Three-time AIBA Women World Middleweight Champion and five time Panamerican Games gold medallist Mary Spencer is on the path to greatness after having firmly established herself as the best female boxer of her generation. She has become an icon of the sport and continues to inspire woman worldwide to take up boxing. The 27-year-old Canadian will be able to cement her place in history when female boxing makes its debut at the London 2012 Olympics Games this summer. She was given the honour of carrying her national flag during the closing ceremony at the most recent Panamerican Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, confirming her status as her one of her nation's top athletes.
We were keen to know more from the sensation that is Mary Spencer
Carrying your country's flag during the closing ceremony of the Panamerican Games, how did it feel?
The closing ceremony was amazing, I was such an honour to be asked to be the flag bearer, it was an experience that I will never forget.
You are the best place to judge so what is the difference between women's boxing when you first started and as it is today?
Well with time it has changed a lot, with more experience comes better knowledge. The level of coaching has also gone up and the sport gaining more exposure, especially now with women's boxing back on the Olympic programme. A lot of young and hungry boxers have come in and really raised the level. It is really tough and competitive nowadays.
You seem to have been around forever but are still only 27, how did you get involved in boxing?
I was always a sports fanatic and I took up boxing after my basketball season ended and I wanted to keep in shape. Since then I have not looked back, the energy in boxing is unrivalled in sports. I might be biased but in my opinion boxers are some the fittest athletes in the world.
We hear you are guided by one the coaches around, who is he and what your relationship like?
Charlie Stewart is one of the best in the business, he has been a coach at three Olympic Games already and I like his intensity, and I have evolved so much as a fighter and as a person under his tutelage. One of the keys to my success has been learning how to adapt in the ring.
What do you love most about boxing?
I love the competition. Women's boxing is developing at a rapid pace and it is great to always have to continue improving and upping ones' game. Some of the other competitors are absolutely amazing.
Tell us more about your direct rivals, for instance were you surprised when AIBA World Champion Roselli Feitosa lost in her semi-final in Guadalajara?
All the woman are very strong, you can really feel a huge shift in the level. There is also a big growth in grassroots developments so there is a lot of exciting talent coming through. I wqas tested by some fighters I had never faced before. For Feitosa, well anything can happen, if you switch off just for a fraction of a second you get punished, her opponent the Dominican boxer Yenebier Guillen was awesome during the tournament and thoroughly deserved to win, it is tough out there. Feitosa will bounce back, no doubt about it.
How did you feel after winning the final?
It was an odd sensation, I knew I had won but in my mind nothing was over. Normally when I reach the final I am the last to fight but in Guadalajara there were still the 51kg and 60kg finals to be contested the following day. I could not enjoy my victory knowing my teammate and best friend Mandy Bujold still had to fight, though when she won the Flyweight division, it was absolute elation.
Focusing on 2012, how confident are you feeling about the defence of your World title and who do you see as your main rivals?
I am confident in my training schedule and know I'll be in the best shape possible coming into the championships, however I know better than to get ahead of myself. I will focus on the AIBA Women's World Championships only once I have won the Canadian National Championships. This will be my hardest defence yet with rivals from Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Brazil, and China all serious contenders.
You talk about your training schedule, what is it like?
I like to mix it up; I am very meticulous in my preparations and train as hard as I possibly can. It is a pretty hectic schedule, I train intensely three-times a day five days a week with the trainer and the coaching staff and on top of that I have one rest day and one with just a light training routine.
Away from boxing, what do you like?
I used to enjoy figure skating, athletics, basketball, soccer and volleyball which I get to practise once in a while but mostly I enjoy relaxing after a hard day's training, putting my feet up with a good book.
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