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Local fighter looking for help to fulfill her championship dreams

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MASSENA - With women’s boxing now an Olympic sport, Massena’s Michelle Cook, isn’t just a contender for USA Boxing’s 2013 National Championship.

She is an Olympic hopeful and has been identified as such by USA Boxing.

“She is what they call an Olympic hopeful,” said her trainer and fiancé Atsiaktonkie, a.k.a. Doogie. “Hopefully our community can come together and help get Michelle to Washington.”

When Doogie speaks of going to Washington, he’s referring to the USA Boxing National Championship tournament to be held in Spokane, Wash., starting later this month.

However, in order to get to the tournament, which runs from March 30 through April 8, they need to raise $5,000 in order to cover travel expenses.

“So far we’ve raised $1,650,” he said. “If we don’t raise the money, we won’t be able to go.”

Doogie added Ms. Cook has a great chance at winning the national title, especially since Tiara Brown, the 2012 world champion in her weight class, has moved up to a different division.

While Ms. Cook was looking forward to fighting Ms. Brown, the absence of a world champion between her and the title undoubtedly makes her road to the Olympics a little bit easier.

“I now she has a great chance of winning this,” Doogie said. “I’ve scouted the other fighters, and she would be a top seed for sure.”

The only problem is if they can’t raise the money needed to go to the tournament Ms. Cook’s potential and championship dreams would all go down the drain.

“That’s the first step,” Doogie, said, referring to making it to Spokane for the tournament. “You have to make it there or you can’t qualify.”

To help raise some last minute funds and hopefully push them over the edge of their fundraising goal, they will be holding a pledging for pushups event at 3 p.m. March 24. By the close of business that day, Doogie said he’s hoping to have the $5,000 they need for the trip in hand.

Doogie said the pledging for pushups event will be held at the Standing Rock Boxing Club’s gym inside St. Lawrence Centre. People looking to help with the trip can show up and offer a pledge that is connected to the number of pushups Ms. Cook performs.

Last week, he said the club tried to host a pushup contest, where people would attempt to do more pushups than Ms. Cook in a designated period of time. While some people showed up for the contest, no one, he said wanted to put their money on the line to compete against her.

Doogie said they are grateful for the donations they’ve received so far, including help from a few area businesses, other boxing clubs in the region and people who have heard Ms. Cook’s story and want to help.

“We had an 88-year-old lady send us some money,” he said.

If you would like to contribute to Ms. Cook’s efforts, donations may be mailed to: Standing Rock Boxing Club; PO Box 47; Massena NY 13662.

“She’s the first fighter, male or female, from this area to make it as an Olympic hopeful,” he said. “It would be a shame to see her dreams come to an end when we’re so close.”

Ms. Cook qualified for the tournament in February, after winning USA Boxing’s Northeast Regional Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Nicole Russell of New York City. In addition to winning the regional championship, Ms. Cook was also named the tournament’s most outstanding fighter, an honor given to only one male or female across all weight classes in the entire tournament.

“She won that award over 13 other champions,” Doogie said.

Ms. Cook’s resumé also includes two New York State Championships and victory in the 2012 New York State Fair Tournament. She was also named the most outstanding boxer at the 2012 Carmen Basilio Quest For Champions in Watertown. She holds a victory over the two-time Ringside Magazine national champion and two victories over a fighter that is a five-time Canadian national champion.

Ms. Cook and the Standing Rock Boxing Club can both be found on Facebook by searching for Michelle Cook boxing or Standing Rock Boxing Club.

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