A TRUE FIGHTER IN THE FIGHT TO END CANCER | FEATURING MARK SMITHER
Starting from our humble beginnings, the Fight To End Cancer has raised over $500,000 in direct donations to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Everyone’s hard work and dedication constantly moves us closer to our main goal – ending cancer within out lifetime!
As we prepare to select the 2017 Fight Team, we are reminded how much FTEC has grown since the inaugural gala in 2012. There were many memorable moments that evening, however one fight we remember very well, was bout 3 Mark Smither versus Josh O’Reilly.
(article continues below video)
Having gone to battle in previous competitions, both men put on quite a show that evening. Mark was ready for a big fight as he entered into the ring with his Coach, Jack Ireland. Mark and his opponent Josh O’Reilly quickly went to work as soon as the first bell sounded. The months of training these boxers put in was paying off as both men were executing their game plans to a tee that night.
The crowd was loving the incredible action and heart that Smither and O’Reilly put into this fight. Everyone was up on their feet cheering! During the final round of this bout, both men fought through the exhaustion and kept battling right up to the last second. As we know in boxing there has to be a winner and in this incredible bout Josh O’Reilly came out on top. However, in our eyes both Mark and Josh are winners, as they gave everything they had for this great cause!
We recently had the opportunity to meet up with Mark to chat with him about boxing in the very first Fight To End Cancer Gala, and what he loves about the sport of boxing.
MEET MARK SMITHERWhat got you interested in becoming a boxer? Why?
I was always into boxing as a young age, always watching the sport on the television but never ever really considered getting into the ring. When I found out my father was a boxer in England and also competed here in Canada I knew I had to give it a try.
Can you tell us about some of the highlights of your boxing journey so far? What has to be your favourite moment out of all your highlights? Why?
Boxing has brought me so far, not only in the ring but in life as well. I have had some great experiences with boxing including competing in 3 Canadian nationals’ championships and winning multiple tournaments across the country. My favorite moment was when I was able to compete in the 2015 nationals here in Toronto in front of all my friends and family. Unfortunately, I lost a controversial split decision, but it was definitely one of my most cherished memories in the sport. It meant so much to me being able to represent my province and put on a show for all my supporters, the place was filled with people and it was definitely an everlasting memory.
What does you or your coach usually do or say to pump yourself up before a fight? Do you have a go to song that you play before a fight, what song is it?
My coach Jack Ireland has a few “hypnotizing” techniques I would say. He likes to calm my nerves and have me mentally prepared rather than trying to pump me up. It’s always better to be relaxed and composed just before the fight. My favorite song to come out to is definitely Roy Jones Jr’s “Can’t be Touched” its been my song since I stepped for in the ring.
Being one of the senior boxers in your GYM, what are the different ways you like to mentor the younger and beginner boxers?
We have many young fighters that are eager to become champions one day and that always makes a coaches job a lot easier to begin with. I always get the young fighters watching me and watching what I’m doing because I found the best way I learnt was by analyzing someone doing it. I try to inspire them with positive encouragement and hard work. I motivate the young fighters by showing them that winning is possible you just have to put your mind too it. I run tough bag circuits and tough workout sessions that not only physically push them but also mentally. I find by communicating with the kids and making sure there working hard but also having fun is the key to their success.
What are some the goals that you have for your boxing career?
I definitely want to take home a gold at the nationals which I haven’t done yet and then sign professional and work my way up the ranks. I feel like I have the will power to do it and be successful
How has your coach, Jack Ireland impacted your career so far? Have you considered becoming a coach yourself in the future? Why?
Well let’s put it this way, if it wasn’t for Jack Ireland I would not have become the man I am today nor the fighter. He has impacted not only my boxing career but my life in general. He always supports me with my career goals and has always given me great advice, advice that he has learned through experience. He is a huge role model in my life and had helped me push me to become the athlete and boxer I am today. At this moment in time I am strictly a boxer and focus on just doing that. I feel like it’s very important to only have one thing on your mind either training or coaching. I definitely feel like I will one day volunteer as a coach for my boxing club but are only concentrated on one thing at the moment and that’s fighting. I definitely have the tools and experience to one day be a great coach.
Talking about FTEC now, how did it feel to fight in the very first Fight To End Cancer gala? Was there someone you fighting for?
It was a great honor to be apart of such an amazing event, and being able to fight for something that is extremely empowering to people. My Grandfather passed away 3 weeks after I was born back in 1992 and I was fighting for him. I’m sure everyone is somehow affected by this terrible disease and it was amazing seeing all the support from everyone and being able to fight for my grandfather and for everyone else that has experienced losses in their lives.
The Fight to End Cancer helps so many people, with the proceeds all going to cancer research, what is the feeling you get when you think about your participation in such a cause.
Overwhelming feeling of joy to be able to showcase my talent in such an amazing event. I am proud that I was able to be apart of the fight to end cancer event and proud that I was fighting for more than just a victory but a cure!
What are some pointers that you would give to a fighter who is preparing to box in this year’s Fight To End Cancer?
My best advice is to train your butt off and remember who your fighting for and the struggles you’ve had to experience. Remember that you, no matter how small or big the fight may be, are pouring it all out on the line for one cause. The fight to end Cancer.
The fight doesn’t end at the end of the gala, the battle is just beginning! With your help we can finally Knock Out cancer once and for all!
If you’re interested in helping our cause, or even becoming one of the fighters who strap on the gloves to fight the good fight, make sure to visit: