Ivy Richardson chose boxing, but she considered ballet.
“I was looking for something to stay active…” said the 24-year-old Nanaimo Boxing Club member. “I’ve always wanted to do both since I was little.”
Neither activities were options back then when she lived in the small town of Port Hardy, but in Nanaimo, she was free to choose, and the boxing club is thrilled with her choice.
Richardson has become a fast-rising prospect, winning at the Oregon Golden Gloves in January and then winning an exhibition in North Vancouver earlier this month by unanimous decision.
“The first time I saw her, I thought, wow, there’s a lot of potential,” said Bob Pegues, a Team B.C. coach.
Barry Creswell, coach at the Nanaimo Boxing Club, saw that potential, too, and by Richardson’s second class, he asked her if she was interested in a bout.
“I was like, yeah, sure. I don’t want to come here just to train, I want to compete,” she said. “So it was pretty immediate. I loved it straight away.”
Richardson wants to keep stepping in the ring, where she feels increasingly comfortable. She went 10 months between bouts at one point, and now she wants to get the fights while the getting’s good.
“And because of my age, I feel like I don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing,” she said. “I just want to get as much experience as I can as fast as I can so I can keep building.”
She’s set a lot of goals for herself in her sport. Provincials, Western Canadians and nationals are all on Richardson’s radar. When she talked to the Bulletin last week, she was considering taking a fight in Quesnel this Saturday (April 23), and is also anticipating upcoming bouts in Cloverdale and possibly Seattle.
“The minute she’s had 10 [fights] or the minute we can’t get anybody willing to fight her – which is coming – then we’ll upgrade her to an open-class boxer,” Pegues said. “I would have done it already, except that we knew there were still a couple people that we thought we could fight.”
There are areas Richardson needs to improve, such as handling opponents’ pressure, said Pegues, and communicating better with her corner. But while in some ways, she’s a novice, in other ways, she’s a natural.
Pegues said Richardson’s footwork is that of a boxer with years of experience. Her height and reach are advantages, her right hand is hard and accurate, and she is capable of stringing together lengthy combinations of sharp punches.
Creswell marvels that Richardson “hits like a boy.”
“And I’m like, no, I hit like a girl, because I’m a girl,” she said. “And I love that. I love that women can be strong and women can fight and we can do it all.”
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) April 21, 2016