For The Love Of It
A conversation with Jennifer Williams, Bell City Boxing Club's extraordinary amateur boxer.
Maichina Veri, August 02, 2022 // Brantford, OntarioJennifer Williams at the Bell City Boxing gym. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Amateur. It’s a beautiful word. It means to do something for the love of it. Amateurs are those who celebrate and engage in things purely for the pleasure and joy of it. Local amateur boxer Jennifer Williams, 34, is an aesthetician by trade and boxer by dedication, and she isn’t pulling punches when it comes to her drive, devotion and excitement for the sport. She recently won gold at the Brampton Cup and will be competing again on Friday, August 5. Perhaps one day this energetic, dynamic fighter will compete professionally, but for now she is boxing for passion.
Jennifer has been boxing since high school alongside her best friend Lisa and, even though life has taken them down different paths, they have kept in contact and kept training. About five years ago, after the birth of her son, Jennifer had her first fight. Now, she has 17 fights under her belt.
Readying herself moments before entering the ring. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Boxing is important to Jennifer. One of the reasons is because of the aspect of physical fitness — she enjoys the feelings of strength and power in her body. She says she feels like she can take on anything if she can get into the ring. She also likes that boxing is a solo sport. “What I put into it is what I’m going to get out of it. It challenges me to push myself. It all comes down on me in the end. At the same time, the gym is like a family. There is a lot of support and encouragement.”
"While she does fight and train hard to test her abilities and see what she's capable of, her biggest inspiration to put on the gloves comes from her son, Sawyer."
Even though Jennifer is solely responsible for what she puts into boxing, she does draw inspiration from others. The non-profit gym of Bell City Boxing Club is run by Bill Williams and Jack Blasdell, who Jennifer says are “wonderful.” Bill Williams, her coach of no relation, is “very encouraging.” Jennifer also finds “amazing” support from her family and friends. While she does fight and train hard to test her abilities and see what she’s capable of, her biggest inspiration to put on the gloves comes from her son, Sawyer. “Getting in there and showing my boy how mom is able to do more than just be a parent or a business owner… I’m following my passion, my dream, doing this, getting in the ring. I think that is an important thing to show your children to do — to follow your dream.”
A passion for fighting and a commitment to always being ready. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Balancing boxing and being a mother can be challenging for Jennifer due to the time spent away from her son while training. Training takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but, away from the gym, Jennifer continues to skip, run and weight lift. On occasion, her son will come to the gym, which is an opportunity for showing him the importance of being active and healthy. Sawyer witnessed Jennifer fight for the first time this past May — a fight in which she lost. “I didn’t win. I’m kind of in a way glad that it happened because I showed him: it’s OK, you can’t win them all. I had a positive attitude, I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself. It happens. And that’s OK. I’m going to get back out there and I’m going to do it again because it doesn’t mean that’s the end for me. It’s a loss. To accept that loss graciously in front of my son was probably a really great lesson for him to experience.” As mentioned, Jennifer went on to win her next fight, and in doing so, came home with gold.
Before a match, Jennifer will pump herself up with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” When heading into the ring, she is just happy to have an opponent — Jennifer’s not out to get anyone and has no dream opponent in mind. In the ring, you will notice her height and reach, fast hands and strong jab. Her powerful punch makes her feel confident.
Jennifer Williams getting ready to enter the ring for a workout at the Bell City Boxing gym. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
If you’re interested in boxing and want to get started, Jennifer stresses three things: get in the gym, meet people in the sport and be dedicated. “Anyone can do it. If you’re dedicated to it, you truly can. If you can put your mind to it, it can happen to you. You just have to be committed. I’m in the gym a lot — this isn’t something you can dabble in. You’re not showing up once in a while, you’re committed. You’re putting the hours in, you’re putting the work in. And then you see it. It pays off.” If you prefer boxing from outside the ring, check out Bell City Boxing Club’s next event Friday Night Fights Under the Lights on August 5 at the Knights of Columbus on Catherine Avenue.
See below for links to connect with Bell City Boxing Club and for Jennifer’s upcoming event.
Bell City Boxing Club - CLICK HERE
Friday Night Fights Under the Lights - CLICK HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Born on a frigid winter's night, Sarah Evans knew early on that the only way to warm her soul was through art. During her time studying Film and Video Production at York U, Sarah discovered her love for photography and has been shooting ever since. Other things Sarah has done is worked on film and television sets, painted a terrible mural in high school, opened a floral business and bitten into a paintball (it wasn't a chocolate covered blueberry!).