Mandy returns home this weekend with bronze medal
By Jeff Hicks
DEBRECEN, HUNGARY —
The heavy workload was wonderful. The result was bronze. The outlook is golden.
“Three good fights in four days,” said Mandy Bujold after a tight decision went to Jyoti of India in Thursday’s semifinal bout at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament.
“Nothing beats that kind of experience. For me right now, it’s just getting back in there and implementing game plans — all the small things that go with performance.”
So Waterloo Region’s community champ, after grabbing a bronze medal for Canada in Hungary, is right on track as she continues to prepare for the continental Olympic qualifiers in Argentina at the end of March.
A spot at the Tokyo Games this summer is within reach as Mandy aims to become the first female Canadian boxer to compete in two Olympics.
The 11-time national champ’s pugilistic prowess is being fine-tuned after taking a year off to have a child — baby Kate is now a toddler — and returning to the ring determined to earn her first Olympic medal in Japan.
This was more than a February boxing tournament in Hungary. It was a fact-finding expedition to discover where she stood and what potential unfamiliar foes lurked elsewhere in the world.
Winning gold at the Canadian olympic qualifiers in January couldn’t tell her that.
Hungary delivered the pre-Olympics intelligence and the tune-up goods.
Mandy delivered unanimous decision victories against Laura Fernandez of Spain and Svitlana Vasylevska of Ukraine, before the judging worked against her on Thursday.
The busy Jyoti initiated the sequences but Mandy took them over and finished them.
“I thought I had the decision, to be honest,” said Mandy, herself a Level 3 referee/judge for Boxing Canada. “I thought I won the first and third round. I would give her the second round. It was so close. I was landing the better punches in the exchanges.”
Mandy wondered if she was working too much on the outside of the ring with her fabulous footwork. Her opponent might have appeared to be taking the centre of the ring.
Mandy looks forward to breaking down the video of all three fights with her Kitchener-based coach Syd Vanderpool.
“I had three good fights against three very different opponents. I fought a southpaw in my first fight. Then, I fought a taller, more linear opponent in my second fight. This third fight, I faced a more aggressive fighter in a messier fight, where you have no choice but to get in there.”
Overall, Hungary was a big-picture success.
“I was able to work on a lot of the things we’ve been working on in the gym. I wasn’t peaking for this tournament. This wasn’t the one I needed to be at my best for. We took this as a high-intensity training mission, “Mandy said.
“It was good.”