City boxer earns spot at Canadian national training camp

Sarnia’s Kaitlyn Clark, left, celebrates a victory in 2019 against Krishen Lysenko. Submitted photo

Troy Shantz

A Sarnia boxer credits daily workouts and sparring with a Canadian Olympian during the pandemic for her recent success at a selection camp.

Kaitlyn Clark was one of just four female boxers picked for the Canadian National Team training camp in Montreal next month.

Clark said training with Olympian Mandy Bujold gave her the edge.

“Every day we were in the gym together training, sparring, learning so much. Every day I knew I had to level up,” she said.

“It changed my life and changed my boxing career.”

Clark, who won gold at the 2019 National Championship, got her start at the Bluewater Boxing Club. She is currently living and training in the Waterloo Region, training at the same gym as Bujold, who represented Canada at the Tokyo Games.

Clark said Bujold would normally have trained with an elite fighter in her same weight category leading up to the Olympics, but pandemic travel restrictions made her a logical choice.

For 19 months they remained in the same bubble, and as Bujold trained for the games, Clark gained valuable experience working with a world-ranked flyweight.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” said Clark.

The experience made her confident heading into the multi-day national selection camp. It was held in Mississauga this summer and open to fighters with ten or more under their belt. Competitors were judged on stance, technique, fitness, punches and coachability, she said.

“It was pretty intense because you knew that everything you threw had to be quality,” said the 70 kg fighter. “You want it to be perfect.”

On Nov. 14 Clark will begin a 10-day camp at the National training centre squad, with spots on the National Team up for grabs.

An international competition is tentatively planned for later this year, with the Canadian Nationals scheduled for March.

In 2019 Clark won gold at the National Championships in Victoria, defeating boxers from Quebec and British Columbia to claim a national title. The following February she won silver at the Golden Girl Tournament – the largest women’s boxing meet in the world.

Clark said her goal is to compete at the Commonwealth Games next summer, and the 2024 Olympics after that.