Cydney Mihell wasn’t about to let a bout with the flu – or any opponent – beat her during the 2019 National Muaythai Canada Championship in Markham, Ont. last weekend.
Mihell defeated two opponents en route to a gold medal in the Elite 18-40 Female C Class 132.27-pound division of the national Muay Thai championships, which saw nearly 300 fighters compete.
“I’m happy about it,” Mihell told SooToday prior to a training session at Steel City MMA Thursday. “I’m happy all my hard work has paid off.”
“I put a lot of time into training, and a lot of sacrifices go into this.”
Mihell put everything else in her life on the backburner – including work – in order to focus on her training regiment with trainer Vyron Phillips leading up to the national championships.
“It’s been a whirlwind. I just got into the sport a couple years ago really seriously,” she said. “But Vyron and I put the work in every day, and it helps us improve really quickly.”
“I’m excited to see how it goes in the next few years.”
Phillips says there were times during the 2019 National Muaythai Canada Championship where Mihell needed some support in her corner in order to keep going.
“I had to keep reminding her, ‘you’re good, you prepare for this, you’re doing well - believe in yourself,’” said Phillips. “And then, just to see her get that gold, it was like... it’s hard to put into words. Right now, it still feels surreal.”
Phillips says it’s hard to put into words how much Mihell’s gold medal performance on the national stage means.
“When she first came in, I had all the faith and belief in her. It was good that she won, so that she can see what I see,” he said. “It was amazing, but more so for her because of everything she’s been through, and how hard she works, it was that much better.”
Mihell has lost both of her parents – retired teacher and freelance news reporter Bob Mihell, and Sandra Hodge, widely known in the Sault as a teacher and artist – within the past three years.
Just before the national championships, Mihell came across some old photos of her father boxing while he was in university.
Mihell is sure that her father would’ve been watching her train if he were still around.
“It’s often in my thoughts,” Mihell said. “My parents helped me mentally get through a lot of the challenges that come with this sport.”
“When I’m having a rough practice, or trying to get myself ready for a fight... they were in a lot of pain for a long time. If they can do that, then I can do six minutes in the ring. It’s nothing compared to what they had to go through.”
Mihell and Phillips have a handful of future Muay Thai competitions on their collective radar, including an event at the end of November.
But they’ll need some help, perhaps through a sponsorship locally, in order to get there.
“We need sponsors, so that’s going to play a role in the decision too,” said Mihell. “We’ll see which one is the best fit for us.”
But for now, Mihell and Phillips will continue to squeeze in all the training they can in preparation for the university student’s next fight.
“She got the gold medal, now it’s time to train again - and go for another medal,” Phillips said.
- with files from Darren Taylor