Boxer Mandy Bujold ready to put on show for home fans
As Mandy Bujold has discovered, not everyone has gotten the news that women's boxing has been added for the 2012 London Olympics.
"Every once in a while, someone will ask 'Are you guys going to be in the Olympics. Did you get accepted?'" said Bujold. "I'm like 'Really?' I know it's easy for me to say, but I understand not everybody's following it."
Well, the fine folks of Bujold's hometown of Kitchener are in for a treat on Friday night. Not only will they get to see Bujold fight at the Arnie Boehm Training Centre located at the new Activa SportsPlex, she's the headliner on a card billed as "The Homecoming."
It's been a little over five years since she last fought in Kitchener.
"It's exciting," said Bujold. "Even my parents have only seen me fight once and that was when I fought here in Kitchener. I remember the last time I fought here I was a little more nervous just because I knew everybody who was there. I'm a totally different fighter now. I'm obviously been around for a while so hopefully I can block that out a little better. It's definitely going to be a good show."
The five-time Canadian senior flyweight champion, a strong hope to earn a berth for London, is anxious to give many of the fans their first taste of female boxing.
"Even though I'm the only female fight on the card, I think they'll be able to see there's no difference from the guys' fight to my fight," she said. "They'll be able to see how we're fitting right in there and we're going to the Olympics, we're going all the way and there's no difference in what we're doing when we're in the ring. It's nice that I'm the only female fight and I'm the main event. It just goes to show we're doing good."
Bujold is preparing right now for the Pan Am Games in October in Mexico with an eye towards the most important event of her career, the Olympic qualifier in China to be held in April or May.
Friday night's event will help her defray her expenses. She receives monthly carding from Sport Canada but has had to pay pretty much the full freight for the five events she competed in this past year at a cost of around $2,000 per. Boxing Canada has been little help.
She's lucky to have great grassroots support in Kitchener from groups like the Lions Club. Many of the supporters who bought tickets for Friday have never been to a boxing event before; they just want to help their hometown athlete.
The general admission seats have been sold out in advance at $15, but they are still selling some VIP tickets for $50 that include hors d'oeuvres and beverages at the fight plus an after party. Tickets can be purchased at the gym or can be reserved by sending Bujold a message on her website.
"I've had so many people over the past few years 'Oh, let me know when you're fighting. Let me know when you're fighting in town.' Now, we're finally going to do it."
Here's a bit of a preview. That's Bujold in red:
(Photo: Mathew McCarthy, Kitchener Record)