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Local boxer driven on becoming future Olympian

BoxingLocal boxer driven on becoming future Olympian

Since dedicating himself to boxing over a decade ago, Owen Paquette has built a reputation as being one of the most complete fighters in Canada.  

Paquette was exposed to sports ever since he was a child and made the decision to stick with boxing.

“I first got started in boxing when I was nine years old. I come from a hockey family with my dad who played professionally, so that was what me and my brother pursued at a young age. And then I got into boxing for conditioning…hitting the pads, working out, and then doing some sparring, and I just fell in love with the sport,” Paquette continued. “I started competing when I was ten. But when I was around 13, it became more serious…so I decided to go with boxing [over hockey], as I was passionate about it.”

Paquette originally took up boxing a decade ago to help for conditioning purposes while he was playing hockey. He quickly took to it and became passionate with the sport and hasn’t looked back since. Photo courtesy Calvin Caron.

Paquette noted a major reason why he loves boxing and as well as reflecting on his first bout.  

“The individual aspect of boxing was huge for me. I love relying on myself…when I go to the gym or step into the ring; it’s all me; I like that individual aspect. When I went into my first fight, I was excited. I was prepared [and] trained a lot, but it was still nerve-wracking, being ten years old [and] jumping into a boxing ring in a Peterborough bar,” Paquette recalled. “But I went in there confident and did my thing, I enjoyed it, and I have never looked back since.”

However, Paquette has always been passionate about fighting, especially on the international stage; representing his country.

“My most memorable fights are those international ones…[because] you’re fighting someone from a different country, and you get to represent the maple leaf,” Paquette said. “My first couple [of experiences] were against the USA, which I was fortunate enough to win [and then] we went up against a team from Ireland [and] I was able to beat their national champion. So those were all exciting moments.”

In his latest tournament success, Paquette won all three of his bouts at the Quebec Open in June 2024, to capture gold. Photo courtesy Boxing Ontario.

Although Paquette had a chance to fight for Canada before, he had to wait for the next opportunity because of the pandemic.

“It was a long waiting period. It was two years of just training and waiting to see if I’d get the opportunity to box again. I stayed patient, and prepared. And then we got invited to a training camp…they identified who their next youth national team athletes were. And I showed how much work I put in and I displayed my skills. I was traveling [a lot] and fighting, in different countries like Hungary, Germany, and Spain, “Paquette said. “It was a pretty special moment when I came home from high school one day, and my dad told me that I was selected for the national team. It was a great father-son moment because he’s been my hero. And that was one thing that I wanted to achieve; to make it to the national team, and I finally did it.”

Owen Paquette was chosen as the 2022 IBA Youth World Boxing Championships Flag Bearer. Paquette always relishes the opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage. Photo courtesy IBA Boxing.

However, Paquette notes how his father has been a guiding force in his development as both a champion boxer and a well-rounded person. 

“He’s been my mentor since I was a kid, and I’ve looked up to him with everything I do, whether it be boxing or any other sport [or any] aspect of life…and he has made me the man I am today,” Paquette admitted. “My father comes from being a pro hockey player, which has been huge because he taught me so many things that I’ve used [like] the winning mindset, and how to handle adversity…and to never back down from a challenge. He’s been my coach since I was nine…so we’ve always worked together and our relationship has always been amazing.”

Paquette attributes his success to his teammates as well as both his father, Darryl Paquette and main coach Sebastian Corrales. Paquette proudly shows his 2023 Elite Provincial Gold medal. Photo courtesy Boxing Ontario.

Despite missing out on the 2024 Olympics, Paquette is ready to continue training for 2028.

“I just came off the Quebec Open [where I won] the gold medal and now we’re just planning for the next stage. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to qualify for the Olympics [in Paris]; it was out of my control…I qualified for the elite nationals; that’s when you turn 19, and then you’re able to compete for the Olympic team. I qualified for nationals the same day [and] the other boxer in my weight class qualified for the Olympics. My age never let me get the shot for this one,” Paquette said. “But making it for 2028 in Los Angeles is my goal now, and that’s what I’ll be working towards for the next four years…. and until then I would like to continue to compete [with the] national team at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games; all those international events leading up to Olympics.”

Paquette has established himself as one of the premier boxing talents in the country. He is focused on representing Canada at the 2028 Olympics. Photo courtesy Calvin Caron.

However, Paquette notes that his team as well as relationships with his coach and his father are the cornerstones to his success.

“My teammates are a huge part of my success [and we are] all best friends. We all care about each other [and] my coach, Sebastian Corrales, he’s amazing [and] we have a great relationship. He believes in me completely…and when I go in the ring, I know he’s right beside me,” Paquette explained. “And my dad is a huge part of my success and has helped me to pursue my dreams. That’s why I am where I am today, and I really enjoy what I do because of them.”

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