Our hopes for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: boxing with Davina Michel - video

Published by Graziella de Sortiraparis · Photos by Graziella de Sortiraparis · Published on June 12th, 2024 at 02:51 p.m.
Discover our interview with Davina Michel, boxer and Olympic athlete, who has already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and is hoping to bring home a medal in this discipline!

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are approaching, and with them, the preparation of Olympic athletes is intensifying month by month, to be ready to collect as many medals as possible from July 26 to August 11, 2024. We've chosen to meet a dozen French athletes, who have already qualified or will be trying to qualify during the final months before the competition, to help you discover their passion and their world! This is your chance to find out more about some of the lesser-known disciplines or those recently added to the Olympic program, and to support the athletes who have touched your heart!

For the seventh interview in this series, we set out to meet Davina Michel, who spoke to Sortir à Paris about her sport, boxing, and her hopes and expectations for the Paris 2024 Games. A top-level athlete in English boxing, she has been qualified since 2023, and has been a member of the French national team for 10 years, having started boxing at the age of 12.

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What is boxing in a nutshell?

It's a combat sport, practised by two people in a ring, wearing gloves, and the aim is to beat your opponent! (laughs)

How do the tests work?

Boxing is pretty special. The competition lasts ten days, and it's a draw, so I don't yet know which opponent I'm going to meet, or which day I'm going to box. We're judged by five judges who decide whether or not we win!

Where do the events take place? What do you think of this spot?

The first ones take place in Villepinte, if I'm not mistaken, and from the finals onwards, it's at Roland-Garros! It's going to be magnificent, I'm so happy and it's motivating me to get through all these events and meet up there!

Which countries represent the toughest competition for you?

It's Canada, because the world champion in my category (-75kg) is the Canadian.

What's the difference in terms of preparing for the Olympics at home?

It changes a lot of things, with everyone taking on board what we're saying, helping us and setting up all kinds of structures so that we can perform on the big day.

What's it like to get ready once you've qualified?

I can choose the competitions I want to take part in. We do a lot of training courses, and soon I'll be going to Colombia (Editor's note: the interview was conducted in November 2023), and I'll be preparing with the best!

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Tell us about your history with boxing!

It's beautiful and complicated at the same time! My father introduced me to combat sports at a very early age, starting with karate, kickboxing and finishing with English boxing. I'm from Martinique and it's made me travel a lot to so many different countries where I've shared some wonderful adventures. This sport has made me grow as a woman!

What has it brought you in life?

For me, boxing is life, it teaches me resilience, courage, it's allowed me to share with so many different people, in victory as in failure. It also enables me to earn a living today, which wasn't necessarily the case a year and a half ago!

Which sportsperson has inspired you?

Marie-José Pérec, because she's from the West Indies like me, and she's someone who's had a rather difficult and magnificent career!

What sets you apart in your discipline and gives you a better chance?

It's my technique, my way of seeing fights and my ups and downs, that makes me a better sportswoman and a better person.

What would you say to those who think it's a violent sport?

It's called noble art, and not for nothing! For me, it's not violent, it's a sport of strategy, where you have to find solutions, score points, push your limits... It's a sport that encompasses so many things, it's my favorite!

How do you take away the fear of getting beaten up?

So you have to know that I'm scared all the time, in any case! It's not necessarily easy to get into the ring, but I'm a very courageous person and there's nofear without courage! It's about pushing back your limits and your fears, but I'm confident and, in any case, I've got my staff and my team with me to support me.

How do you find your place in a sport that's often considered masculine?

Many sports are considered masculine, but they don't have to be! But that doesn't stop me from being very feminine. Take a look at my social networks, I assure you I'm doing just fine! So far, I've been lucky, I've hit more than I've been hit. Frankly, people can talk, but in real life, you have to try!

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The place/club in the Île-de-France region where you trained that marked your life?

It's the Boxing Club de Garges, a team I've been close to since the juniors, so when I was at INSEP, there were quite a few people from this club who were in the French team with me. I've found a family there! It's the best women's club too!

What advice would you give to those who want to take up the sport?

Don't be afraid, come and try it out! We're not necessarily all great competitors or Olympic champions, but it helps you become more aware of your body, relax and gain self-confidence too. I wasn't necessarily self-confident when I was younger, either because of my height - I'm 1.83m tall - or because of the way it made me feel, even mentally. There are a lot of benefits to boxing, you just have to take the plunge and you'll see!

Do you have a credo, a phrase you often repeat to motivate yourself?

I don't necessarily have a philosophy, but there are certain phrases that I say to myself to get ahead, like"Tchimbé raid, pa moli", which in my case means"hold on tight, don't weaken"!

A word to our readers?

For Paris 2024, it would be great for us to be together, look at us, support us! It's not often that we're at home, so we need to get out there as a team and show that we're there!

SAP's special question: do you have a favorite place to go in the region that you'd like us to discover?

I love to eat, so I like good, gourmet restaurants!

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