Article by: Taylor Stewart
There have been records smashed and countless debuts made by athletes here at the 2023 Canada Games, but yesterday, history was made when female boxing got underway on P.E.I.
For the first time at the Canada Games there are female boxers competing for medal. Two divisions of young women will be showing off their talents in hopes of claiming a gold medal.
Tessa Scott of Saint John, New Brunswick, won the first ever female boxing match when she defeated Nova Scotia’s Sierra Eshouzadeh in the 52kg division. The Saint John Golden Gloves member couldn’t have been more thrilled to be apart of the debut match.
“It feels pretty amazing. I mean walking out knowing I’m one of the first females able to compete in boxing at the Canada Games, it’s a really special feeling,” said Scott.
Scott has been boxing for six years now, this moment at the Canada Games has been a long time coming for her.
“At the very start when I was 10 years old, there was a boxing club at my school. I really loved it so my teacher recommended I go to Saint John Golden Gloves. I stuck with it and I’ve loved it ever since,” said Scott. “Recently, this past year, I’ve been training really hard for this moment.”
Scott is grateful for her opportunity to be at the Games and is excited to take in the experience she is presented with, however her Games may go. Although, she has assured us she doesn’t plan on leaving without a gold medal.
Emily Vigneault made her Canada Games boxing debut in the match following Scott. Vigneault, hails from Airdrie, Alberta, and has been boxing for just around three years. She defeated Nova Scotia’s Faith Murphy to open the 60kg division competition.
“I feel really amazing. It was amazing going in there and into the ring, having people shout your name, it’s such a big experience and I’m really grateful for everything,” said Vigneault.
Vigneault didn’t take to much time to soak in the experience once her match started though as her opponent didn’t even make it out of the first round with her.
“I looked at my coach on the side and she was shouting for me to get in there and just keep pushing. That’s exactly what I did and it worked out really good for me,” said Vigneault.
At only 16 years old, Vigneault has a very clear vision of what she wants to do here on P.E.I. and what experience she wants to go home with.
“I’m looking to just be in the moment and experience everything. You see a bunch of people walking together and all hanging out and it’s such a cool experience. Especially being here with people who are close to your age and with a lot of experience it’s really good,” said Vigneault.
Despite her absolutely dominant performance to open the Games, Vigneault has only been boxing for two years. However, her combat sports origin story begins before that.
“I used to be in muay thai, martial arts and I wanted to have more experience with my hands and head movement so I turned to boxing. Then, after, I just completely transitioned into boxing because I liked it way more than muay thai, it’s amazing,” said Vigneault.
Both Scott and Vigneault represented their respective provinces with great skill and pride. They were proud to be the first representatives for female boxing at the Games and are excited to keep moving forward in the sport.
Women’s boxing continues throughout the week at the Canada Games Multi-Sport Dome at Credit Union Place in Summerside. It’s definitely worth it to see these fierce competitors take the ring.