Victoria Vergos is ‘excited’ for a new opportunity to box at the Canada Winter Games

Published February 27, 2023 2:29 PM ET

Victoria Vergos is shown in a flyer photo. Shock, then joy. That was how 16-year-old Vergos felt when she learned women’s boxing was being held at the 2023 Canadian Winter Olympics for the first time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boxing Ontario

Shock, then joy. That’s how 16-year-old Victoria Vergos felt when she learned women’s boxing was being held at the 2023 Canadian Winter Olympics for the first time.

The former gymnast turned boxer, and winner of the Ontario Provincial Gold Gloves, is looking forward to the opportunity to further stamp herself on the national scene when competition kicks off Tuesday in Summerside, PEI

“It’s a privilege and I’m so happy to be going,” the Hamilton native told The Canadian Press.

“Especially at the time, I was kind of in shock just knowing that this was the first year they’d allowed women to go as well, so I was really excited about the opportunity, as it is right now.”

The sport’s arrival to the Canadian Olympics is 11 years behind the Games, which introduced it at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Women’s boxing is still relatively new and I think there is a lot more recognition that needs to be done in it,” said Vergos.

However, from an organizational standpoint for the Canada Games, it is much more than just a selection of sports.

“Canada’s sports program is set well in advance of the games,” said Canada Games Council president and CEO Kelly-Ann Paul. “A lot of that is down to the choice of venue and making sure the host community is aware of the sports programming they offer because it has such a big impact on infrastructure.

“So our organization, the Canada Games Council, which is responsible for selecting the sports, we’ve made adjustments to ensure that we can have a sports program that is more responsive to adjustments on an international level in terms of the Olympics, but also adjustments that are happening in Canada on a level social and what is suitable for sports programs.”

Vergos is among seven boxers in the 60 kilogram weight class, with five others in the 52 kg division.

Vergos has competed in gymnastics – from the age of six to 13 – in both artistic and aerobic disciplines, having also been with Team Canada.

But a change of heart led to his switch to boxing.

“I really like this and I think I can have a future, like a big future, going into sport as well,” he said. “And with the gymnastic basis, with the conditioning and the discipline and the mental aspect, ΓǪ it helps me a lot with boxing now.

“My turning point was ‘OK, fine, I’m not interested in gymnastics anymore.’ And it was a fantastic experience for me and it helped me a lot. But boxing took over, and now that’s my passion.”

The move was welcomed by his father, George, who had been an amateur boxer and was one of his trainers, along with Spencer Wilcox, at the Steeltown Boxing Club.

“He was so happy when he could hold me and teach me and help me box and he still does to this day,” he said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better team, they were just more than what I could ask for. ΓǪ My coaches, all the Wilcox brothers, are professional boxers themselves and my dad actually coaches them too, so we all help each other and we all making sure that everyone has what the other needs in terms of boxing.”

After being briefly delayed due to the pandemic, Vergos started fighting last May and made a successful appearance at the 2022 Ontario Gold Gloves competition. Now, he aims to do the same on the national scene with the aim of striking gold.

He understands the opportunities that lie ahead against other provincial champions and Gold Glove winners from elsewhere.

“I think this is a really good opportunity to be able to compete with the best and to prove yourself and show how good you really are,” said Vergos.

However, the long term goal is for a bigger stage.

“I want to follow the Olympic path and maybe with time – sometimes I think about turning pro,” said Vergos.

“But now, my mind is really on the Olympic track and amateur style and being a multiple-time national champion and just competing as much as I can and going as far as I can, bringing home a lot of wins and being highly acclaimed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 27, 2023.

Hadwin Floyd

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