close
close

World boxing champion Tammara Thibeault is ready to be the one to beat in Birmingham

Tammara Thibeault’s place in boxing has changed quite a bit since losing in the quarterfinals at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

After retiring from her sport post-games and returning to the drawing board, Thibeault enters the Commonwealth Games as the newly crowned Middleweight World Champion with a target on her back.

The 25-year-old, who trains from Montreal, doesn’t shy away from chasing the top to be among the top.

“I’m very confident but now I’m the one to beat. Of course I’m confident but I’m very aware of the position I’m in and I can either be happy with what I have have, or improve it.” Sport — and that’s my goal,” Thibeault told CBC Sports.

“There’s always pressure [being world champion], but that’s exciting. That’s the fun part, then it gets interesting. I think I’m someone who does well under pressure and doesn’t run away from a challenge. I’ve always given them my full attention and at this stage in my career it’s a different challenge, a new challenge, but I’m ready to take on it.”

Born in Saint-Georges, Que., and started playing sports at age nine in Regina with her father, former CFL player Patrick Thibeault. Her rise through the ranks was gradual but impressive.

Thibeault won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, followed by a silver medal at the 2019 Pan American Games and bronze at the World Championships in the same year.

Canada’s Tammara Thibeault (red) accepts her bronze medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games medal ceremony. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The Olympics became a dream that became a reality in 2021 when she represented Canada in Tokyo.

But a loss to Dutch boxer Nouchka Fontijn in the quarterfinals prevented her from winning a bronze medal and becoming the first Canadian to stand on an Olympic boxing podium.

“Of course I was disappointed, but I really enjoyed it. It’s not exactly what I wanted but to be honest I was very proud because just to get to the Tokyo Olympics it came with a lot of adversity that was really out of my control.

“Even so, I was very, very proud and I think I represented Canada well. I represented myself well and I think that was just the beginning of my story.”

After a hiatus of about a month after the Games, Thibeault returned to the big stage at the 2022 World Championships, defeating Mozambique’s Rady Adosinda Gramane by unanimous decision before beating Panama’s Atheyna Bylon in the final to win gold.

The win was a huge leap for Thibeault, who is only scratching the surface of her career.

“[The Olympics] sparked a fire in her,” said national coach Samir El Mais. “She’s an Olympic champion and she’s still a sponge. She continues to learn, she understands her skills better and you can see what has brought her here – her progress over the years.

“Now this is the peak of her career, she’s touching it and I feel like she has to move on and if she keeps going she will continue to be a world champion.”

CLOCK | The Olympians: Tammara Thibeault:

The Olympians: Tammara Thibeault

Canadian boxer Tammara Thibeault will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.

bring out aggression, ‘greed’

Now that the “big milestone” in her career is behind her, her focus shifts to winning another gold medal in another competition.

During that prep, the focus has been on eliciting the “stinginess” from Thibeault, who in recent years has made known her love of “pretty boxing”.

“The only thing I know about her is that she can really crack — she can hurt people,” El Mais said. “She was able to throw some good power shots. She could actually hurt people if she wanted to. I’m just trying to find a way to get that out of her.

“If she understands her level and understands her skills a little bit better, I think she will see it more often and use it when needed. [She has] their strengths with their size [and] long with her punches, but her aggressiveness should and will be one of her best skills. I wished for that more.”

Winning gold at the Commonwealth Games would further enhance her position as top of her class – and a heavy favorite for a medal at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Standing on the podium in Paris would make her the first Canadian since the 1996 Games when David Defiagbon won silver.

But Thibeault doesn’t go beyond herself, instead focusing on the process she is moving forward with.

As she balances her career as a full-time urban studies student at Concordia University with her boxing career, Thibeault pushes through to share a quote she learned as a teenager.

“Your work habits determine your future.”

Leave a Comment