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Canadian boxer Wright just misses out on Olympic qualification

Mckenzie Wright Mckenzie Wright (L) - The Canadian Press

BANGKOK — Canadian boxer Mckenzie Wright fell just short of making the Olympics on Sunday, beaten 5-0 by Mexico's Fatima in the quarterfinals of the women's 50-kilogram division at a last-ditch qualifier.

A win and the 34-year-old from Oakville, Ont., would have joined Canadians Tammara Thibeault (75 kilograms) and welterweight Wyatt Sanford (63.5 kilograms) in Paris next month.

They booked their ticket by virtue of gold-medal performances at last year's Pan American Games. Both were members of Canada's five-boxer team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and Thibeault was a world champion in 2022.

The Paris boxing competition features 13 weight classes — seven for men and six for women.

Wright was the last of nine Canadian trying to punch their Olympic ticket at the Bangkok qualifier.

Scarlett Delgado, Terris Smith, Sara Kali, Junior Petanqui, Keven Beausejour and Doni Foreman lost earlier.

Marie Alahmadieh didn't make it to her first bout due to "unforeseen health-related issues," according to Boxing Canada. Victor Tremblay failed to make weight for his first fight in the 57-kilogram bracket.

Wright earned a 5-0 decision over Serbia's Nina Radovanovic on Saturday to move into the final eight.

Wright, a graduate of Niagara College's practical nursing program, won her third senior national title in 2023 after a four-year hiatus from boxing. She also claimed bronze at last year's Pan American Games.

The Bangkok qualifier, which runs through Monday, determines the final 51 quota places (23 for women and 28 for men) for the Paris Games this summer.

There are no title bouts in Bangkok, with action in each weight class coming to a halt when the final Olympic berths are determined.

Olympic boxing qualification comes in the form of several steps. The first were five continental qualifiers, with the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, covering the Americas.

A first World Qualification Tournament was held in Busto Arzizio, Italy, from Feb. 29 to March 12.

Competitors essentially had to finish in the top four in Italy to secure Olympic qualification, although that figure varied in some weight classes. Canada had two athletes finish in the top eight there — Delgado and super-heavyweight Alexis Barriere, who subsequently opted to focus on a pro career.

Competitors also needed to crack the top four in Bangkok to get to Paris. That measuring stick can change, however, given host France is guaranteed a maximum of six quota places (three for women and three for men) so a country can claim a spot in a weight class even if it doesn't qualify a fighter.

Canada has won 17 Olympic boxing medals (three gold, seven silver and seven bronze), but none since 1996 when heavyweight David Defiagbon won silver in Atlanta.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2024.