Mandy Bujold’s rocky Tokyo Olympic journey has ended with a first-round loss.
The Canadian boxer lost a unanimous decision on points to Nina Radovanovic of Serbia in her opening bout Sunday.
The 11-time national flyweight champion arrived in Tokyo after what she called the toughest fight of her career. She won a human-rights appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month for an Olympic berth after she’d initially been left out of the mix.
“Yeah, absolutely this was the win for me on this journey,” Bujold said after the loss. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen in the ring, but it happened outside of the ring.”
After her Olympic qualifier in Buenos Aires was cancelled because of rising COVID-19 cases in Argentina, the International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force opted to use world rankings to determine Tokyo berths.
But the Task Force selected three international events for world rankings that Bujold, a 34-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., hadn’t competed in because of her pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
Obviously unable to foresee a global pandemic, Bujold had carefully timed her pregnancy to be back in top form for Tokyo, giving birth to daughter Kate Olympia – “K.O.” – on Nov. 5, 2018.
She won six-of-seven fights since her return from pregnancy. Sunday was her first time in the international ring since February, 2020.
The CAS ruled June 30 that the Task Force must include an accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualifying period.
Bujold and her lawyer, Sylvie Rodrigue, lost their original appeal to the IOC in May, leaving the CAS as her last chance to box in what will be her final Olympics.
Bujold, a two-time Pan American Games champion, was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics after a stomach bug sent her to hospital the night before her fight. She was receiving intravenous fluids hours before the quarters, and said she could barely climb through the ropes for her match.
Bujold, the first Canadian woman to box in two Olympics, fights again Thursday in the round of 16. The quarter-finals are Aug. 1 while the semis are Aug. 4 and gold medal bout is Aug. 7.
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