On January 21, Boxing Ontario lost a dedicated, long-standing official, Eileen Bender.

Admired and respected by all who knew her, Eileen’s passion for life came through in her devotion to family and community. Inspired by her family’s involvement with boxing, Eileen decided to step into the Boxing Ontario community in 1981 and became an official with Boxing Ontario in 1983.

She was embraced by the Cabbagetown Boxing family, especially in the early years, and she was an important figure in the Boxing Ontario family. Eileen was recognized by her peers as kind and patient with a lot of class. She brought an expectation of calm, safety, and fairness to the sport. Not only was she a competent official, but she was also warm and caring towards the boxers.

Eileen ran officiating clinics and mentored many new officials. She achieved international accreditation as an amateur boxing official, and travelled with Team Canada in the capacity of Team Official on two occasions and as Team Manager for a women’s international competition in Italy. She officiated seven national and 16 provincial competitions. Those who worked with her said she was an amazing Chief Official and was always a pleasure to work with.

We honour Eileen Bender on International Women’s Day for her incredible impact, dedication, and service to the sport of boxing, and for paving the way for future female officials.

Photos courtesy of Rob Bender