CANADIAN BOXER BUJOLD WINS GOLD MEDAL AT PAN AM GAMES
GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Canada's Mandy Bujold had already made history at the Pan American Games.
On Saturday night, she added a much bigger accomplishment to her resume.
Bujold won a gold medal in the 51-kilogram category with an 11-5 victory over Ingrid Valencia of Colombia at the Expo Guadalajara Arena. Her victory came a day after best friend and teammate Mary Spencer won gold in the 75-kilo division.
"I've been calling our Canadian women's team the female version of the (powerful) Cuban team," Bujold said. "We've been doing so well and we made a lot of history this week."
A week earlier, Bujold was in the first women's boxing fight ever held at the Pan Ams. Women's boxing will also make its Olympic debut next year at the London Games.
Bujold and Valencia were even after feeling each other out over the first two rounds. The scrappy, diminutive fighter from Kitchener, Ont., pulled ahead by taking the third round after landing some combinations despite a lot of clutching and grabbing.
"Every time I came in close she'd grab my arms some way," Bujold said. "I was underneath so it was hard for me to get out. I couldn't really work the way I wanted to work. But hey, I got it done so it was good."
Bujold outscored her opponent 4-1 in the third and 5-2 in the fourth round. She embraced Spencer outside the ring after the victory.
"We're best friends and said we were going to do this together,"' Bujold said. "And we did it."
The five-foot-two dynamo continually bounced around the ring, preventing her opponent from locking in. Bujold peppered Valencia with jabs and used regular body shots to gain an edge.
Fans were packed into the 1,576-seat venue for the final night of boxing competition.
The energy in the building was high as Bujold's bout was sandwiched between fights involving Mexican fighters. Fans chanted and danced in the aisles during breaks and stomped their feet on the bleachers.
Bujold was all smiles on the podium as pockets of Canadian fans cheered her on.
"That's the moment that I've been visualizing in my mind going into this," Bujold said. "Now that it's happened I think I can relax a little bit and enjoy it."
The five-time national champion didn't seem fatigued during the fight. She was a popular figure outside the ring as she was continually asked to pose for photos with spectators.
"It was not an amazing fight for the people," said coach Danielle Bouchard. "But it was a strategic fight because there was a lot of holding."
The referee usually let the fighters sort it out whenever they got tangled in bearhug-style lockups. Both tried to get loose for body shots but the net result was a rather plodding bout that didn't have a lot of action.
It didn't matter to Bujold, who was thrilled to record one of the biggest wins of her career.
"I've worked so hard all year just to make it to this," Bujold said. "For it all to come together perfectly at the right time, for me to peak at the right time, it has been awesome."
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