The Huntingdon runner who boxes

Jennifer Neal, Golden Gloves Champion

Eric Tremblay eric.tremblay.a@tc.tc
Publié le 18 octobre 2016

Jennifer Neal, Golden Gloves Champion.

©TC Media Gracieuseté

The Huntingdon community often greets her as she jogs through the streets of town, however, Jennifer Neal isn't just a runner. Jogging is part of how she trains for boxing, a discipline she excels at; she has just won the Golden Gloves Championship.

I live for boxing. I go to bed thinking about it and I wake up in the morning with my training in mind. Jennifer Neal

Last week in Lévis, the 38 year old boxer beat Mayssoun Tadlaoui by unanimous decision to win the Golden Gloves in the 64 kg category.  "It was a hard fight," admitted the champion. "My opponent kept on advancing all the time. I threw a lot of lefts and even when I felt that I had hurt her, she kept advancing."

It was in January 2015 that the customs agent and single parent of two boys started fighting. After nine fights under the aegis of Francis Lafrenière, Neal joined the ranks of Boxe Montréal.com. She then trained under Carl Handy and Danielle Bouchard, pioneer of women's boxing in Quebec.

"There's a really good team that trains at the Centre Claude-Robillard," she remarked. "I train five times a week, I work 12 hour shifts, I have two children and I'm a single parent. That takes discipline. Boxing is such a complicated sport. You can't play at boxing."

The challenge

Boxing allows her to convey the message of a healthy lifestyle to her children, both of whom are hockey players. When she goes to pick her boys up at school, her muscles attract attention.

Jennifer Neal trains in Montreal. She is not known as a boxer in her community. "People who see me running every day in Huntingdon, say hi at the grocery store," she says. "When I tell them that I box, they're surprised. Some have asked me to give a course in fitness boxing and I hope to be able to get a trainer's certificate. I'd like to keep boxing in my life forever."

The Golden Gloves Champion is motivated by the challenge of her sport; always working harder to improve. "Boxers are often passionate about life," she emphasized. "We experience a lot of emotion; one day we're laughing, the next we're crying. Not everyone is suited to the ring. Whatever I do, I aim to be a better person and boxing helps me in this way."

National or professional team

The Huntingdon resident is at a cross roads. She wishes she had found boxing sooner. Time is against Jennifer Neal, but she still has good options.

"I want to go as far as possible," she said. "I'm participating in Défi des champions next February and I'm aiming for a place on the national team. If I secure a place, I'll have to see if I'm in a position to represent Canada for competitions abroad because of work and my children."

If she has to give up the National Team, Jennifer Neal will make the move to turn professional. Her trainers judge that she is ready for this option.

On October 28, during her next match in Montréal, she will meet with a very experienced boxer from Toronto. A confrontation she sees as a good, stimulating challenge.

 Jennifer Neal's record

17 matches– 16 wins – 1 loss (split decision)

2015

Coupe Imperium Champion

Bronze Gloves Champion

2016

Brampton Cup Champion

Golden Gloves Champion

Translated by Cathleen Johnston

Jennifer Neal with her coaches Danielle Bouchard and Carl Handy.

©TC Média Gracieuseté