HELENA — At Eight Limbs Muay Tai, there’s one impressive 13-year-old. Kaylee Chartier will be traveling to Independence, Missouri, to take part in the National Silver Gloves tournament.
Chartier is headed to the Silver Gloves because she won tournaments at the state and regional level. This will be her fourth time at the national tournament. Though she’s very serious about it now, her boxing career started with a lie.
“Well it kinda started with a lie because one of the boxing coaches was always bragging about his girl. Then I told [my sister] Bella to tell him she was in boxing… which got me thinking about it and we contacted him. I started boxing when I was nine and now I’m 13,” she said.
The lie paid off because Chartier has gotten so good that people refer to her as “Lil' Ali”, after Muhammad Ali, one of her boxing idols. Her other idols include the great heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, two-time Olympic champion and three-time division world champion Claressa Shields, and though he’s not a boxer, Helena's own MMA star, Sean O’Malley.
Like these athletes, Chartier has some big goals.
“My main goal right now is making it on to Team USA. I’m doing the junior Olympics this year. We’re going to go to more ranking fights because that’s what Team USA looks at, and if I can get high enough in the ranks I can make Team USA- and that’s my biggest goal,” Chartier said.
For now, she’s focused on Silver Gloves, where she says she learns a lot each year.
“I get to meet new people and I learn new techniques by watching others fight. I go around and ask coaches what they do differently so I can reflect on what I should do better so I can get new tips so I’m not just doing the same thing everyday because I know if I do the same thing in all my fights people are eventually going to chart that.”
Chartier said the best advice she’s ever gotten from The Silver Gloves tournament was on her footwork, how to hit harder and how to feint people.
The 2022 National Silver Gloves Tournament is being held Feb. 2-5.