The Contender

February 27, 2017

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BUFFALO, NY- Golden Gloves National Champion Wendy M. Casey MSEd ’14 doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her students.

“On the first day of school I tell my class that I’m a boxer so they better not mess with me,” jokes the seventh grade math teacher at Westminster Community Charter School in Buffalo.

Casey balances a rigorous 15-hour training schedule each week, along with her full-time teaching job. 

“I teach my students that if I can challenge myself and think outside the norm, they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

The Binghamton native began challenging herself in high school when she joined the boys wrestling team.  Her introduction to boxing came in college.  Looking for a way to lose “the freshman 15,” Casey visited the Boxing Club at the University at Buffalo.  It was there she met her coach, Dean Eoannou, who realized Casey was a natural in the ring.   

Casey’s smarts coupled with her wicked upper cut quickly set her apart.  She knows that being a successful prizefighter is as much about brains as it is brawn. 

“Boxing is like a chess match,” says Casey.  “You have to anticipate where your opponent is going to be, and know what punches and how many to throw. Successful boxing requires technique and skill.”

Interestingly, Casey shares many of these skills and techniques with people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.  Non-contact boxing, she explains, is now considered a successful, albeit nontraditional, form of physical therapy for Parkinson’s patients. 

“Boxing skills emphasize balance and hand-eye coordination, increase focus and force the brain to send multiple messages at one time,” says Casey, who trains Parkinson’s patients alongside her coach at The Fitness Factory in Kenmore. “It’s incredible to see the improvements my clients make in just a few weeks.”

Just as incredible is the trajectory of Casey’s career in the ring. 

After winning the belt at the Golden Gloves National Championship, Casey emerged victorious at the Women’s Open Class competition (125-pound division) and two weeks later won the Ringside World Championship.  She didn’t lose a single round in that tournament. 

Now, Casey is fighting her way onto the world stage. In December she won the USA Boxing National Championships (125-pound division), which qualifies her for the World Team.  Casey took a temporary hiatus from teaching and awaits word on when she will attend camp in Colorado Springs, CO. She will compete all over the world as a member of Team USA.   

“I am determined to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team,” she says.  “I can do it and I will.”