While she waits hopefully for an appointment to the Boston Police Academy, Dorchester’s Michelle Egan is keeping busy sparring and competing in the boxing ring. Last Tuesday, the 28-year-old Granville Street resident won her bout in the 125-pound weight class in the Central New England finals of the annual Golden Gloves amateur competition. She will follow that up with a match next Tuesday night in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium against the top competitor in the 119-pound ranks.
A lifelong resident of Dorchester resident, Egan is a graduate of the St. Brendan School, where she played on the CYO softball team, Archbishop Williams High in Braintree, and Curry College in Milton. She works as the population manager for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.
Egan started training at Boston Boxing & Fitness in Brighton three years ago as a way to stay physically fit. Over the past two years, she has been competing out of that gym with the encouragement and support of her sparring partners and trainer Ed LaVache. “I didn’t go in with the intention of fighting,” she says, “But I began to tell myself, ‘I can do this. I’m going to try this.’”
She isn’t the only one who thought she wasn’t going to compete. Her parents, John and Connie, also had their doubts until they saw her in the ring. “We were shocked. She is the youngest of our children,” her father said. “She did progress. It’s just amazing how well she did.”
In Brighton, Egan initially began participating in women’s fitness class, but after a while, she decided to try out for the Team Training program in boxing, which mixes amateurs and experienced pugilists. “Twice a year, 50 or 40 people try out and only a few will make it through to really competitively fight,” LaVache said. Egan was one of the ones who made it past the tryouts.
She lost her first three bouts, all by split decision votes from the judges, according to LaVache. Says Egan: “Your first time getting in there and having someone judge you is nerve-wracking.” But she persevered.
“Instead of being disappointed that she lost, she came in and trained harder at the gym,” says LaVache, who says he admires Egan’s discipline and work ethic and notes that she works “10 times harder” than most people in his gym. “She’s like a sponge. She’s very coachable. She takes in everything I teach her,” he said.
Egan visits the gym six nights a week, and works on her boxing on three of those nights. In addition to her gym time, she plays forward on her Gaelic Football team with sparring partner Shelly Walsh, one of the many friends she has made at the Brighton facility. Most of those friends, LaVache notes, are the boxers she lost to in her initial round of fights. “She had a streak of bad luck where she ran into the top girl of her division,” says LaVache. “Now she is that person at the top of her weight class and she has learned from those experiences with those girls,” he said.
And the experiences will continue when she answers the bell next Tuesday night in Lowell.