Canadian Olympic boxer Mandy Bujold, who won landmark legal battle to compete in Tokyo, hangs up her gloves

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Canada's Mandy Bujold, right, seen above at the Tokyo Olympics, confirmed her retirement from the sport on Wednesday. (Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press - image credit)
Canada's Mandy Bujold, right, seen above at the Tokyo Olympics, confirmed her retirement from the sport on Wednesday. (Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press - image credit)

Two-time Canadian Olympic boxer Mandy Bujold confirmed on Wednesday she would be leaving the ring.

The 34-year-old Kitchener, Ont., native said before the Tokyo Olympic she planned to retire afterward. Now, it's official.

"As an athlete I was always so focused on the next big event that many times I didn't even realize how big some of my accomplishments were," Bujold, the 11-time national champion, wrote in a Twitter post.

"Now that I am starting to think beyond the boxing ring I am actually able to appreciate the journey I've been on and all the amazing pieces that came with it."

Bujold, who won the national junior title in 2006, made her Olympic debut a decade later in Rio. She placed fifth, dropping her quarter-final bout after spending the previous night in hospital with an illness that caused her to lose five pounds overnight.

While Bujold's second Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020 only yielded a 17th-place result, the Canadian's journey just to compete in Japan was a win in itself.

Wins legal fight to compete in Tokyo

During 2018 and parts of 2019, Bujold — who ranked second in the world — didn't compete after giving birth to daughter Kate Olympia — or K.O. But when the pandemic hit, the sport's international federation changed the Olympic qualifying criteria to cover that timeframe, leaving Bujold on the outs.

Bujold fought the ruling, garnering support from the likes of Billie Jean King, Hayley Wickenheiser and Lennox Lewis along the way. Eventually, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in Bujold's favour, implementing a rule to assure the International Olympic Committee accounts for women who were pregnant or recently gave birth in qualifying standards.

"The last fight I had outside the ring was huge, important," Bujold said in an interview on her personal website. "There are a lot of opportunities in the works right now from what happened in that case that are going to lead to bigger things and, hopefully, a bigger change than any gold medal could have ever done."

Bujold said there's a documentary on the whole ordeal in the works.

She has mixed feelings about Tokyo.

"My goals were always to win that Olympic medal, because I knew I got so close to that in Rio, I knew I was capable of doing that," she said.

"But it just seemed like there was barrier after barrier, obstacle after obstacle that got in my way to really be able to truly show what I was capable of on that stage. It's something as an athlete that's always going to be in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, there's not really much you can do about that."

Intends to stay involved in sport

With her Tokyo appearance, Bujold also became the first Canadian woman to box at two Olympics.

Her career also included gold at the Pan Am Games in 2011 and 2015, and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

While she'll no longer compete, Bujold said she still intends to train and stay involved in the sport.

"I'm done with fighting in all senses of the word," she said. "The fight I had in court, it took everything out of me. It took everything. It kind of sealed it for me."

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