Mandy Bujold, Caroline Veyre &
Claressa Shields strike Gold in Pan American Games
by Michael O'Neill
July 27, 2015
(July 27) The 2015 XV11
PamAm Games came to an end in Toronto on Saturday with Canada’s
Mandy Bujold striking Gold on her 28th Birthday in front of her
adoring home fans. Minutes later Canada celebrated a second Gold
when no.2 seed Caroline Veyre overcame the challenge of
Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez ending a fine tournament for the home
boxers, since Ariane Fortin had already collected bronze in the
Bujold, a three-time AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion
was here as the defending champion, and began her final with
AIBA Women’s World Champion (and number 1 seed) Marlen Esparza,
eager to become the first woman to retain her title. The
atmosphere was truly electric at the Oshawa Sports Centre and
that was even before a punch had been thrown in anger.
US Flyweight star Esparza defeated Bujold in the final of the
Pan American Games Qualifier in Tijuana, Mexico six weeks ago,
but on her 28th Birthday, Bujold secured a memorable triumph in
front of her home fans.
The AIBA reports that : “Esparza attempted to control the first
round of their battle as she moved forward with serious intent,
before Bujold began to launch great combinations of her own.
Buoyed by the fantastic support in the packed arena, the
Canadian athlete soaked up the adulation and increased her
work-rate as the fight progressed.
After all four rounds had been completed, Bujold was named the
winner via split decision as she narrowly edged the captivating
Captivating bout it certainly was and few could argue that a
‘split decision’ was inevitable. Not all in Toronto agreed with
the actual verdict, least of all the no.1 seeded American.
The ’neutral’ all-International Judges scored it 38-38, 37-39,
39-37 in Bujold's favour. The Toronto Sun reports that Esparza
attacked the decision in the post-fight media conference.
“It was bullshit”, said Esparza when asked how she viewed the
decision. “I could agree on the split, but it wasn’t her way.
“She didn’t intentionally land anything. She just waits for you
to come in and then looks down at the ground and throws four
punches. There’s nothing strategic ... I mean, she’s not a good
fighter. I don’t know why they would give it to her, because she
was rushing me with a whole bunch of punches and then wrestling
while I was on the inside.
“I beat her five times, and I beat her the same way every time,”
continued the American. “But just because I’m in Canada...I
mean, whatever, they got what they want. It was the whole reason
I lost. If it would have been anywhere else ... She’s not any
better than the first time I fought her.”
“Some people are bad losers,” said Bujold. “It’s part of the
game and when you’re fighting in Canada, you can’t make it a
close fight. Just like when I go over there and I fought her in
her hometown and it was a split decision for her”
"I knew she was going to come in, she throws a lot of hooks, a
lot of overhand rights," said went on. "I could see her overhand
right, she winds it up every time she's about to throw it.
"I was just jab, jab, wait for her overhand, block it, come with
a straight punch up the middle."
“The energy in the building is what really pushed me,” said
Bujold. “It’s my birthday as well, so the gold medal is icing on
the cake.” “I felt great in the ring tonight - I was able to put
my game plan to work, and I could see her punches coming. I
fought smart and I am proud of that. I am going to celebrate my
gold medal and my birthday with everyone who came to Oshawa to
cheer me on.”
Odd comment that in the first sentence from the new champion
Bujold bearing in mind that the judges were from ‘neutral’
countries and reckoned to be amongst the best in the AIBA. True
it was a very close bout that could have gone either way but
then since when have boxers and their team mentors not disagreed
over decisions they feel should have gone their way?
Yes it could have gone Esparza’s way but when there is such a
close bout there has to be a loser as well as a winner and
Bujold proved to be a worthy champion based on her performances
throughout the tournament.
Who were those judges then? Meng Wang of China, Great Britain’s
Andrew Caulfield and Sid Ali Mokretari from Algeria.
On a happier note for the United States. Flint’s Claressa
Shields became the first American to hold Olympic and
PanAmerican titles when she scored a convincing 3:0 verdict over
Dominican Republic’s, Yenebier Guillem in Friday’s 69-75kg final
bout. Further honor was to follow when the U.S PanAm team
nominated Shields to carry the nation’s flag at Saturday’s
"I'm so honored to have been chosen by my fellow Team USA
athletes to be the flag bearer," Shields said. "There were so
many great nominees for this honor and it is a privilege to
carry our flag in the closing ceremony. I'm really excited."
She had won every round in Friday’s final, despite a point being
deducted for lowering her head and clearly is heading for many
more triumphs in the future be it as an ‘amateur’ or as a Pro,
and whether before or after Rio 2016.
She told the AIBA : ““It feels great to be a champion in the Pan
American Games, and I am the first woman who could win a title
for my country. My final opponent Yenebier is a great fighter,
she is calm, had a game plan and she tried to execute it.
Today’s tactic was to keep it sharp, to not get into a dog
fight, and to land my shots and move. I am never satisfied with
my performance, I always see flaws that I want to fix in my
She went on to elaborate : "She came out and fought a little bit
different this time. I've never had a point taken from me before
and I've boxed in a lot of tournaments in a lot of countries
with a lot of different referees and I've never had a point
taken for moving my head," Shields said. "That still didn't
scare me though, I knew it was just one point. I knew I won the
first three rounds easy and in the fourth round, she started to
move and didn't really try to fight. I just kept pressuring her
and won a unanimous decision”.
Twenty years old Shields returns home to Flint on Wednesday,
Aug. 5 for a special screening of her award-winning documentary,
"T-Rex",at the Flint Institute of Arts.
Caroline Veyre remained somewhat of an unknown quantity even in
the Americas before this tournament albeit she is well known in
Europe, especially in Ireland where she greatly impressed albeit
losing to Katie Taylor at Dublin’s Mansion House in November
2013. Taylor forecast then that the Quebec boxer was ‘one to
watch’ for the future and undoubtedly she will be ‘in the mix’
for a place in the 2016 AIBA World Championships & Olympic
In those events she will also probably face a tough United
States representative – they had no representative here having
failed to qualify one for Toronto but could ‘field’ one of
several possible choices in 2016, perhaps Mikaela Mayer, maybe
Tiara Brown or even young Jaijaira Gonzalez the AIBA Youth
titleholder. Many experts in Europe see Gonzalez as the ‘one to
watch’ if not for Rio then for Tokyo and beyond.
On Saturday night in Toronto Veyre defeated Argentina’s Dayana
Sanchez 2:0 winning 40:36 40:36 and 38:38 on the judges card
though how the Korean judge reached the latter conclusion is a
The new champion also spoke about the support of Canadian fans.
"It helped me so much to win," said Veyre. "Everybody coming
like this, you feel the support and you want to give more. I was
more active than usual thanks to that.
"I think that's what helped me to win the fight."
Overall including the men’s 10 titles, the following nations
secured boxing gold medals at the Toronto 2015 Pan American
Games with powerhouses Cuba as expected dominating the men’s
Cuba: 6 gold medals
Canada: 3 golds
United States of America: 2 golds
Mexico, Venezuela: 1 gold
And so the 2015 Pan American finals came to an end – a very
successful tournament for the hosts.
Results from Saturday’s finals :
Friday’s results here:
All the medallists (m/f) :
Every result, every bout: