‘Honored to wear my city on my shoulders’: Cleveland boxer going to Olympics

CLEVELAND (WJW) — For more than 10 years, 29-year-old Morelle McCane has been training and punching her way onto the global stage, now qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympic games.

“We set the goal for the Golden Gloves, and we trained hard and I won,” McCane said. “I was just like, ‘Ah, I love this.’”

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Morelle qualified for this summer’s Olympics after finishing in the Top 2 at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, back in October.

“I teared up, I’m not going to lie,” McCane said. “When I came out the ring they gave you a ticket … your ticket to Paris. I got that ticket and I looked at it and a tear fell down. I was like, ‘wow!’”

Morelle got her start boxing in the backyards in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, eventually moving to the Glenville Recreation Center.

“I can’t say, ‘hard work and dedication’ and then give up,” McCane said. “I have to show them this is where I started. I started in this beautiful Glenville neighborhood, which was humble beginnings.”

Over the last decade, this Glenville High School alum has won more than 30 belts.

“I look at them every day and be like, ‘yeah, I did that. I’m her,” McCane said.

She’s a 9-time USA National Champion. A 4-time National Golden Cloves Champion and has competed in fights in 10 different countries all over the globe.

Morelle missed out on the 2020 games in Tokyo. She was devastated and she nearly quit boxing.

“I never knew what ‘roll with the punches’ meant, that saying, until I became a boxer,” McCane laughed. “If you want to be the best, there’s different levels. I was the best in the city. Now you have to be the best in the country. From being the best in the country, you have to be the best in the region, you have to be the best in the world … those became my goals. Once I understood that, I was like, ‘Oh no. We don’t give up around here. We just work harder.”

Now Morelle is refocused and has eyes on winning a gold medal and putting Cleveland on the map while inspiring everyone in her city and neighborhood.

“I’m honored to wear my city on my shoulders and show them you too can start here and end up here,” said McCane. “When they say ‘fight like a girl’ it’s not an insult. It’s a statement of empowerment. I’m there to represent that. I’m excited.”

And what would it mean to for her to win a gold medal?

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“Oh my God. I’m probably going to wear it for a year straight,” McCane chuckled. “I’d wear it to the grocery store, everywhere! I’m bringing it back for not only myself but for my city. I’m honored.”

McCane has created a GoFundMe page to help get her family to Paris. She estimates it will cost nearly $50,000 to bring eight members of her family to Paris.

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