For Audrey Bernier, it was simply a burning desire that has fuelled her boxing journey.
An RCMP officer in Rimbey but originally from Quebec, the firey and passionate 51-kilogram fighter rose to the top of her sport in Canada last month.
Bernier won a pair of bouts at the 2019 Super Channel Championships, boxing’s equivalent of nationals and was crowned a Canadian Champion at the event in Langford, B.C.
Bernier won the title with a 4-1 majority decision over Garinder Takhar of Ontario.
“It took a long time for the announcer, they were keeping the suspense. I was like ‘oh yeah, I got it’ then at some point he said the winner is and then he’s not saying anything,” said Bernier.
“I was like I think I’m going to cry… I didn’t cry, I was just happy. Just relieved.”
In the final, Bernier said she remembers her legs starting to fail in the second round, but refused to go quietly into the night and ultimately was able to pull out the victory.
“She didn’t have a lot of experience. The game plan was to go in there and stay busy and stay on her and that’s what I did. I opened the machine and just fought,” said Bernier, who trains out of the Red Deer Boxing Club with fellow boxer Brian “Yard Dog” Samuel.
Her deep desire to be a national champion stems from 2016 when she finished third at the championships in Quebec. Last season, more fuel was thrown on the fire when she couldn’t make the Team Alberta training camp and was unable to attend nationals.
“I wanted to go there and show Boxing Alberta they should regret their decision of last year,” she said.
Regret it they did.
To open her trip to nationals this time around, Bernier had to face a friendly foe in order to move on. She squared off against her ex-training partner from Quebec, Surassa Picard-Boivin which made for a bit of an awkward showdown in what was also the semifinal.
“During the week, they kind of gave me the attitude like, ‘we know you, we know we’re going to beat you’. I was like you don’t know me anymore,” Bernier said.
In that bout, Bernier was confident she pulled out the victory, but only won a narrow 3-2 split decision.
“It was hard because it was a friend. But I always said there’s no friends in the ring and I’m there to fight,” she said.
“It was both not our best performance. It was a feel-out fight… we knew other so well, it was harder to take risks.”
Now, Bernier owns something no one can take away from here, a national title.
In the near future, Bernier plans on heading to the United States in order to find more competitive fights.