Natasha Armstrong has a dream of representing Canada in international boxing events, and she’ll get her first taste of what that might be like today.
The 16-year-old boxer from Boissevain is one of nine Canadians who are in Colorado to train with the best American female amateur boxers at a camp and competition in Colorado Springs. The event, which runs through Sunday, concludes with bouts between Canadian and American fighters in their respective weight classes.
Armstrong, who trains out of the Brandon Boxing Club, will represent Canada in the 51-kilogram youth weight class and she couldn’t wait to start.
"I’m excited," she said before heading south of the border. "It’s just going to be a cool experience. We’re staying at the Olympic Training Centre and we have nutritionists and stuff like that and doctors and physiotherapists and stuff like that, set up for us. It’s really professional and will be really cool."
Armstrong earned this opportunity to go to the training camp by competing in the Canadian amateur youth championships in November. Boxing Canada coaches were there to watch every girls’ match and Armstrong impressed in her three-round loss in the 51kg class final. She was originally supposed to fight in the 54kg event, but moved down a class after her opponent moved up one.
She was approached about the opportunity to train with American champions as well as senior Canadian boxers like Olympian Mary Spencer and couldn’t turn it down.
Armstrong is looking forward to the training and hopes to learn as much as she can while in the United States.
"I just want to get different experiences with different coaches and learn some new drills," Armstrong said. "Just lots of watching and learning and everything. It’s a different environment. "The fight I’ll have will definitely be beneficial because it will be someone I’ve never fought before. That will help me improve. I’m looking forward to it."
Armstrong already has a wealth of experience in her young boxing career. She had an impressive 35-6 amateur record and has earned a Cadet C Golden Gloves belt.
Despite being a part of major events like national championships and the Golden Gloves, Armstrong believes this week may be the biggest boxing event she has participated in so far in her career.
"I think it will open a lot of doors for me with different coaches and travelling more with the senior team and stuff like that," she said. "This year I’ll be in the youth, but I’ll be in the seniors and probably competing with some of the girls that I’m going with to Colorado Springs with, in a couple of years. I will definitely see what I’m up for."