Lacombe resident, William Mallais-O’keefe has been boxing since he was 17-years-old and is now looking toward becoming an Olympic athlete. He has recently returned after a successful couple of matches in an internationalcompetition in Portland, Oregon.
“It was just a warm-up tournament for the season, but with a lot of top boxers there like Team Canada, Team USA, and fighters from Hawaii, Mexico, and everywhere in Canada. They just meet up there. It was a really great experience. I think there was over 200 maybe 300 boxers,” said Mallais-O'keefe.
At the competition, William was up against some pretty top-ranking athletes.
“I beat the #2 ranked boxer in the USA. It was a close fight. Then the second match, I lost against a guy from Team Canada. He was just a better man that night,” he explained.
Mallais-O’keefe has been working his way up to the Olympic Trials as he hopes to represent Canada on an international level.
“When I turned 19, I had a bunch of other matches and then I went to Olympic qualifiers. Then, I tore my wrist. That took forever to heal—like two years because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. I needed surgery. I came back last year. I would say I’ve been competing competitively for like three years now,” said William.
If he cannot make it to the Olympics, he plans to turn pro in the next couple of years.
William has been taking up the boxing program at The ShadowBox in Lacombe where he trains regularly. He currently has a very exhaustive training schedule.
“I train three times a day, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then on Tuesdays and Thursday I train twice a day in Edmonton. Then on Saturdays, I train twice a day as well. Sundays are my rest day,” he explained.
On top of his extensive training schedule, Mallais-O'keefe is also currently enrolled into Red Deer Polytechnic’s Justice Studies Program. He is thinking about pursuing a career as a cop, firefighter, or maybe even a boxing coach.
The boxer has a couple exciting matches coming up and is headed to another competition in Calgary on November 4th and 5th.
“I'm fighting a guy from Canada Winter Games, the gold medalist and he's up a weight class, so I'm going up weight,” he added.
On November 12th, William is headed to Texas to fight another top boxer from the United States. On December 18th he will be headed to Billings, Montana for another competition.
Overall, Mallais-O'keefe says it’s getting easier to overcome his nerves before a fight.
“It gets better overtime but they never go away. It's always in your mind like you're always like what's going to happen and like I'm not afraid like I'm not nervous to lose or anything. The biggest thing is like I don't want to get knocked out or anything in front of people,” he explained.
Mallais-O'keefe is very thankful to his sponsors for supporting his journey along the way. You can follow William Mallais-O'keefe’s journey by checking out his Instagram account here.