Canada’s 25 years old 60kg Lightweight Amateur champion Caroline Veyre faces the stiffest test of her career tonight in the intimate setting of the ‘Round Room’ at Dublin’s iconic Mansion House when she ‘gloves off’ against Ireland’s ‘pride and joy’, Olympic Gold medallist and four times World Champion, Katie Taylor (27) from Bray.
For Taylor this is part of her ‘Road to Rio’ preparations for next year’s AIBA World and European Championships and ultimately the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Tomorrow night Taylor is in action again, this time against Finland’s European Union, bronze medallist, Mira Potkonen who put up stiff resistance last time the two met in Hungary earlier this summer. That bout is scheduled for Bray’s Ballywaltrim Community Centre, so an opportunity for Katie to entertain the local fans who have supported her throughout her illustrious career.
Caroline Veyre though is relatively unknown outside the Americas. Last May she took a bronze medal at the 2013 American Confederation Continental (AMBC) championships in Venezuela going under in the quarter-finals to U.S National titleholder , Jennifer Hamann (Seattle,Wash) in the 57kg weight division- Hamann went on to take Gold.
In recent weeks, Caroline Veyre has had two major successes – back on October 24th, she took the 2014 Canadian Elite title (60kg) with a unanimous 3:0 verdict over Nova Scotia’s Stephanie Walker at the Orr Centre, in Regina, Saskatchewan.
A week ago she overcame the challenge of Odile Letellier (also 3:0) at the 2014 Canadian Final Team Selection (FTS) trials in Quebec City. 2014 also sees the inaugural Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow.
Caroline was born in Paris but has spent the past eleven years living – and studying – in Montreal where she boxes out of the ‘Club Boxe de l’Est’. In an exclusive interview en-route to the Irish capital, she explained how she became involved in the sport.
“I started boxing when I was 18. At the beginning, I was looking for a sport to stay in shape because I didn’t like going to the gym and working out with machines. When I started boxing, I found out that it was not just punching each other. Boxing is being smart in the ring and having good skills”.
“I have two coaches, Leonard Kwitkowski, who has taught me how to box since the beginning, and Douggy Berneche who is my manager but also my conditioning trainer. They are both with me in Dublin”.
Talking about her family she went on: “I have a twin sister and a little brother. My mom was born in Brazil in Rio and she hopes to see me there in 2 years! “I don’t have any boxing history in my family”.
Who, I wondered, apart from her coaches, have had most influence on her career to date?
“Floyd Mayweather is the boxer who impressed me the most. He has the biggest talent that I’ve ever seen”.
Favourite boxers, amateur or pro?
“I love Floyd Mayweather, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Raushee Warren and many others”.
Plans for the foreseeable future, hopefully including Rio 2016?
“I was a student at University of Montreal for 4 years, I completed university in May this year. I have a degree in translation. I don’t have any (longer term) plans for the moment, at least I have something if my boxing career ends which is good but I really want to dedicate myself to the sport of boxing for the next two years. I’m not interested about turning pro”.
Have you ever seen Katie Taylor fight “live” or just studied videos of her in action?
“Yes I have followed her at the Olympic Games. I also have watched a lot of her fights on You Tube.
“To me, it is a great opportunity to know exactly where I am today and to know what I may lack to be where she is. I believe that everything is possible in boxing. On Friday, I want to offer a good fight to the public and make it exciting.”
Caroline carries the good wishes of all in the boxing community in this contest against the Irish champion who has taken Gold in the last 15 Major International championships she has competed in and in January enters an eighth successive year as 60kg AIBA World no.1.