By Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool
I met my first female boxer when she was 12 years old. She was raised by a good family, but like many girls her age she had doubts about herself. She felt like she wasn’t good enough and wouldn’t amount to anything. We trained together for a year and then I took her to her first boxing match when she was 13 years old. She won the fight. She ended up losing the decision to the other fighter, since we fought in the other boxer’s home show.
My boxer was in disbelief and really upset that she never got the decision. She looked at her second place trophy and wanted to throw it. I quickly took it out of her hands. She was very upset and cried and started yelling. She did not understand how she did not have her hand raised after she fought so well. She told me that she wasn’t good enough and wasn’t good at anything. Then the coach of the boxer we fought came into the dressing room with a first place trophy and told us he thought we had done enough to win the fight so he wanted my boxer to have the first place trophy. My fighter’s face lit up when it was given to her.
I sat with her explaining how well she had fought and the fact that she never got the decision didn’t mean she didn’t win the fight or that she wasn’t the better boxer, it just meant the referees were watching another fight and not the one she was fighting. She wanted to quit and didn’t want to return to the gym. She stated, “I’m not good at anything!”
We sat and talked for a good 15-20 minutes until she was calm. She finally decided to get changed so we could go home. I let her know how proud I was of her, the fight she fought and that I felt that she shouldn’t quit because she did not lose the fight. The next week I was hoping that she would show up to the gym. Monday she didn’t show up. On Wednesday she walked through the door and I was pleased that she never gave up on herself.
At 15 years of age, she went on to fight for the Canadian Boxing Championships and won the Canadian title and best female boxer of the tournament.This title made her the youngest female Canadian boxing champion in the Tri-Cities.
She stopped boxing for a while, returning to the gym 5 years later at the age of 20 with her sights set on the Canadian championships. Leading up to the Nationals we had a fight where her opponent hit her on the nose so hard it was fractured. The fracture meant that it may not heal in time to fight at the Nationals. She really wanted to go to the Nationals and knew that a doctor probably wouldn’t approve her to fight with her fractured nose.
We continued to train with the intent of going. I was her sparring partner so I controlled my punches to miss her fractured nose so that it could heal. Until one sparring practice when she deflected one of my punches and the punch ended up hitting her on the nose. She backed away holding her nose and crying from the pain. I went over to her apologizing for accidentally having the punch hit her nose and she just unleashed a barrage of punches on me as I attempted to cover up. I was surprised at how hard her punches were coming at me and said: “yes, that’s what I want to see”.
Her fractured nose healed well enough for the doctor to approve her to fight and so we travelled to the Nationals. She was punching so hard out of fear of being hit in the nose that she ended up boxing really well. She boxed so well she ended up winning the gold medal and for the second time became Canadian champion.
From a shy quiet girl who felt she was not good at anything and wanted to quit, to a two-time Canadian champion who also won the best boxer of the tournament at the Nationals!!
“With Hope It’s Possible!”
Originally posted 2016-12-14 16:33:39.