The Drive to Gold fundraising event for Olympic hopeful Mary Spencer held on September 17, 2011 was wildly successful. Mary won her bout in the ring against the 2010 Provincial Champion, Amber Groome from Edmonton. Hundreds of people from Windsor Essex packed the warehouse at Drive Logistics on Devon Drive to enjoy a fight night that also included live bands, auctions, and Arial Acrobatics. Mary would like to thank all of the volunteers, her sponsors and especially her main sponsor Drive Logistics for hosting and coordinating the event. Most importantly Mary would like to thank all of her fans and supporters, now dubbed “Team Spencer” who are helping her bring the Gold home to Windsor through their continued financial support, attendance at the events, and for simply cheering her on. Mary is now looking forward to the next event to be scheduled in early spring of 2012
Mary Spencer was born in Wiarton, Ontario in December 1984. She lived in Wiarton, Big Trout Lake, Detroit, and Owen Sound before settling in Windsor, Ontario. In her early years she attended Roseville Public School and played sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, track & field, and cross country. She attended high school at W.F. Herman Secondary where she played basketball, volleyball and soccer.
Mary began boxing in 2002 at the age of 17. After a few months of testing the ropes she found herself at the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club, training under 3 time Olympic coach, Charlie Stewart. 18 months later Mary won her first Canadian Championship in the 66kg weight division. It would be the first of many major accomplishments in the ring. That year, 2004, Mary went undefeated in International competitions, winning tournaments in Italy, Poland and Taiwan. She was awarded Canadian Boxer of the Year in her rookie year.
In 2005 Mary repeated as Canadian Champion and went on to have another undefeated year in International competition. She won her first Panamerican Championship in Argentina as well as her first World Championship in Russia. Mary was named the Best Boxer of the Tournament at the World Championships and later that year was also named Canadian Boxer of the Year.
In 2006 Mary won her third Canadian Championship as well as another gold at the Panamerican Championships. She attended her second World Championship later that year in New Delhi, India and although she easily won her fights to get her into the semi-finals, Mary suffered her first international loss, leaving her with a bronze medal.
Mary won her fourth Canadian Championship in 2007 and attended three international competitions. At the Ahmet Comert Cup in Istanbul, Turkey, Mary won a silver medal. At the Witch’s Cup in Hungary, Mary won a silver, and at the Panamerican Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador, she won a gold medal. She was named the 2007 Canadian Boxer of the Year.
2008 would prove to be a comeback year for Mary. She won her fifth Canadian Championship and did very well in international competition as well, again going undefeated internationally. She won gold at the Ahmet Comert Cup in Turkey, gold at the Panamerican Championship in Trinidad & Tobago (was also named Best Boxer of the Tournament) and gold at the World Championships in Ningbo, China. She was named Canadian Boxer of the Year for the fourth time, and was also inducted into the WF Herman Sports Hall of Fame.
2009 would see new weight divisions for female boxers and Mary decided to drop from 66 to 64kg. She won gold at the Canadian Championship in this new division. A month after her victory word was spread that the potential Olympic weight divisions would be 51kg, 54kg, 60kg, 69kg, and 75kg. Without hesitation Mary made the jump to 75kg, although walking around at the low end of the category (69.1), leaving the 69kg division to her friend and also 2 time World Champion, Ariane Fortin. She competed in her only international competition that year at 75kg in Ankara, Turkey. In the final Mary faced 75kg World Champion Jinzi Li of China and came out victorious by a score of 4-2. The rest of the year was spent preparing for this new weight division.
In August 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced the inclusion of women’s boxing for only 3 weight categories. They are 51kg, 60kg, and 75kg. It was bittersweet news for women boxers around the world.
In 2010 Mary faced Ariane Fortin, two time 69kg World Champion from Quebec for the Canadian Championship. Ariane came out on top by a score of 10-7. However because neither boxer was a repeat champion at this weight division, Mary was able to challenge Ariane for her spot on the National Team. That would require Mary to beat Ariane twice in a row at the Final Team Selection held a month after the Canadian Championships. After two very close, hard fought battles, Mary came out on top by scores of 11-10 and 14-14 (30-29 countback score)
That year Mary won a bronze in Turkey at the Prime Minister’s Cup, a gold in Greece at the Minoan Cup, a gold in Brazil at the Panamerican Championship, (also named Best Boxer of the Tournament) and a gold in Bridgetown, Barbados at the World Championsip. She was also named Canadian Boxer of the Year for 2010. With less than two years left before the 2012 Olympic Games, Mary is focused on training and determined to bring a gold back to Canada.