Red Deer boxer Stephanie Essensa is heading into the ring May 26th in Calgary after 18 months on the shelf.
“It’s a huge opportunity to jump on because from back in around 2005 I’ve spent most of my career being the ‘away’ fighter – someone who’s brought in to fight the hometown person,” said Essensa.
She added that when you beat the hometown folks you stop getting brought in after a while, so it can be hard to find fights.
“If you do get a fight it’s fights they’re bringing you in to lose, so it’s definitely not always the most ideal match-ups that you get.”
Essensa will be joining the Dekada lineup fighting against Georgina Becerril.
“With Dekada they’re giving me an opportunity to prove myself. If I prove myself to them and put on a good show then they’ll hopefully bring me on as someone that can fight locally for a little while, which would be fantastic.”
The May 26th fight will be Essensa’s first fight back after being off for 18 months due to severing her Achilles tendon.
“It’s pretty exciting to get back in there again and show what I can do. Even being laid out with an injury for over a year, I know that I’m better now than I was before which not a lot of people can say,” she said.
She added that tearing her Achilles tendon could have been a career-ending injury.
“I managed to recover much faster than was originally expected.”
And she said it feels great to be back in the ring.
“It’s pretty awesome, there was always of course a little bit of nerves, but it’s not even so much due to, is my body going to hold up, it’s more of just the nerves of just the ring rust.”
Essensa currently trains out of Arashi-Do Martial Arts under Gary Vig and does most of her training there with the occasional road trip to Calgary to train with some of her other teammates. She also works with a couple of guys out of the Red Deer Boxing Club.
“You can only get better if you surround yourself with people who are better than you,” she said.
Essensa has been involved in the fight world for most of her life, with her big endeavour into any sort of combat training beginning at around age 14, when she started in boxing.
“Lindsay Thurber High School had started up a boxing club and I had always been interested in martial arts, karate and boxing and all that kind of stuff so it was a natural ‘yes’.”
After falling in love with the sport immediately she continued with it and at around age 17, she got a front desk job at Arashi-Do, then took up kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu and MMA.
In late 2015, early 2016, she got her first actual boxing fight.
Essensa plans to hit the gym hard and start prepping for her next fight.
“The goal is to be fighting again in September back in Calgary.”
Tickets for the May 26th event are available by visiting www.dekada.ca or by visiting the Grey Eagle Event Centre Box Office in Calgart. For more information call 1-855-985-5000.