Canadian boxer Mary Spencer has a 50/50 shot of going to the London Olympics.
A spokesman for Boxing Canada has told CBC Sports’ Teddy Katz that Spencer is one of two fighters under consideration for one wild card spot in the women’s 75-kilogram weight class, and that the decision is expected to be announced on Monday.
Robert Crête, the executive director of Boxing Canada, said the decision is being made by a committee that includes representatives of the AIBA (boxing’s international governing body) and the International Olympic Committee.
Spencer, a three-time world champion and eight-time national champ, was expected to be one of Canada’s star athletes and strongest medal contenders in London, where women’s boxing is making its Olympic debut.
The Windsor, Ont., native was the top-ranked fighter at 75 kilograms at the world championships in China last month, but she lost her opening bout to Sweden’s Anna Laurell, squandering a chance to secure one of the two automatic Olympic spots reserved for boxers from the Americas based on performance at the worlds.
The qualifying process for the Americas was complicated by the fact that fighters in the 75-kilogram class from the region went a combined 1-6 at the tournament, with not a single fighter advancing past the third round. Brazil's Roseli Amaral Feitosa and American Claressa Shields were awarded the two automatic Olympic berths after the women they lost to both advanced to the final.
Spencer’s Olympic hopes remained alive because of the provision to award one wild-card Olympic spot to a boxer from the Americas, one of five global regions determined by the AIBA.
Boxing Canada’s Crête said he didn’t know the identity of the other fighter up for consideration along with Spencer.
"It’s usually done in the ring, and I prove myself that way," Spencer told CBC's Tony Doucette on The Early Shift after returning from her loss in China. "There’s nothing you can do about it. You have to move on and find the positives in any situation."
Spencer, 27, was born in Wiarton, Ont., and grew up in Windsor. The five-foot-11 fighter captured gold at the Pan American Games last fall in Mexico and carried the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony.
Spencer's absence would be a big blow to the Canadian Olympic team. She's considered one of Canada's top hopes for a medal in London, and is a rising star on the squad. In addition to landing a sponsorship deal from the CoverGirl makeup line, Spencer is featured prominently in an ad campaign from the Canadian Olympic Committee.
If Spencer doesn’t get the wild-card entry, Canada will be without a female boxer in London. Hopefuls Mandy Bujold and Sandra Bizier both failed to qualify after losing their opening bouts at the world championships.
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