Lead photo is from the latest FDC Performance & Development Camp hosted at Boomerz Boxing in London, ON.

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the 2024 theme for the global day of action and celebration is “Inspire Inclusion”. Boxing Ontario’s Female Development Committee is embodying the 2024 #IWD theme through their passion to grow and develop female boxing in our province.

One of the ways in which the Committee inspires inclusion is through their efforts to plan and execute Performance & Development Camps that provide female athletes with increased opportunities to spar and to learn from each other.

Some of the persistent challenges facing women’s boxing is finding matches and sparring partners. The Female Development Committee aims to combat these challenges by hosting monthly training camps that are designed to bring together female athletes of all ages, levels, and weight classes from across the province to spar, train, and network.

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 at a previous FDC Camp.

The Committee works together to develop diverse programs; liaise with members gyms to host the camps; coordinate guest speakers and other specialists to present wholistic learning; make matches, execute the programs in-person at gyms across Ontario, and much more.

Boxing Ontario would like to thank the FDC for their ongoing dedication to developing female boxing in the province of Ontario. Your 2024 Female Development Committee members are:

  • Mandy Bujold
  • Penny Leimbrock
  • Josh Canty
  • Jay Corcoran
  • Kathy Sjouwerman

Increased opportunities, visibility, and promotion are some of the ways in which women’s boxing will continue to grow in Ontario. In addition to the FDC mandate, member gyms are hosting more events specifically designed to provide increased opportunities to female athletes, such as all-female sparring, and all-female cards at club competitions (ie. Budo, Girls Just Wanna Box).

Role models such as Ontario’s Scarlett Delgado and Mckenzie Wright—who are both currently pursuing their Olympic dreams—plus female athletes on the Elite Provincial and Youth & Junior Provincial teams will inspire future Olympians and high-performance athletes to embark on their competitive boxing journeys. 

Also, increased numbers of women are enrolling in coaching courses and officiating clinics. However, there is more work to be done to achieve equity at a local, provincial, national, and international level. Here are a few small ways we can collectively #InspireInclusion: