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An Up-and-Close Story by Amateur Boxer!
By Michelle Pasch
February 5, 2014


(FEB 5)  I love the sport of boxing. Something I share alongside my Father. A sport I grew up watching with my Dad as a child. I was able to enjoy the sport mostly through the televised matches during the Olympics or on the odd occasion that "The Wide World of Sports" had matches playing on the weekends.  

My Dad, Tony Pasch, was born and raised in Germany. He boxed from the age of 12, it was a popular sport in Europe. He came to Canada in 1953, at 21 years old. Persuing his trade as an electrician and working construction for 50 yrs. He would organize boxing training with the other men that were interested and set up make shift gyms at his various mine or mill type job sites, that picture was 1955 in Red Rock, Ontario. In Thunder Bay, Ontario, my Dad would train at the local Army Navy Veterans Club. His trainer back in the day was Dick Simms.

My Dad was a middleweight, but trained alongside the heavyweights, training, sparring, and challenging the local fighters. His good friend and sparring partner Joe Krepe's went onto the 1957 Canadian Championships. My Dad was listed to fight many times with USA fighters but his matches were scratched again and again due to opponent no-shows.  That never bothered him at all, he continued to train and work with the athletes because of his love of the sport. 

Then along comes his youngest daughter of three children, the firecracker that keeps him young at heart, Michelle Pasch. I was always an athletic girl, whether it was track and field, volleyball, baseball, basketball, skiiing, or snowmobile sno-x racing I was always trying to be the best at whatever I did.  I am now a 38 year old single Mom of 2, Graphic Designer by day, boxer by night, Warrior by weekend. Having a tough go at married life and bit of a struggle with my own anxieties. I finally took the steps to doing what I always wanted to do. I had busted my ass in the gym for a few years getting myself back to where I used to be before marriage and kids and finally knew it was time to try the sport I always wanted to be a part of. 

The local scene for boxing was just beginning to resurface as I was looking into who and where I could train. I joined our local fighting gym, Leading Edge MMA. They were redeveloping there program and boxing was going to become a major area of training. That is where I met my coach, Rory Slater. Rory started boxing later in life out of the Motorcity Boxing Club in Oshawa Ontario in 1996. He got his certification as a level 2 coach in 1998. He was invloved in the coaching and development of 9 provincial champions, 6 national champions and the current world champion Lindsay Garbatt, Canadian welterweight champ Brandon "Bad Boy" Cook and current Canadian National Team flyweight fighter Evan Gillard. Rory won the Ringside World Championship title in 2012 in the Masters division, and is currently coaching out of our club here in Thunder Bay. We also have a few other coaches who have been influencial to my development Matt Richer owner of Leading Edge MMA, Karl Dahl, and Julie Cybulski a former amateur boxer herself. 

They have spent countless hours over the last two years training myself and my team mate Suvi Riekko. Last year Suvi and I registered for The Ringside Amateur World Championships, in Independence, MO. Thunder Bay is very close to the USA border, so for us to get any experience before this grand scale tournament we made ourselves available for matches in the Duluth and Minneapolis, MN area. I had three potential fights scheduled and each one the fighter pulled out the week of the fight. Talk about frustrating, all the work you put in to fight camp and eating accordingly for weight cuts. I've learned from this, that is just how it goes in this sport. 

No fights had left me with no in the ring experience before my big debut at Ringside, but it did make my experience that more intense and memorable. Its quite ironic, because the girl I was matched up to fight on the first day of the tournament was your last weeks picture of the week, Stephanie Buchanan. She is an amazing athlete and we have remained friends since that time, keeping in contact through social media. We had a great fight, very intense, lots of back and forth action, she's a girl with a tonne of power in her jab, you can see the fight on YouTube. As the third round ended Steph prevailed as the victor and I finally had my first real fight, in the grandest way possible. I was so excited in that ring and had such an amazing rush going through me, I didn't care if I won or lost, I couldn't conceil it, I had this smile ear to ear and giddyness just waiting for the arm raise, I gave Steph the biggest hug, thanked her and knew from that point on, this was something I needed to do again and again. 

After Ringside I had another fight scheduled for Nov 1, against a girl from Minneapolis, to fight in Duluth, MN, on a card with Lorenzi's Boxing. Once again, my opponent pulled out. So I kept training, keeping myself ready, always to be available for what may come up, and low and behold a last minute call for a fight on Nov. 15, on a card with Jungle Boy Boxing out of Duluth MN. I was fighting again finally. I was so ready for this. The fight was incredible, I honed in on all my skills, kept myself relaxed and left it all in the ring, The fight was stopped a few times to clean up her nose and re-fasten her head gear that kept spinning around her face as she ate my right repeatedly. I won unanimously. 

The local scene in Duluth doesn't have many female fights, so the spectators don't always get to see what women are capable of doing in that ring, we showed them just how us woman fighters can lay it all out on the line. That picture I sent you was from that fight and I have many more from an amazing photographer John D'Auria's Second Chance photography, out of Duluth MN. 

So today, I keep training for the next challenger. My Dad is always in my corner wanting to know how things are going or wanting to come to the gym watching when he can. He always has pointers for me, which I gladly take in, I can see in his eyes how proud he is of me.

At Leading Edge, I am able to help now with the new eager boxers wanting to learn and training and sparring with young and old. Our fight plans this year are to take whatever comes up in the Minnesota scene, and focus again towards the Ringside World Championships, and a Bronze Gloves Tournament in the Toronto area this fall. 

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