The door has burst wide open for female boxing in Sooke.
And the Sooke Boxing Club plans on barging right through it, with the second edition of the all-female boxing card set for the Sooke Community Hall from May 17 to 19.
The West Coast Wonder Women event is sanctioned by B.C. Boxing, and this year 74 boxers from across North America have signed up to battle in more than 50 fights. Last year, 58 fighters took to the ring.
“It’s definitely grown. We had to add an extra day this year due to demand,” said Ellen Connor, the head coach of the Sooke Boxing Club.
Yet, despite the success of West Coast Wonder Women, it’s still hard for females to find a fight. (The Sooke event is the only one of its kind in Western Canada).
“There are so many females out there boxing that want to get into the ring, and they just don’t have the opportunity,” Connor said
The problem? Female boxers can’t get on cards due to their weight, experience, or even the cost of travel.
“I think it’s one reason why we’ve grown so much in one year,” Connor said.
Fighters from all over B.C., Ontario, Alberta and as far afield as Indiana and Boston registered to box in 20 bouts Friday, 32 bouts on Saturday and another half dozen on Sunday.
One of the main events will feature Canadian national champion Sara Haghighat-Joo and Maryguenn Vellinga-Hinz, who is ranked No. 3 in the U.S. Both women are expected to fight in the 2020 Olympic Games in Toyko.
“These are big names in boxing, and we’re really excited to have them come here,” Connor said.
It isn’t all about the elites. This year, the Sooke Boxing Club will have 12 fighters in the ring ranging in age from 10 to 38 years old.
“They’re ready to go. It’s pretty amazing,” Connor said.
The sessions run at 7 p.m. Friday, noon and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday. All-bouts advance tickets are $20 or $45 for a weekend pass.
The ring announcer is Quinton Moriarity from The Zone.
“West Coast Wonder Women puts our club out there a little bit more to say, ‘Look what we’re doing,’” Connor said.