The success of the first-ever West Coast Wonder Women all-female boxing card last weekend in Sooke already has organizers talking about next year.
Hundreds of spectators took in the two-day event at the Sooke Community Hall. The card featured 58 boxers from first-time fighters to Olympic hopefuls, and was the first all-women event held in Western Canada.
“It was an amazing event just to see people come together. The energy was so good,” said Ellen Connor, owner of the Sooke Boxing Club and organizer of the event.
“We had community support, people came out and watched, and everyone left happy.”
Nineteen clubs from throughout Western Canada and the U.S. participated in Wonder Women in 35 bouts
Eight women from the Sooke Boxing Club fought in the event, including Tia Nunn, Janelle Simone, Aranza Santana, Arianna Santana, Dawn Gibson, Jill Doucet, Mel Bishop and Kya Burley.
“It’s always hard for girls to find fights and there are very few female cards worldwide,” Connor said. “So this event allowed women to come from all over and find a match.”
Connor, who took over Sooke Boxing Club two years ago, has seen the organization grow by leaps and bounds. West Coast Wonder Women follows the club’s successful Sooke Slam, held last fall.
West Coast Wonder Women was a little different for the Sooke Boxing Club as it invited women to take part who had never tried the sport.
One of those boxers was Sooke News Mirror reporter Dawn Gibson. She won her fight on Saturday night in a split decision over Pacifica, California’s Marissa Lai.
It’s difficult to get women involved in boxing, and it’s part of the reason there are so few women cards, Connor said.
“Everyone has a misconception of what boxing is all about. It does so much for personal growth. So many women won’t try it because of fear,” she said.
West Coast Wonder Women will become an annual event and is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the future.
“The caliber of these fights were amazing. It gave the girls a place to go where they can possibly get a fight and enjoy the sport to its fullest,” Connor said.