|Role:||Boxer for FTEC 2016|
|Organisation:||Fight to End Cancer & Kingsway Boxing Club|
Sam will be one of the two female fighters in this years Fight to End Cancer Event held in Toronto, Canada on June 4th 2016.
Fight to End Cancer is a charity founded by Boxing Coach and International Referee Jennifer Huggins. Each year, the event features a new group of white-collar men and women with no prior boxing experience, taking their new found skills to the ring. The aim of the event is to raise as much money as possible for Princess Margaret Urgent Cancer Priorities Fund at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
Sam is one of those fighters who will be stepping into the ring for the first time and has trained tirelessly over the last few months to get herself fit and learn how to become a boxer. She will be fighting Natasa Jaymnick-Sousa
We were lucky enough to speak with Natasa about her reasons for wanting to take on such a challenge and how working with Jennifer has inspired her to want to continue…
I decided to get involved in the Fight to End Cancer for many reasons. The main reason as to why I decided to take part in this incredible event was because I know how many people it will help in the end. I have known far to many people who have been touched by Cancer, which is why I want to do what I can on my and to finally put an end to this terrible disease. I have grown up watching my dad as a Sick Kids Hospital volunteer, and I have personally met many children and families who were battling with Cancer. Some made it, and some didn’t. Two years ago my father Mitch stepped into the ring for Fight to End Cancer as the main event and last year my uncle Ryan fought; watching them duke it out truly inspired me to get involved as well. I am fighting for my Bubbie and Grandpa who are Cancer survivors, as well as the beautiful Sarah Watkin who unfortunately passed away last year. I am also fighting on behalf of every individual who is striving for a Cancer free future!
Although boxing is a new sport that I have been involved in, I have a background in karate. I started karate when I was three years old and trained for sixteen years. I began to compete at the age of thirteen and was apart of the Ontario Provincial team, as well as the Canadian National team. Although I do have experience in Martial Arts, I have noticed how vastly different the two sports are! My roles in both karate and boxing are completely different yet the same in some ways. Karate was a sport that I did for myself; I was extremely competitive and trained 5-6 days a week and travelled around the world to many different places. On the other hand, boxing has allowed me to take a different stance because I am not only fighting for myself, but I am fighting on behalf of those who didn’t get a fighting chance and had Cancer defeat them. My mission has always been to fight, but now I am able to fight for what I really want… a future without Cancer!
Training has been going incredibly well. I have noticed a huge difference in my abilities since I first started the sport. To be a great boxer, I have noticed how important it is to have the proper technique and incredible cardio/stamina. I have been focusing a lot on my cardio because I want to ensure that I do not get tired against my match with Natasa. Without the proper cardio and conditioning, it will be extremely difficult to get through the fight. I attend conditioning classes and technical classes at Kingsway Boxing Club, the coaches are absolutely amazing and I have so much faith in them, I know they will get me to where I need to be on June 4th. I have also focused on strengthening my shoulder muscles and my upper back because it does take a lot of effort to keep your hands up and block your face for the entire duration of the match.
Since I do have previous martial art experience, I feel like the competition aspect of it has prepared me for when I have to fight against Natasa on June 4th. Being a fighter and an athlete means that you not only have to prepare your body physically, but also it is crucial to be mentally prepared. I know what it takes to give a sport my all and put the effort in to win my fight. I do feel confidence and aggression comes naturally to me now, but I believe everyone handles it differently. It took me a while to progressively get to the point where I am today. I definitely had to work hard at it growing up.
We definitely have no hard feelings towards each other. Although we are both putting in the work to win our fight, we know that our main goal is to raise awareness about Cancer and to raise as much money as we can towards the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. We do speak about this incredible journey and we respect each other for taking the initiative to kick Cancer’s but. Even though we will be facing each other as the “co-main event”, I acknowledge what an incredible person she is for being apart of FTEC.
I haven’t been faced with too many challenges yet but it definitely is not easy raising $10,000 like I hope to do, which is why I need your support by donating how ever much you are able to. I have watched my dad and my uncle go through this process for two years, which allowed me to prepare myself and fully understand what being a fighter for FTEC entails. I think on fight night my biggest challenge will be to ensure that I am strategic during my fight and to make sure that my hands are up at all times! I understand that I will have adrenaline, but I do not want to make silly mistakes that could have been prevented in the first place. This can be avoided by putting my time in at the gym.
It is a huge honour to train with Jen! I can tell how passionate she is about boxing as a sport and the Fight to End Cancer event. Jen truly pushes me to my limits and allows me to think outside of the box. When I attend her technical classes I am able to see things from a whole new perspective, which allows me to become a more adaptable boxer. Jen catches the mistakes that I make in our training sessions, and takes the time to explain to me how I could improve. She truly takes the time to encourage and explain the sport of boxing. Since Jen is a registered referee for Boxing Ontario, I believe that her experience is very valuable and I am privileged to be taught by her. Jen may be cute and small but she is one tough cookie… there is no time to mess around in class, she gets right to business! That is why she is so inspiring and an amazing coach; I strive to be more like her everyday.
I would tell any women to take a leap of faith and give new things a try that you might never have seen yourself partaking in. I never thought in a million years that I would move from one sport that I was dedicated to (which was non-contact), and move to such an aggressive, contact and technical boxing sport, while in the midst of raising money for Cancer research dollars. You will never know what you like or dislike without facing certain obstacles that come your way. Fight to End Cancer has opened my vision and perspectives in so many ways, and I have now fallen in love with boxing! No matter what your fears may be face them and know that there will be a support system to help guide you along the process. Not everything is easy in the beginning but if you continue to work harder every day you can achieve anything that you put your mind to. You can do it!
One hundred percent! I find that boxing gives me the most incredible workout because I am working every muscle in my body while keeping great conditioning. I find that I get a much better workout doing a boxing class then going to the gym and doing my own workout. I have a new family at boxing that I have grown to love, respect, and appreciate… I always look forwards to seeing them, which is another reason why I will keep on training after my fight.
I am hoping to raise $10,000 or higher, and I cannot do it alone. If you know someone who has had cancer, if you have beat cancer yourself, and/or recognize how lethal this disease is than please support me on this journey! You can donate by going on www.fighttoendcancer.com to make an online donation. Any donation over $15 will receive a tax receipt as well. No donation is too small or too big, making a difference along side me will help many who have suffered. Thank you in advance!