On the road to London, Mary Spencer has had few obstacles. As arguably the top female boxer in the country, she’s fought her way through every opponent that’s crossed her path – until last weekend. At the Continental Championships in Cornwall, Ont., Spencer ran in to a speed bump named Claressa Shields, and suffered her first loss in over a year when she was defeated by the 17-year-old from Michigan. Rather than dwelling on the loss, the 27-year-old says “that’s the motivation right there” to work even harder to get to the London games.
“It’s hard to stay at the top of your game and completely motivated when it’s been over a year since I’ve lost,” she says. “Anyone who knows me knows that I love making a comeback, that’s my favourite part of competing. Its such a great feeling to do that, so I just feel like what better time than now to have a loss to feed that fire and get ready for the next tournament.”
With that renewed motivation comes an increase in training, and the task of actually qualifying for the Olympics. Spencer will travel to China next month to compete in Qinhuangdao and earn a spot in London. Along with being an Olympian, also comes the prospect of truly becoming one of the faces of boxing in Canada. In addition to her place as a trailblazer in the women’s side of the sport, Spencer will be recognized soon enough in another way by Canadians – as a face of COVERGIRL cosmetics, alongside stars like actor Queen Latifah, the comedian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres and singer Taylor Swift. The opportunity was “unexpected and came out of nowhere” for Spencer, but once she learned more about the brand she decided to sign on.
“I did my research because I never want to jump at something just because it’s going to benefit me, or I think it’s really cool. I’m really concerned about what it’s going to mean to other people that are looking to me as a role model.
Spencer said she appreciated the message of “inner and outer beauty” and could get behind the idea that “every one is beautiful in their own way.”
Here’s more of my conversation with Spencer about about working towards the London Games this summer, and just how on earth a boxer from Windsor, Ontario becomes a face of COVERGIRL.