By Brandi Awad
A trio of fighters from Beaver Boxing represented the club at the 2018 National Championships held in Edmonton from March 28-30.
Debuting at Nationals this year was Fabrice Thibeault Coulombe, who competed in the Super Heavyweight Male Elite 91+kg category.
Thibeault-Coulombe had an impressive showing in Edmonton, making it to the championship round where he competed against Alexis Barriere from the Northwest Territories. Though he was unable to beat Barriere, Thibeault-Coulombe walked away from the weekend with a silver medal and a lesson learned.
“It was a really nice experience and I learned a lot,” he said. “It sucked a little bit to lose, but I’m still happy with my finish. Now I know my placement: I’m the second best in Canada and that’s not so bad.”
Thibeault-Coulombe, 20, is a four-time Quebec boxing champion. The six-foot-six super heavyweight comes from a long line of boxers with both his grandfather and uncle competing professionally; his uncle competed internationally as well at the Olympic Games.
Lucas Cranston also made his Nationals debut in Edmonton. Cranston competed in the Junior C Male 57kg weight class.
The 16-year old has been boxing for just two years and was Beaver Boxing’s first youth athlete to qualify for Nationals in 20 years. Ahead of Nationals, Cranston upset Canada’s featherweight champion at the Provincial Championships, where he won gold.
But at Nationals, he fell short of the podium.
“It was pretty close, it was a hard fight,” Cranston explained. “This was my first really big tournament, so I think going forward I definitely won’t be as nervous. The whole thing was a good experience because I have a better idea of what it was like and how the whole process works.”
Also representing Beaver Boxing was veteran Marija Curran, who went into the championships as Canada’s defending champion in the female elite 81kg category.
She was able to repeat her success this year – however, under very different circumstances. This year she won her title in a walkover, as there were no other athletes in her category for her to compete against.
“It’s winning, but it’s not how you want to win,” Curran said.
Originally, there were four women scheduled to compete in her 81 kg category. However, that changed at the last minute with one opponent failing to meet the qualification requirements, another switching weight categories, and another injuring her knee – leaving Curran without an opponent, putting the national title in her hands without her having to throw a punch.
Being awarded the National Championship brings her one step closer to what she describes as her “ultimate goal”: the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders to be one step closer,” Curran said. “To go to worlds would just be validation of all the hard work I’ve put in… and of course, there’s nothing better than getting to do what you love and getting to represent your country and I’d get to do both.”
All three athletes train under Beaver Boxing’s head coach Jill Perry, a two-time Canadian amateur women’s boxing champion in her own right. After Nationals, Perry flew straight to Australia to help coach Canada’s National Team at the Commonwealth Games.
Curran said she could not be more proud of her coach, and how the weekend went.
“The team did really excellently and I’m so, so proud of them,” she said. “I’m also particularly proud of my coach who went straight from Edmonton to Australia… it’s very rare for female coaches, particularly in boxing, to get international coaching experience so the fact that she got invited to participate in the Commonwealth Games, I’m just so proud of her.”