Out to punch
Three local boxers headed to Ringside World Championships.
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.
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.