Female boxers set for showdown

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Tomorrow night, two-time Canadian boxing champion Mary Spencer will be fighting in a ring in London, Ontario.

In less than three years, she may be fighting for a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

Spencer from Windsor will be taking on women's national Golden Gloves champion Taylor Lord-Wilder in the main event in the Canada vs. the United States Showdown in the Downtown boxing card at the London Convention Centre.

The show is a reincarnation of the Banger in the Hanger last held three years ago.

The event is to raise money for kidney research and to raise awareness of kidney disease.

Spencer is the world champion in the welterweight division,but tomorrow she'll be fighting in the heavier 69-to-75-kilogram middleweight category.

For the first time, women's boxing has been made an Olympic event and the middleweight category is one of only three weight categories being used.

"There's going to be 250 men and 36 women competing at the Olympics in boxing," Spencer said.

"It's great we are finally in there but for people who think 'you are finally equal'. . . wow but not quite."

Spencer has won six national titles and is a two-time world champion. She was about the announcement that women's boxing was going to be included, but she took it in stride.

"To be honest, I had played it over in my minds hundreds of time. The actual day that it came, it felt like deja vu," Spencer said. "I expected it to happen and was prepared for it to happen. I didn't want to get a surprise and think 'oh my God, we going to the Olympics. I have to change weight categories or train differently.' I didn't want that surprise."

Since there are only three women's weight classes at the Olympics, Spencer has had to move into the middleweight division, a move she feels comfortable with.

"When I was fighting as a welterweight, I didn't have a weight problem. I was comfortable there. I was just used to doing what I had to do to stay there," she said. "Now that I'm fighting heavier, it was perfect timing for the transition. I'm going on 25 and I noticed I was putting on weight for no apparent reason, probably aging a little bit. So it was kind of perfect. I feel like I am getting stronger and I don't have to limit myself to not eating enough to stay at a weight.

"I'm trying to get stronger, trying to get the right protein and right amount of protein. If I was fighting at welterweight, I would have to watch that. I feel that is right for me all along."

From her bout tomorrow, Spencer will go to the Canadian championships in January. She will prepare for tournaments that will qualify her for the Olympics.

But she suspects the three Olympics categories will be busy as Canadian fighters move weight categories in order to get a crack at qualifying.

"Or if they don't want to go to Olympics, if they know some of the best boxers are going there, they may say, 'here's a good year to be a Canadian champion in another category.'

"One thing for sure, it's going to be very packed in those categories in international competition."

While Spencer/Lord-Wilder is the featured bout, it's going to be an interesting card.

The most intriguing bout will have Faisal Rehman or should we say Dr. Faisal Rehman, program director of the division of nephrology at London Health Sciences Centre, fighting for the first time. His specialty is treating kidney disease.

Rehman will fight Rick Mayoh in a three-round middleweight bout. Rehman, 38, boxed when he was younger and has used the training to lose weight and get back to good health.

The event was looking to sell 500 tickets and it has done that. It includes dinner, silent auction and former Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo as the special guest.

There are a few tickets still available, but not many.

Bouts

Featherweight Male Division (57 kg) - 3 rounds

Josh O'Reilly vs Adrian Marsh

Welterweight Female Division (66 kg) - 3 rounds

Jessica McRae vs Andrecia Wasson

Male Welterweight Division (69 kg) - 3 rounds

Steven Wilcox vs Jose Arambula

Male Middleweight Division (75 kg) - 3 rounds

Aljermaine Burnett vs Tracy Rollins

Male Light Heavyweight Division (81 kg) - 3 rounds

Ryan Laprise vs Harry Langhurst

Male Middleweight Division (75 kg) - 3 rounds

Faisal Rehman vs Rick Mayoh

MAIN EVENT

Female Middleweight Division (75 kg) - 3 rounds

Mary Spencer vs Taylor Lord-Wilder


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