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 Scarlett here!
“I treat every fight like a world title, I never take any of my opponents for granted – I’m very aware we both want the same goals.“
Why did you first start boxing?
My father has been a boxing coach for over thirty years, my parents met in his gym. I’ve always been around the boxing gym since birth, but I did not start training until my grandfather passed away when I was 13 years old. Boxing was my only outlet. I asked my father to compete when I was 15 years old and he refused. It was not until I was 17 years old and had been competing in freestyle wrestling for three years that I was able to convince my father I had the fighting streak in me to handle combat competition.
When did you realize that you wanted to reach the top as a competitor?
Ever since I knew I wanted to compete I knew I wanted to be at the top. I used boxing to challenge myself, I was learning the skills, but I never felt confident unless I was able to test them in competition. Every challenge in training I conquered felt like a piece of me was becoming stronger, like I was building myself into a woman I knew my grandfather always hoped me to be. I always wanted to compete against the top competitors because I knew they would expose the areas I needed to strengthen, it was constantly a “train and test” mindset for me.
Tell us about your progression in the sport?
My first eight years in the sport I learned many lessons, my father dedicated a lot of time to building a strong foundation in my style. Very old school and gritty, he pushed me sometimes to my breaking point in training just to show me that I can handle anything, and the only person who can break me is myself. A couple years into my competitive career, I had the opportunity to work Olympian Mandy Bujold in her 2016 Brazil training camp. This is when I had a preview of what an athlete had to do in training to reach world-class level. My father had me traveling to the USA frequently for fights to get more experience, and I had had a few opportunities to travel to Europe and gain international experience.
The pandemic was a game changer. As horrible as it was, there were silver linings in the clouds. I got a message from Mandy inviting me to be a part of her training camp for the Tokyo Games, and this is where I had the chance to take my training to a completely different level. Training with Mandy I was also learning from all her international experience; the more my skills sharpened, the better work I can give her as well. Sydney Vanderpool, my current head boxing coach, introduced me to a different style of training that really complemented my previous style. He has spent countless hours drilling, fine tuning, and sharpening very specific techniques to take me to the next level on the international stage.
The year I had training with Mandy and Syd really elevated my performances, but more importantly I was starting to really enjoy the sport more than I ever have. My performance coach Gaetan Boutin has been extremely important to my growth and development inside and out of the ring. Gaetan is the reason I maintain a healthy relationship with my mind and body; he has educated me on my nutrition, lifestyle, and he’s constantly gifting me books to promote my growth and understand sport psychology. Gaetan is a constant in my life, devoted to my success, and is always guiding me down the path to show up the best version of myself every day and I’m eternally grateful that he has been here for me. My dad, Gaetan, Sydney, and Mandy all have had extremely significant roles in my progression in the sport, and because of them I hold my head high with confidence when I step into the ring to represent our nation.
What has your biggest challenge been as a competitive boxer?
Getting out of my own way. It’s very common for combat athletes to hold a level of ego negatively projected towards others, and this can create a lot of blockages and missed opportunities. When I was young, I was always just “ready to fight” and the “results” of winning or losing meant everything to me, but as I spent a lot of time with my performance coach, Gaetan Boutin, he taught me how to shift my focus from the results to my performance. We can’t control the outcomes of every competitive bout, sometimes we get bad decisions and calls from judges and referees, it’s part of being an athlete in every sport. Therefore, learning how to “control what I can control” and focusing on showing up the best version of myself in that very moment was crucial to my mental performance going into competition.
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?
It was a beautiful feeling; I know how much work my team and myself have been doing for 11 years to get to this point, and it’s so amazing to see all the hard work producing its own results. I treat every fight like a world title, I never take any of my opponents for granted – I’m very aware we both want the same goals. I’m laser focused on my journey and I’m confident with my team’s preparation with me going into these qualifying tournaments, my only job in the moment is to show up and execute at that point.
Where can people find out more about you and support your journey?
Boxing club: Destiny Boxing
Coach(es) name(s): Sydney Vanderpool, Gaetan Boutin
Boxing career highlights: Canadian Champion, AMBC Continental Champion, ranked Top 5 in the world under IBA
Hometown: Brampton, ON
Favourite food: Ceviche
Favourite music: 90’s hip hop & R&B
Favourite movie: Casino
Favourite boxer: Julio Cesar Chavez
Hobbies: Painting, Piano, Reading
Future goals: Olympic Gold