Nine-time United States (U.S.) National champion and four-time National Golden Gloves titleholder Morelle “Big Blessed” McCane qualified for the Paris (France) 2024 Olympics (in the welterweight division) in December 2023 when she finished second at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. She defeated Charlie Cavanagh (Canada) to make it to the finals but lost to Barbara dos Santos (Brazil) (who also qualified for the Olympics).

(Photo credit: Gabe Gault/Julie Watson)

The twenty-nine-year-old orthodox boxer became the fifth boxer and first female from Cleveland, Ohio, to qualify for the Olympics. The last time a boxer from Cleveland won a medal at the Olympics was in 1952 (Nate Brooks won gold in the flyweight division), and McCane hopes to end that 72-year drought this summer. McCane missed out on the Tokoyo (Japan) 2020 Olympics when she was selected as an alternate to the team after winning the 2019 Last Chance Qualifier.

McCane has had an outstanding amateur career involving 55 fights (50-5) spanning ten countries. She won the National Golden Gloves in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022, and the USA Boxing Elite National Championship in 2018 and 2021. McCane came in first at the 2023 Gee Bee International Tournament, the 2022 U.S. Boxing International Invitational, and the 2022 AMBC Elite Championship. She won the 2018 Western Elite Qualifier, finished second in the 2023 Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, and entered third at the 2019 International Boxing Tournament Strandja.

Her boxing career is made all the more impressive, considering that she did not start boxing until ten years ago when she was a senior at Glenville High School (2014), and she did not compete in her first elite national tournament until six years ago (2018). After less than a year in the sport, McCane won her first National Golden Gloves title and her first USA Boxing Elite National Championship. Her co-trainers, Marlon “Push” Davis and Terrence Montgomery from the Bob Davis Boxing Club in Cleveland (who she has been with since she started the sport), have been instrumental in helping her take her career to an elite level.

She was gracious enough to take time out of her busy training camp to discuss making the
U.S. Olympic boxing team, representing Cleveland, her current training schedule, the impact that her brother’s passing had on her, and much more.

James Stillerman: What was it like to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team?

Morelle McCane: To qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team was amazing. It was amazing to see that all my hard work paid off and that all the pain I had to endure was worth it. I felt like Charlie at the Cholocate Factory.

James Stillerman: Was qualifying for the Olympics the biggest highlight of your amateur career, or was it something else?

Morelle McCane: I think going to the Olympics might not be everyone’s top goal, but it was my top amateur goal. Making it to the Olympic stage shows you are one of the best fighters in your country and the world.

James Stillerman: What is it like to be the first female boxer from Cleveland to go to the Olympics?

Morelle McCane: To represent Cleveland is excellent because it is a fantastic city with many great athletes and exceptional talent. To be the first girl to do it is extra special. Now is the time for women’s sports to take over, and I am honored to be able to represent girls on this big stage.

James Stillerman: What is your boxing schedule like leading up to the Olympics? How is training/sparring going?

Morelle McCane: We train [at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado] three times a day, twice in the morning from 7-8 and 8-10:30, and then strength and conditioning at 2 p.m. We train six days a week. We leave Colorado on July 7th and will be in Germany until July 20th. From there, we go to Paris. [The Olympics will take place from July 26th to August 11th].

Training is going well. I am sparring with Jahmal Harvey and Omari Jones, two male welterweights on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.

James Stillerman: After the Olympics, will you turn professional or continue as an amateur, or does it depend on how you do?

Morelle McCane: I am just thinking about the Olympics right now, and I am entirely focused on that. I am not thinking about anything else. After the Olympics, I will think about my next move.

James Stillerman: What made you continue to fight after you came close to retiring from boxing in 2020?

Morelle McCane: [She missed out on making the 2020 Olympic Team] I talked with some of my teammates, in particular, “Tiger” Delante Johnson [13-0, 6 KOs as a professional], who was on the Olympic Team then, and also from Cleveland, and he told me to continue box and that I could get better. That helped motivate me to stay in boxing. Then, one of the volunteer boxing coaches came to me and said that I had a lot of talent, but if I worked on some fundamentals, I could take my skills to the next level, and that is what I did.

James Stillerman: How difficult was it to go to college, box, and work?

Morelle McCane: [She earned her Associate’s Degree in Applied Business from Cuyahoga
Community College in 2017] Maintaining my schedule was difficult. I went to school in the morning, boxed in the evening, and then worked the third shift [overnight] as a direct support caregiver for people with intellectual disabilities. During this time, I did not see myself on the Olympic Team because I had little time to dedicate to boxing. I did not compete in my first elite national boxing tournament until 2018, so I got a late start in boxing. Unlike other sports, boxing is a year-round sport, so it is tough, but if you have the determination and the willingness to push through, you can achieve anything.

James Stillerman: What kind of impact did your brother’s death have on you? How do you honor him today?

Morelle McCane: My [younger] brother [Gregory Jr. passed away in July 2013 when he was in ninth grade from drowning] was a big part of my life, and he loved boxing. I remember him going to my first boxing fight and wearing a belt I had just won [she briefly quit boxing after his death]. Knowing that he saw my first amateur fight but did not see my last amateur fight is heartbreaking, but I am taking him to Paris with me on the plane. I got his picture with me. I also got him on my shirt and key chain so he will be there in spirit, and I know that it would make his heart smile knowing how far I have come in the sport.

James Stillerman: What do you tell girls who look up to you as a role model?

Morelle McCane: I would tell girls, “Fight Like A Girl” is not a negative statement. You should not be ashamed of it because it is a statement of empowerment. We, females, have the ability to show off that we are strong, powerful, and the best.

James Stillerman: Anything you want to tell your fans?

Morelle McCane: Thank you for the love and support. This journey has not been easy, but I will perform to the best of my ability in Paris, round by round, and I will win the gold medal, so keep cheering for me because your love and support have helped me achieve great things.

For more information about her boxing career and upcoming Olympic schedule, friend her on Instagram at million_dollar_mo, visit her website at, and check out

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