“I really wanted to give it my all until the last second, the last bell. That’s what I did,” said a disappointed but serene Marie-Pier Houle.
The Quebecer fought boldly and until the end, as she had promised herself, but it was not enough. She had to admit defeat by unanimous decision in front of the Briton Sandy Ryan, Saturday in Cardiff, Wales. She saw the WBO welterweight title slip through her hands.
“I’m disappointed, I won’t hide it. I would have really liked to bring the belt home. […] That was my goal. I gave what I could give. I put in the best performance I could,” the athlete hinted via videoconference, an hour and a half after his first career setback.
“I’m usually super hard on myself. Today, I will not hit myself on the head. I’ve taken enough beatings already! »
The native of Terrebonne certainly does not have to be ashamed of her performance. As soon as the bell sounded at Motorpoint Arena, she attacked her opponent aggressively, landing several good shots on a more defensive Sandy Ryan from the start.
Houle never gave up, unleashing several good jabs, but her opponent, a little taller than her, seemed downright unwavering. “I wish I had hurt him more!” “Launched Houle.
“I never felt Marie-Pier discouraged in the area,” said her coach, Sébastien Gauthier. I sometimes felt she was a little overwhelmed. Each time, I would ask her simple things to see if she was going to come out right after the round and she came out fine. »
Where Houle was unsettled was when her opponent put his arms around her to hold her back and prevent her from putting pressure. Ryan was “hanging over her head, over her shoulders”, pushing her through cables before unleashing combinations.
“A lot of times I’m the one who tends to get hooked and then I kind of got screwed over by her. […] I think that’s what will have to be corrected for the next fights. »
It was the first time that Marie-Pier Houle had fought in a ten-round bout, but it didn’t show. She took it “one round at a time” and didn’t seem to run out of energy.
Whenever the Quebecer seemed shaken, she would come back and try to attack. She refused to give up, even though she “suspected that it wouldn’t be ok with [her] side”. As she puts it, she “is not someone who gives up in life”, and she has proven it.
“I’ve always said that I’m not necessarily the fan of undefeated records because in girls, almost everyone has losses. I learned from that fight. I will recheck it, study it. I will analyze myself. I am proud to have done my first ten rounds, to have made it this far. »
His promoter, Yvon Michel, also said he was “proud” of his athlete’s performance. “[Ryan] is a girl who just had more maturity and experience than Marie-Pier. But Marie-Pier showed a lot of determination. She believed in it from start to finish. »
Houle wore a sincere smile despite the disappointment of the loss. The same smile she displayed when entering the ring to the sound of Fuel, from Metallica, with the flag of Wales – the region of the United Kingdom where the fight took place – stretched at the end of her arms.
“I wanted to thank [the people of Wales] a bit that I really had a great week here,” she explained.
Before the fight, a video of her on Instagram showed her singing La Ziguezon in her locker room. The Quebecer seemed frankly happy with her experience in Cardiff and her first experience in the World Championship.
The pugilist now intends to enjoy a little rest before studying her fight and getting back to work.
“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve said that I want challenges, to get to the top. […] I will fight back in the world championship, and eventually, I will seek victory. I’m going to get over that loss,” she promised.