Tia Nunn, left, and Aranza Santana will be fighting at the upcoming West Coast Wonder Women all-female card on April 28 and 29 in Sooke. (Contributed)

Faces behind the Sooke all-female boxing challenge

Sooke Boxing Club encourages women of all ages and abilities to join the sport

At times this boxing challenge has had me feeling on top of the world, and other times, it feels like I’m being held against my will at a never-ending Nickelback concert.

But good days or bad, at least I haven’t been doing it alone.

This week, I want you to get to know some of the other tough cookies that have been roughing it through this challenge with me, and will also be fighting at the West Coast Wonder Women all-female card on April 28 and 29 in Sooke.

The three ladies I decided to corner for this article were Aranza Santana, Tia Nunn, and Janelle Simoneau. All three of these strong, beautiful gals are at very different stages in their life, who joined boxing for different reasons, but are all perfect examples of why the sport is for absolutely everyone.

Santana, 52, is a mother of three, a grandmother and runs a daycare, who joined boxing three years ago because she wanted to get more physical activity in her life.

“I like the workouts and I like the people at the boxing club, everyone is super friendly,” she said.

The women’s card will be Santana’s first fight, and she wanted to join because it was a chance for her to challenge herself and try something she has never done before.

“Boxing has made me stronger and more confident. And to be in a fight is something I never thought I could do. So if I do this, I feel like I can do anything.”

Nunn, 37, is a mother and nurse, who also joined boxing approximately three years ago to get in better shape.

The women’s card will be her second fight.

“I started boxing for exercise as well, and I like that the workouts are never the same. There’s always something to work on. Boxing is for all fitness levels, so as you accomplish a goal, you have a new one to work towards,” said Nunn.

“I wanted to fight at the women’s card because it’s very hard for me to find a fight. Most plus size girls don’t fight so I’m jumping at the opportunity.”

Nunn started fighting because she wanted to push herself to do something out of her comfort zone.

“I set my eyes on it fairly shortly after I started boxing. I wanted to do something that scared me, I wanted to hop in the ring so I just set a goal and did it,” said Nunn.

She is heading in to her second fight calmer than the first, explaining that as she continues to box her confidence grows.

Simoneau, 23, works two jobs and is a science-psychology student at the University of Victoria.

“As a full-time student struggling to find my way in the world, boxing has allowed me to refocus on myself rather than constantly being attentive to my my education and future career,” said Simoneau.

Simoneau is in the same boat as me heading into the women’s card; she also just started boxing in December so this will be her first fight.

“I got into boxing as an outlet for my emotions, inner turmoil and to mentally defeat adversities,” said Simoneau. “I needed a physically demanding outlet that could let me escape from the demands of every day life and help push through mental illness.”

Simoneau said the welcoming atmosphere at the Sooke Boxing Club is something she hasn’t found at any other gym or club.

“My favourite part about this challenge has been stepping in the ring and sparring and putting it all together. The ring is a place where you are inadvertently expressing your fighting style and growing your boxer identity,” she said. ”We all learn and grow together.”

Simoneau is right, we have all helped each other turn in to quite the brawlers.

The community aspect of boxing is so strong, its almost strange. I can’t imagine myself in any other setting where I say ‘nice, that was a good one!’ after getting punched in the face by someone.

But that’s what it’s like at Sooke Boxing Club; a comfortable environment, full of warm personalities who were welcoming from the start. I don’t think I would have the guts to join the card without the encouragement and support from all the women in this challenge.

So come over and feel the love, contact the Sooke Boxing Club at 250-634-4941. Or if you’d rather just come see us get in the ring, pick up tickets at the club, located at 3A 6686 Sooke Road.

To donate to the West Coast Wonder Women event, please visit: gofundme.com/west-coast-wonder-women.


Dawn (Killer) Gibson writes every other week on her exploits at the Sooke Boxing Club. She’ll fight in the upcoming West Coast Wonder Woman all-female boxing card in Sooke on April 28-29.


Janelle Simoneau will be fighting at the upcoming West Coast Wonder Women all-female card on April 28 and 29 in Sooke. (Contributed)

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