Out to punch

Three lo­cal box­ers headed to Ring­side World Cham­pi­onships.

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­post.com On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

Natali Fa­gan wanted to push her com­pet­i­tive box­ing ca­reer by go­ing else­where to seek a chal­lenge. The only prob­lem was get­ting there.

That’s when she turned to crowd­fund­ing web­site makeachamp.com, where ath­letes can ask the In­ter­net to help fi­nan­cially fund their goals of reach­ing a big tour­na­ment or to help off­set costs as­so­ci­ated with train­ing. In this case, Fa­gan was hop­ing to com­pete at the 15th an­nual Ring­side World Cham­pi­onships in In­de­pen­dence, Mo., next week.

“This is the kind of com­pe­ti­tion I re­ally need,” said the 25year-old from Syd­ney. “I’ve been box­ing for a while and I felt like I wasn’t de­vel­op­ing as a fighter due to the lack of com­pe­ti­tion (in At­lantic Canada).”

Fa­gan said she had no prob­lem reach­ing the goal of $1,800. But the sup­port from both friends and com­plete strangers went be­yond the money.

“I felt hes­i­tant do­ing it in the past be­cause there are so many more ac­com­plished ath­letes and so many peo­ple out there that needed sup­port,” she said. “But so many peo­ple got be­hind me, and that kind of sup­port is an ex­tra bonus. Me go­ing into this just feel­ing all that sup­port made me feel bet­ter men­tally, which made me train bet­ter and fight bet­ter.”

Fa­gan, a sil­ver medal­list at na­tion­als last year, said box­ing has helped her bat­tle de­pres­sion, which she’s been deal­ing with for a while. Af­ter her loss in the fi­nal at na­tion­als last year, she be­gan to ques­tion whether or not she was im­prov­ing in the sport.

How­ever, she says she’s seen a big change in her­self over the past year.

“My fo­cus and my men­tal state has been bet­ter than it’s ever been, which is a big part for me. It im­proves you phys­i­cally and in the way you train,” she said. “Hav­ing all as­pects of my life in bal­ance — phys­i­cal, men­tal, spir­i­tual — that’s what makes you or breaks you as an ath­lete. I feel like I’m closer to that than I’ve been in a while.”

Ring­side next week is the first step. Fa­gan also has her sights set on na­tion­als and wants to trade in her sil­ver for a gold medal.

“I don’t want to train just to train, I have to fight. I want to be a boxer. I want to be a fighter,” she said. “I want to go back to na­tion­als and win gold. I al­ways need that goal that I’m work­ing to­wards.”

Two mem­bers of the Tri-Town Box­ing Club in North Syd­ney will also be mak­ing the trip to Mis­souri. Six­teen-year-old Thomas Foster of Syd­ney Mines will fight in the open cat­e­gory, while 15year-old Josh Prince of North Syd­ney will be in the novice di­vi­sion.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited and I’m ready to push my­self and see how I’ve im­proved since na­tion­als and my last com­pe­ti­tion,” said Foster, a pro­vin­cial cham­pion who’s com­peted at both a Cana­dian Golden Gloves cham­pi­onship and na­tion­als.

The Ring­side event will be the first big event for Prince.

“Just to see all the styles that fight and get my­self bet­ter,” he said of what he’s look­ing for­ward to.

T.J. COLELLO/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Lo­cal box­ers, from left, Josh Prince of North Syd­ney, Natali Fa­gan of Syd­ney and Thomas Foster of Syd­ney Mines pose in front of a Ring­side World Cham­pi­onship belt at the Syd­ney Box­ing Club on Wed­nes­day. The three pugilists will com­pete at the tour­na­ment for a cham­pi­onship of their own in In­de­pen­dence, Mo., Aug. 5-8.

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