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Kara Ro to join a handful of Canadians in International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame | CBC News

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Growing up in Sudbury, Ont., Kara Ro always played a wide array of sports. But it wasn’t until she moved to Windsor — to captain a university volleyball team and get her degree — that she found her love for boxing.

Her boyfriend at the time played in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). She joined him in a local boxing club because they thought it would help his career after signing a professional contract.

“I fell in love with it [boxing] after my first workout,” she said. “If something can be this challenging, I have to be a part of it.”

Ro became a huge part of the sport. In April 2025, she’ll be inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Las Vegas, joining only a handful of other Canadians.

With a 17-0 record between 2002 and 2011, Ro won the women’s world lightweight championship in 2005. She was forced into an early semi-retirement due to back injuries and turned her focus to training, ring announcing and commentary for boxing and mixed martial arts. 

WATCH | How Kara Ro ended up going from university volleyball captain to boxer: 

How Kara Ro ended up going from university volleyball captain to boxer

A Windsor, Ont. woman who’s spent most of her life in combat fighting is being recognized at the highest level. Kara Ro is an undefeated pro boxer and mixed martial arts trainer. She just learned she will receive a major honour will be inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame next year, and reflects on how she got into the sport.

Years later and now a mother of two, in 2022, she returned to the ring to fight in Detroit and won her last bout … for now.

“It was so much fun and I would do it again if there was a better purse involved. It’s kind of like women fighting, the dollars aren’t really there. You’re doing it because of love.”

Kara Ro training in Michigan.
Ro and a group of fellow combat fighters are shown after training in Michigan. (Kara Ro/Facebook)

Ro started her fight journey at Windsor’s Border City Boxing Club — eventually making her way into gyms and training across in Detroit.

One of her first coaches at Border City was Josh Canty, who now owns the club and is its president.

Canty said Ro’s length and reach as a fighter was her initial strength.

“With that long jab, controlling the range and looking for that straight power hand — when she became a more seasoned fighter, she learned to fight in the pocket a little bit more, take some more risks … achieve some knockouts by making sure she was in range.”

Josh Canty is the president and owner of Border City Boxing Club in Windsor, Ont., where Ro got her start in the sport.
Josh Canty is president and owner of Border City Boxing Club in Windsor, Ont., where Ro got her start in the sport. (CBC)

Canty said he was shocked when he heard the news of her induction — only because she hadn’t already been included.

“I just assumed Kara Ro, undefeated world champion, would be in the hall of fame. Well deserved and overdue.”

According to Canty, Ro is a “beautiful human being” who continues to give back to athletes in the Windsor and Detroit area, including his own daughter.

“She just gives back and pays it forward.”

Kara Ro holds up championship belts.
Ro holds up her championship belts. (Todd Samson/Facebook)

Ro believes her early years in the U.S. helped shape her career and success that followed.

“I just had no limiting beliefs in my head about race, anything about colour, anything about gender. Like nothing. Everyone was everyone. Everyone loved everyone. I walk in this gym. Only female. Only white person. Only Canadian. I just was like, well, these are going to be my teammates. We’re going to work hard and push each other.”

WATCH | How this Canadian female boxer reacted to be being voted into hall of fame: 

How this Canadian female boxer reacted to be being voted into a hall of fame

She’s an undefeated pro boxer, a former world champion, mixed-martial arts trainer, and next year, she’ll be an international hall of famer. Kara Ro says her initial reaction to finding out she’d been selected to the hall of fame was oddly similar to a gut punch.

All told, Ro’s career spans 27 years of boxing, 22 years of coaching and 15 years of analyzing combat sports through commentary.

“When I first saw that I was being nominated, I had that gut punch because I’ve never really gone after recognition. When they first wrote, ‘are you done fighting?’ … that was the second gut punch. Like the finality of saying, I’m not fighting again. I didn’t write her back right away.”

LISTEN | Kara Ro speaks with Windsor Morning about her hall of fame induction: 

Windsor Morning12:53Windsor woman inducted into international boxing hall of fame

Kara Ro is a boxer and MMA coach.

Ro said even though she doesn’t plan on fighting again, she was assured if she changed her mind, it wouldn’t affect her place in the hall of fame.

As for a career highlight that first comes to mind, in typical Canadian fashion, she mentions a time after a fight in West Virginia when NHL legend Mario Lemieux wanted to meet her and get a photo taken with her.

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