By Total Sports Quinte
The road to the boxing ring was a long one for lifetime Prince Edward County resident Jennifer McMurter. It all started when she was enrolled in the Law and Security program at Algonquin College and had George Sullivan as her fitness instructor. While taking the fitness class Jennifer had the opportunity to learn some boxing techniques and immediately fell in love with the workouts. After graduating from college her father was looking for some off-season hockey training for her brother and the idea of boxing came up. Remembering how much she loved to box in college, Jennifer asked if she could join the boxing club as well. At that time the local club was called the Belleville Boys Boxing Club but the moment she walked in the door it was clear that she had found a home. McMurter can still remember the first time that she walked into the club to meet with Owner, Mal Trenholm:
“As we were waiting to talk to the owner Mal Trenholm, Tanya Robertson, was working a heavy bag wearing a headgear. My Dad said look at that guy go!! I said Dad that’s a girl.”
Jennifer went on to become Tanya’s sparring partner and trained under her father Slim Robertson. At that time Tanya Robertson was training for the Nationals and this experience helped to shape Jennifer’s love of boxing, even though she took her fair share of beatings. Slim Robertson would go on to work in Jennifer’s corner for her first three fights.
“I can still recall my first fight that took place in Oshawa. I wouldn’t have remembered it as my nerves were terrible but luckily my Dad recorded it and I ended up winning in a split decision. I was addicted to boxing,” said McMurter.
After her first win in the ring she continued to train and had the opportunity to work with several great coaches. Mal Trenholm’s son Steve helped her a lot and Dominic Degazio worked with her to perfect the left hook. Jack Ireland was another coach who had a big influence in her boxing career teaching her how to perfect her jab.
From her beginnings at the Belleville Club, Jennifer got to travel to different countries around the world to box. One of the most memorable trips was to Finland where she had to travel without her usual coaches.
“I had to fight a girl from Belgium. I hit her with a straight right hand and saw her hesitate. I swear I heard Dom Degazio’s voice in my head saying throw another straight right hand. I did and she dropped. I went on to lose to Mickey Prior of New York who went on to win the Gold leaving me with a Bronze Medal,” remembers McMurter.
Jennifer would go on to win the National Welter Weight Championship and would hold that title from 1997-2001. Once Jennifer met her husband her priorities changes and had to retire from boxing, but not before creating some incredible memories.
“Boxing to me was an all or nothing sport and I gave it my all. I love the sport and when I retire I will hopefully have the opportunity to work with some young athletes,” said Jennifer.
Since retiring from the ring Jennifer has been busy with her family. Both of her sons, and husband Rob are involved with local sports. She has also had time to dedicate herself to another one of her passions; Equestrian. She had to give up horses when she was involved in boxing but has found more time since retiring.
When I started boxing, I quit showing horses because every ounce of energy went into boxing. After, I got married had kids, I still felt a need to compete at something. In 2012 I bought myself a new show horse, and in 2016 I bought a second. I show them with the Ontario Paint Horse Club. All the shows are held in Ancaster. It is definitely a lot of work, but I have always loved horses and if I have my way will never be without one (or a herd) lol!
Jenn’s Coach Jack Ireland he currently runs Uptown Boxing. Also pictured: Jenn and her two boys Wyatt and Austin