White Collar Women's Boxing

Women’s boxing night raises money for another fight: Parkinson’s

White Collar Women's Boxing was held to support a program that uses boxing drills to help people with the disease

An all-female amateur boxing event served as an introduction to the world of boxing while raising money to fight Parkinson’s disease.

The first White Collar Women’s Boxing event, held March 29 at the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre near O’Connor Drive and Bermondsey Road, hosted six fights featuring amateur women boxers. The evening raised money for Rock Steady Boxing at Undisputed, a non-contact-boxing program that specializes in helping people with Parkinson’s through movement-based boxing drills.

Organized by Lita Mae Button, head coach of Rock Steady at Undisputed boxing club, the event included a black-tie dinner. Fights were held throughout the evening.

The event served as an introduction to the world of live boxing for audiences and fighters alike. Haley Brooks is one of the fighters who stepped into the ring for the first time. She brought along 19 guests to watch her fight, about half of whom had never experienced live boxing.

Elissa Khelawan (in red) and Haley Brooks  square off at the White Collar Women’s Boxing event, March 29. (ALEX GOUDGE/ TORONTO OBSERVER)

“They all loved it,” Brooks said in a phone interview after the event. “They got the dinner, too, with it, and it was a great night.”

The women trained for 12 weeks prior to the event, doing conditioning exercises and sparring drills.

The women Button trains have different reasons for boxing.

“Some are doing it for fundraising and others want to go further with what they’re doing,” she said.

While organizing the event, Button wanted people who had never seen a  boxing match to leave the event wanting more. She also feels that women in the sport often take a backseat and wanted to highlight the skill set of those participating.

The fundraiser also shone a light on the work done by the Rock Steady gym. Button and Rock Steady member Wayne Hornsby ran through some drills to show the audience what Rock Steady is all about.

Wayne Hornsby and Lita Mae Button demonstrating a boxing drill. (Alex Goudge/ Toronto Observer)

The event left attendees, fighters and organizers feeling proud, and all for a good cause, too.

“Lita really empowered many of us to succeed and feel empowered as women boxers,” Brooks said.