Sarah Todd began boxing for fitness in 2015 and it has become a core part of her life. But on October 12, Todd won’t be fighting for herself. She will be participating in Haymakers for Hope – fighting for her family members who have battled cancer and raising money to be used to support future patients.
“I've lost a lot of family members to cancer prematurely,” Todd said. “I have six grandparents because my father remarried and of those six grandparents, five of them have had cancer and for four of the six the cancer was the reason for their death. I have had people survive with cancer in my family but for the most part, it's been tough.”
Todd moved from Nashville to Nantucket in 2017. Prior to her arrival to the island, she attempted to meet someone with common interests and came along Lorna Dollery on social media, a personal trainer and boxing coach on the island. When Todd finally made the move, she immediately connected with Dollery and the two have been close ever since.
“She will be in my corner (at the fight) with her boyfriend Brian,” Todd said. “They both have been coaching me this whole time. This is as much of a big thing for Lorna as it is for me because it is pretty involved on both of our parts. She has to talk to me regularly to see that I'm recovering, to see that I'm eating well, designing my workouts, being objective about what it is that I need to work on, and setting me up with opportunities to work on those things whether it's sparring, working on a specific technique or conditioning.”
Dollery participated in this event two years ago, and Todd said she has been a great resource to lean on as she prepares for her own fight in less than a month. Todd found out she had been chosen to fight in June while she was recovering from a broken wrist, which prohibited her from hitting anything until July. But after being denied in past years because the organization was unable to find someone of similar size and experience, she knew she needed to do whatever she could to make the most of this opportunity once it presented itself.
“I had the background (in boxing) so I knew it would be okay,” Todd said of the delay in beginning her training. “Right now I train pretty much every day. It is either bag work, mitt work, sparring once per week, running, strength training, and other things. We had a media day at the halfway point where I did get to spar my opponent, get a feel for how that goes.”
Todd said as a woman, she feels like fighting provides her with an opportunity to be in a position where she doesn’t need to be “good” and can “act out” in a way that isn't ordinary from a woman. She said it serves as an outlet to help her deal with the stresses and burdens life can bring.
"I feel like I can be in a different energy than what is typically societally acceptable - especially for women to have a container for those types of emotions and to process my anger and process anything that comes up in my life that's challenging,” she said. “If something bad happens in my day, it's nice to be able to say to myself ‘save it for later. We'll deal with this.’ I don't have to react in that moment because I have a way later on to process all those things in a way that actually benefits me.”
Todd said even after this fight is over, she doesn’t plan on abandoning boxing as a hobby anytime soon – even if she doesn’t fight competitively again.
“I will continue doing it for fitness but not as intense,” she said. “I probably won't have a fight again. I also train jiu jitsu. I'm looking to doing more jiu jitsu competitions in the future. But this was a bucket list item for me. I wanted to check it off.”
If you’d like to support Todd’s fundraiser or learn more about this fight, you can do so by clicking here.