‘Surge’ of N.B. women are knocking out their competition — in the boxing ring

Click to play video: 'More women hitting the boxing ring at New Brunswick club'
More women hitting the boxing ring at New Brunswick club
WATCH: A boxing club in Moncton has seen an increase in the number of women lacing up the boxing gloves. As Shelley Steeves reports -- the club is hoping and they are hoping even more women will take it to the next level. – Jan 9, 2023

There’s been a spike in the number of women entering the ring at F.I.S.T.S. Boxing Club in Moncton since COVID-19 restrictions have loosened.

“There’s a lot more girls in it now,” said 14-year-old Claudia Maniraguha, who started boxing at the club last June.

Trainer Jeremy Orr, who has been boxing for years but became a coach at the onset of the pandemic, says there has been “a surge in female boxers since COVID happened.”

Read more: Empowering Women through Boxing

He says the number of women enrolling has more than doubled since his early days.

“I have had some classes that has been more women than men,” he said.

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Katie Jones of Moncton took up boxing more than 20 years ago and went on to become a competitive boxer. She says right now a lot of women are entering the sport, particularly for cardiovascular exercise.

“But competitors I would say we probably have around five in here now that are working towards competing, so not as many as I would like to see,” said Jones.

She said finding other women and girls to enter competitions can still be a bit of a challenge. She would like to see more young girls take up competitive boxing to provide a major boost for the sport and for the girls looking to take it to the next level.

Read more: Boxing gym dedicated to changing the lives of at-risk youth

“I am much more competitive when there is women around me pushing me,” said Jones.

Rachel Mazerolle, 16, has been boxing for three years and has been struggling to find a competitor.

“When I first came here, I was the only girl except for Katie here, the trainer,” she said.

“For me, my biggest challenge is finding someone that is the same weight as me, the same height.”

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She and Maniraguha, also known as “Pitbull,” train together at the club.

“It boosts my confidence quite a bit just knowing that I am capable of defending myself, I guess, if I ever need to,” said Maniraguha, who said she is also grateful to see more girls duking it out.

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