Mary Spencer got a stroke of good luck luck when the Olympic boxing draw was held in London on Friday. She drew a bye through the first round of the London Olympic women’s boxing competition, leaving her one win away from the medal round.
The three-time world champion from Windsor, Ont. will enter the ring on Aug. 6 and face the winner of Chinese boxer Li Jinzi and Brazil’s Roseli Feitosa. There are 12 fighters in each of the three weight categories as women’s boxing makes its Olympic debut in London, so with one win, Spencer would be into the medal round. She would then most likely have to face either the Russian or Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan, both semi-finalists at the most recent worlds.
Team Great Britain fighter and recently-crowned world champion Savannah Marshall is the top seed in Spencer’s weight class, the 75-kilogram category, and will get a bye through the first round. Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova is the No. 2 seed, so she also got a bye. American Claressa Shields drew the other bye. Marshall has the two fighters in her bracket that beat recently beat Spencer - Shields and Sweden’s Anna Laurell. So if Spencer is to earn a re-match with either of those fighters, it would be for the gold medal.
Spencer is one of Canada’s most high-profile athletes in these Games. She has been on billboards, magazine covers and in commercials across Canada for months. Her likeness, and that of a few other Canadian athletes, is even featured on the giant glossy front doors that welcome visitors to Canada’s Olympic House in London’s Trafalgar Square.
She was awarded the wild card after suffering an early upset at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in China this spring, the only qualifying competition for London.
On the men’s side, Simon Kean of Trois Rivieres, Que., drew an Aug. 1 fight versus Tony Yoka of France, while Custio Clayton of Dartmouth, N.S., will fight Mexico’s Oscar Molina Casillas on Sunday.