By MIKENNA TANSLEY “MIGHTY MIK”, current NCC Candian & Interim WIBA Bantamweight Champion
It’s not very often a 24-year-old designer, fresh off a return from designing award winning furniture and launching her own freelance design firm, walks into a boxing gym and says, “I want to see where I can go in this sport.” Being introduced to boxing for fitness after university, it is hard to say exactly what trigged this desire, however, one thing was for sure, there was a burning drive inside me that said this is a journey I was meant to take.
When I dream, I go big. From day one I set the goal to become an undisputed world champion at the professional level. Considering that I was starting my amateur career far behind the average age, I have known that in most cases, I will go into a fight with less experience than the person standing across from me. It is in this space, between my goal and experience, where a fire within started; a conviction to always walk into the ring knowing that I have not been outworked.
Having played goalie in AAA hockey growing up, I am no stranger to hard work. Through hockey, I learned the dedication, sacrifice and effort required to compete at an elite level. 2 years into my amateur boxing career, I was fighting at Canadian National Championships. Successful in my first 2 bouts, I advanced to the gold medal. I went in with 9 fights to my name against a girl with 75+ to hers. This fight was a hard-fought battle that delivered me my first of 3 losses throughout my amateur career.
This loss was critical to my journey as it taught me about the mental side of boxing. Iconic trainer Teddy Atlas has said “Boxing is 75% mental and 25% physical”. And believe me, that statement never felt truer than it did during that tournament. Stress consumed my body and mind to the point where I could barely stand to exist. I asked myself: “is this something you really want to do?” When the answer was yes, I had to adjust my focus from the physical work to the mental strategies that would enable my success.
Having an ambitious career outside the boxing ring and beyond my formal schooling, I have leaned into self directed learning through reading books ranging from powerful leader biographies to holistic health practices. It is the strategies and practices that I learned from focusing on building my career that I now apply to my boxing. Through practicing meditation, to getting adequate sleep and reading, I have reached the point where I am so mentally prepared, I am able to nap in the dressing room before a fight.
I have been told numerous times there would come a point where I would have to choose between boxing and my career. I believe it is my career and ambitions outside the ring that set me apart inside of it. Determined to break the mold and show the world that you can be successful in more than one pursuit, I find the strength to push through the sleepless nights, 5 AM runs, and 7 day work weeks. Over the last 6 years while pursuing boxing, I have founded 2 companies, designed products for global companies, and established myself as the Creative Director at RGE Solutions and Director of Communications for Calgary Women in Energy.
I believe it is my willingness to learn and grow from life experiences and my unwavering tenacity, that have allowed me to reach my goals in both boxing and career.
It is an exciting time to be in Women’s boxing; I am currently 5-0 as a professional boxer and hold the NCC Canadian and WIBA Interim Bantamweight titles. On June 17th, I come one step closer to becoming undisputed as I fight for the IBO world championship title.
Thank you Scovan Engineering for supporting me as I continue on my journey of daring to be great.
Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 4