Four Ontario athletes from the Elite National team will be competing at the AMBC Continental Championships (a direct qualifying event for the Pan Am Games) in Cali, Colombia from August 3-10, 2023. This tournament is the next step on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics!

The athletes competed for their spots on Team Canada during the Pan American Games (PAG) Domestic Qualification Competition in Montreal, QC from June 20-23, 2023.

Learn more about Mckenzie here!

Mckenzie Wright

“…to see all my hard work and relentless commitment come to fruition for that moment meant a lot to me. I was really proud to overcome those challenges and prove that I am the #1 boxer at the 50kg class.”

Why did you first start boxing?

In high school I took a few self-defence classes as part of our gym curriculum. I really enjoyed it so that experience led to me to take up kickboxing, where I was a member of the national team for a few years and accumulated almost 40 fights.

When did you realize that you wanted to reach the top as a competitor?

I started taking recreational kickboxing classes, and after class one day saw the advanced competitors gearing up for sparring. I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to try. I was told I needed to train for at least six months before sparring, so I set that as my first goal. I loved it and wanted to keep progressing. I saw other athletes on travel/competitive teams and wanted to be part of that and compete at that level.

Tell us about your progression in the sport?

There weren’t many girls competing in kickboxing at the time, so to get more fights I started switching between boxing and kickboxing. Naturally, I was a better puncher than kicker so easily (and happily) I made the transition to strictly boxing. After two years I won my first Provincial Championship and attended my first Nationals. I didn’t win Nationals but came back more determined and won my first National Championships the following year. I travelled with the national team and was introduced to international competition, which were great experiences. I took a few years break from boxing to pursue other interests and travel but am now back to the sport and love it more then ever. I now have four senior provincial titles and three national senior titles under my belt with 60 boxing fights and can’t wait to add more.

What has your biggest challenge been as a competitive boxer?

My biggest challenge as a competitive boxer is getting fights. There aren’t as many women at my weight that are Open class in the area, so matches have always been difficult to find. Finding matches requires me to always go up in weight classes and travel—which requires funding and is another challenge in itself.

How did you feel when you won your finals at the Domestic Qualifiers and earned your spot to compete in Colombia for the Pan Am Qualifiers?

I felt on cloud nine after winning the Domestic Qualifiers. I outboxed my opponents and was able to show my experience and skill. Not many know the other stressful commitments I have been trying to balance with training leading up to the tournament, so to see all my hard work and relentless commitment come to fruition for that moment meant a lot to me. I was really proud to overcome those challenges and prove that I am the #1 boxer at the 50kg class. It’s been a long journey in this sport, and I feel like it’s my time.

Where can people find out more about you and support your journey?

People can find out more about my journey through my Instagram where I have a link to my GoFundMe page. I often share pictures and videos of my training and competitions on my page. There, they can read about my athletic career and join the team! My Instagram handle is @mckenziewrightt.

Boxing club: City Boxing Club, Niagara Falls, ON

Coach’s name: Jesse Sallows

Boxing career highlights: 3x National Champion, Continental silver medalist

Hometown: Oakville, ON

Favourite food: Pizza

Favourite music: Top 40’s

Favourite movie: Titanic

Favourite boxer: Lucia Rijker

Hobbies: Wildlife photography (specifically African wildlife)

Future goals: 2024 Olympics