A UNB Saint John alumni sports success, Charlie Cavanagh

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In 2022, Charlie Cavanagh graduated from UNB Saint John with a Bachelor of Science Degree, making the Dean’s list and setting herself up for an incredible future in the world of Biology and Psychology.

Charlie Cavanagh/Facebook

In 2023, as of late October, Charlie Cavanagh also found herself competing for a spot in the Paris Olympics at the Pan American Games in Chile.

Cavanagh is a 23-year-old Canadian Boxer from Saint John along with a high-achieving alumnus of UNBSJ, but in addition to this, she has proven herself to be a powerhouse in the world of boxing, currently ranked at #2 in the world for her weight class. She picked up the sport at only 13 years old for recreation, inspired by her father’s involvement with boxing and her own unconditional love for contact sports. 

An impressive track record

Cavanagh’s national team career truly kicked off at the 2018 Youth World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. There, she faced off with many opponents throughout nine days of intense competition, including two unanimous victories against Poland and England in the quarter and semifinals before finally reaching the battle for the gold medal against Russian competitor Angelina Kabakova. Never backing down, Cavanagh, even while facing some complications with her headgear at the start of the fight, was yet again the subject of a unanimous vote by judges, awarding her the victory and saving her a spot in Canada’s history as the first-ever female Youth World Champion.

Although this feat is likely Cavanagh’s best-known feat, she has a track record that continues to be impressive, including gold at the Direct TV Cup in Puerto Rico, bronze in the 2017 Balkan Bulgarian Boxing Championship, silver in the 2017 Golden Girls Championships in Sweden, Silver in the 2018 Youth Continental Championships, and of course, gold in the 2018 Youth World Championships. 

Charlie Cavanagh/Facebook

From here, Cavanagh took a brief step back from competing until she was named to Canada’s 2022 Pan American Championships team. Despite a tough battle with Brazil’s Beatriz Soares that sent her home with a bronze medal, she was immediately qualified for the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, where she walked away with a silver medal after her match with Turkey’s Busenaz Sürmeneli was brought to a stop. 

2023 Pan American Games

Cavanagh faced off with her first opponent, Lucia Noelia Perez of Argentina, in the Women’s 66kg Quarterfinals, and after a long fight, came up victorious, earning herself a place in the semi-finals. Now, she was only one winning match away from her Olympic ticket. 

On October 26th, Boxing Day 8, the big match was held. The final opponent in her way was Morelle McCane of the United States, and it would be a tense match. Through all of her determination, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears, the battle resulted in a loss for Charlie. She returned to Canada with a bronze medal, and she remained silent to the world for a few days after the fight’s result.

Resilience at its finest

Cavanagh took to Facebook on October 28th to make a comment about her experience at the 2023 Pan America Games, where she would go on to express her disappointment with the results. Still, despite her devastation, she would additionally express that she was prepared to once again earn herself a place on the national team and get back into business. 

Charlie Cavanagh/Facebook

Once a champion, always a champion

In the world of sports, success is often measured by the colour of the medal that you walk away with. Gold, silver, and bronze hold a special place in the hearts of athletes and fans, but the real measure of a champion goes beyond the title and the prizes. It’s about the spirit that endures, the character that is revealed in the face of defeat, and the determination to rise again, stronger than ever. Charlie Cavanagh may not have stepped away from the 2023 Pan American Games with her ticket to the Olympics, but she, without a doubt, will continue to fight her way to the top. Charlie was, and always will be, a champion, and a great pride to the city of Saint John.  

Abigail is a first-year arts students focusing on social sciences. She wants to shoot for the stars and become the best she can be, even if she has no idea what career she wants to pursue yet! She's an avid fan of lions, seals, and dogs with long noses, and she spends a lot of time writing creatively, sketching, or chatting online