While many Canadians are still basking in the glory of triumphs at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, there is a strong possibility that Rimbey could produce another Canadian Olympic champion following a recent announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
For the first time in the long history of the games, woman’s boxing will be included in the schedule of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, and if everything goes as planned, Kandi Wyatt of the Rimbey Boxing Club will step into the ring and fight for some good old Canadian pride, but she’s got a ways to go yet.
After capturing her sixth consecutive national championship at a tournament in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., Wyatt participated in a box-off in Halifax, N.S. where she continued her winning ways and as a result, was named to the national team.
Between now and 2012, Wyatt will hone her skills against some world-class fighters and that means packing her bags for a few extended trips.
“I’m going to Turkey at the beginning of April, then I’ll be going to Venezuela in August and hopefully Barbados in September,” said Wyatt who will fight in international tournaments at each stop.
In addition, the champ will also practice her trade at a number of cards in Alberta along the way and may even make a return visit to Kansas City, Mo., to defend her title at the annual Ringside tournament, if it fits her schedule.
“I might be going to Kansas City, but I think the dates with the Venezuela tournament and Ringside might collide, so I might not be able to go this year,” Wyatt said. “In the immediate future, I have Golden Gloves coming up on March 20 and 21 in Calgary, then Turkey at the beginning of April, and then hopefully the Diamond Belt up in Edmonton and the Rumble in Red Deer on May 8.”
Wyatt has come a long way since her first foray into the “Sweet Science” when, after being punched in the nose in her very first fight, was told by coach Mike Smith to “quit crying or go home.”
“No, I never dreamed this would happen back then,” she said with a chuckle. “From the first day I never thought boxing could take me this far, but if you work hard for it, it rewards you, that’s for sure. But I’m hoping to make it to the Olympics. That’s my goal.”
Not only has Wyatt brought some exposure to herself and the local boxing club, but she has also taken a lead role in mentoring and training younger fighters, and passing on her experience in the squared circle, an attribute that is greatly appreciated.
“She’s 36-0. She’s got a phenomenal record and has yet to be defeated. She’s a pretty remarkable person and we really appreciate her at the boxing club in Rimbey because she has this incredible ability to encourage people to push to another level,” said John Peacock, who spoke on behalf of the club.
“One day, after I asked her what it was like to spar with fighter far less skilled than herself, she said, ‘Well, other people have been the punching bag for me, so it’s time for me to be the punching bag for somebody else,’ and that is the attitude she brings,” Peacock added. “She’s there to help others and it’s greatly appreciated and she is greatly admired.”
A case in point of her commitment to others occurred just recently when Wyatt coached Riley Carruthers, another member of the Rimbey boxing Club to a gold medal at the Alberta Winter Games.
And while coaching a younger fighter to a provincial championship and winning her sixth consecutive title and first as a senior is impressive, even more impressive is the fact that Wyatt has funded nearly all of her entire career, including travel expenses, out of her own pocket.
“Without a doubt, Kandi Wyatt is the number 1 female boxer in Canada in her weight category, and she’s from the Rimbey Boxing Club,” Peacock said. “There’s every reason to believe that she will be on the Olympic team, and she needs sponsorship. The way it’s set up now is that there’s no sponsorship for her, and so we as a community have an opportunity to be sponsoring and helping someone who could very well be an Olympic contender, and I think this is a fantastic opportunity that I would hate for us to miss.”
Any individual, organization or business interested in sponsoring Wyatt is invited to contact John Peacock at 843-3483 or head coach Mike Smith at 843-6927 for more information.