Boxing puts punch behind self-esteem program

She is a mortgage broker who packs a mean punch and when she is not helping people buy homes, Miranda Jollymore is strapping on her boxing gloves.

Jollymore, 32, is an amateur boxer. In the 1990s, she competed as a table tennis player in two Canada Games and that’s when she gained interest in sports of a more physical nature.

“At the time, I was more interested in contact sports such as boxing and wrestling,” Jollymore said.

In 2005, she took up boxing to help improve her fitness level.

“A lot of women take boxing to get into shape,” she added. “I always thought of boxers as the elite athletes.”

At only 5-foot-4 and about 120 lbs, Jollymore is not your typical boxer, but she said this can be an advantage

“In terms of selling the sport, it’s amazing that I don’t fit the boxing mould,” she explained, “because if I can learn to fight, anybody can learn to fight.”

Women’s boxing will make its debut at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Jollymore said the exposure is long overdue, and part of the reason is that there aren’t enough boxing programs which cater towards girls.

“Boxing is still considered a male sport,” she said, “and the fact that women’s boxing just got accepted to the Olympics, goes to show that society isn’t ready to see women fight.”

As a child she was a victim of bullying. She said that experience may have played a role in her becoming involved in the sport.

“There was a girl in my school who would always harass me,” Jollymore said, “and everyday I would come home from school crying.”

She explained the best way for someone to overcome their fear is by taking a stance, and that’s what she is trying to instil through boxing.

Jollymore currently runs a boxing program, MJ’s Rockys, in partnership with the non-profit organization Youth Assisting Youth, and the Toronto Police Service.

Cato Palma, 12, has been a part of the program for over a year.

“It’s definitely helping me with my self confidence,” he said. “I used to be very shy, but now I’m more outgoing.”

Unlike traditional boxing programs, MJ’s Rockys does not put a lot of emphasize on the technical aspects of the sport.

“I’m not trying to make a world champion,” Jollymore said. “My program is to give kids a safe place to go, where they can gain self-esteem.”

For more information on the program, visit