A celebrated Edmonton boxer who has punched her way to several world championship titles now has someone fighting for her name to be formally honoured on a city street sign.
The founder of YEG Fitness magazine has started a petition to have an Edmonton street renamed in order to recognize 38-year-old Jelena Mrdjenovich, who has compiled a 40-10-2 record so far in her career.
“She’s just such a down-to-earth (person) — doesn’t expect anything from anybody — and is willing to go out of her way for everybody, and that’s the Edmonton spirit I guess,” TJ Sadler told Global News on Tuesday.
“Why not have a major street that is indicative of her talent and what she means to the city?”
Sadler said he believes Edmonton can do a better job of celebrating female athletes. He said his family has at times been surprised by the lack of attention some prominent female Canadian athletes receive and one day he and his son were talking about what a boxing icon Mrdjenovich is.
“She’s the (Wayne) Gretzky, if you can say that, the Gretzky of her sport,” he said. “What has been done for female athletes in the city? I mean we have streets named after Gretzky… (Mark) Messier… We need to do something for Jelena,” he said. “She’s done a lot for the city and she’s put Edmonton on the map in terms of boxing.
“We all tend to fall in that mindset, I guess, of men’s soccer, men’s football, men’s basketball, and we don’t pay enough attention to female sports. I mean, it’s changing… which is nice to see.”
Sadler noted that Mrdjenovich has also developed a reputation for being a staunch supporter of local charities.
Sadler said he hopes to approach Mayor Don Iveson and city council early in the new year with his petition, which had almost 500 signatures by Tuesday afternoon. He said while he does not necessarily have a specific street in mind to rename after Mrdjenovich, her boxing studio is on 109 Street in the heart of the city.
“The boxing community in Edmonton is much smaller than obviously hockey or football, or probably even soccer, but everyone who knows Jelena knows what she brings as an athlete and as a community supporter,” Sadler said.
Watch below: Some Global News videos about Jelena Mrdjenovich.