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Boxer Mary Spencer Lands Olympic Spot

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MARY SPENCER OLYMPICS
Canada's Mary Spencer celebrates after defeating Dominican Republic's Yenebier Gillen in the women's boxing 75kg gold medal bout at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette) | AP

Mary Spencer is going to the Olympics.

The Windsor, Ont., fighter has received the wild card berth in the women’s 75-kilogram weight class at this summer’s London Games, Boxing Canada announced Monday.

"The route to London was not as expected, but I feel I've learned a lot and I will take those lessons with me on the final leg of the journey," Spencer said in a statement.

Spencer had been awaiting a decision on the wild card for weeks, since she lost her opening bout at last month’s world championships in China, where two automatic Olympic spots were available to be won by boxers from the Americas.

The three-time world champion’s hopes remained alive because of the provision to award one wild card Olympic spot to a fighter from the Americas, one of five global regions determined by the AIBA, amateur boxing’s international governing body.

Boxing Canada said earlier this month that Spencer and another unidentified fighter were under consideration for the wild card. The decision, which took longer than expected to be announced, was made by a committee that included representatives of the AIBA and the International Olympic Committee.

At Monday's announcement at the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club, Spencer said the wait hasn't affected her preparations for London.

"I've been able to stay focused," she said. "The No. 1 thing was getting back to the gym and training for the Olympics."

Spencer won a pair of tuneup fights in Quebec over the weekend and said she feels confident as she prepares for the start of Olympic competition on Aug. 5 at the ExCeL complex in London.

"I can't wait to really make the most and the best of the situation," she said.

Canadians Bujold, Bizier miss out

Spencer, 27, was born in Wiarton, Ont., and grew up in Windsor. In addition to her three world titles, the five-foot-11 fighter has won eight Canadian championships, and she captured gold at the Pan American Games last fall in Mexico.

Spencer's absence would have been a big blow to the Canadian Olympic team. She's considered one of Canada's top hopes for a medal in London, where women’s boxing is making its Olympic debut. Spencer is also featured prominently in television ad campaigns, including spots for the CoverGirl makeup line.

If Spencer had not received the wild card entry, Canada would have been 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, and neither received a wild card spot.

"It's a moment I was hoping to share with my best friend," Spencer said of Bujold. "But she's really strong, she's tough, and she's going to be training hard for [the 2016 Olympics in Rio]."

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