
I completed my Level 1 coach in 2013, and opened Gideon Boxing Academy with my husband in 2014, becoming assistant coach. I have been running female sparring at tournaments allowing me to work with many dedicated female boxers.
I had my daughter in 2017 and took a step back from competing regularly. I decided to focus more on coaching and gaining corner experience. In 2019, I was the female coach for the Provincial Team and had the joy of helping corner several female athletes in their gold-winning finals.
Kevin Hurley – Women’s Boxing Ally
I am a graduate of the Sport Management program at Humber College. I have worked multi-sport events across Canada, specializing in Volunteer Management.
I have a long passion for boxing which led to me volunteering at events, and a role as the Marketing and Event Coordinator with Boxing Ontario (2015-2017). During my time at Boxing Ontario I saw how underserved and underrepresented females were in the sport of boxing. This is why I am excited to be a part of the Female Development Committee and do whatever I can to help Ontario become a gender equity leader in the sport of boxing.
Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming Speaker Series presented by the FDC. The Series will feature exceptional women leaders in sport discussing a range of topics, and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend!