The Cranbrook Curling Centre was a hub of boxing activity over the weekend, as athletes from across Western Canada braved the weekend snowstorm to put on a show for the B.C. Golden Gloves tournament.
The event featured 15 bouts spread out between Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, and included six boxers on the card that represented the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club.
The tournament was able to attract fighters for 15 bouts, but also competed with the Montana State championships, which were held on the same weekend and prevented more athletes from coming in.
“Boxing B.C. is in a rebuilding kind of year, just like hockey teams and baseball go through,” said Eagles Club boxing coach Tom White. “We are really in a rebuilding state, but we have a lot of young fighters that are up-and-comers, so it was a big deal for us to get this.”
White himself even stepped in the ring for an exhibition match against George Sanders, who will be competing in the Master’s division at the World Championships in August.
White explained how he ended up in the ring.
“About three weeks ago, Mickey, our old coach here at Cranbrook Eagles—who coached me from when I was a kid—he said, ‘Listen, I got a guy going to the Master’s Worlds in Kansas City, Missouri, in August,’ in my weight class—126 pounds.
“He says, ‘Do you mind fighting him in your card?,’ so right away, I said ‘Absolutely’.”
Being that it was an exhibition match, no winner was declared, but the crowd was treated to a technical showcase as White and Sanders drew on their experience throughout three one-minute rounds.
“It’s always fun,” said White. “I love it.”
Of the six local boxers with the Eagles Club, two fought in their very first matches, while another came out of relative retirement for an exhibition bout.
Phoenix Larsen stepped into the ring for the very first time, but dropped his match to Thomas Gordon out of the Sunshine Boxing Academy in Saskatchewan.
Ashton Brock also got into the ring for the very first time with two bouts over the two days, winning them both against Jarret Gordon, representing the Sunshine Boxing Academy.
“It feels really good, especially being at the Golden Gloves, for first fights,” said Brock. “…In front of a home crowd was so much better, you got all your friends there, your parents, it’s nice.”
Brock, 14, has been boxing with the Eagles Club for only five months.
While Brock won his first fight with a unanimous decision, the rematch was a little closer the following day.
“I knew that the second fight, he’d come out stronger, because he lost the first fight, so I knew he’d come out trying to win,” Brock added.
Dylan Clarke, another Eagles Club member, came out with a win and a loss against Logan Goodwill over the weekend. Clarke won the first match with a 3-2 split decision, but the ref had to step in and stop the fight in favour of Goodwill in the rematch.
“You get kids that have been in there for two years and they can’t get the technique down,” said White. “You get guys like Dylan (Clarke) and Ashton (Brock), who just naturally pick it up right away, they have good movement.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s rare to find a heavyweight at 14 years old, and to find him an opponent, so the two of these guys battling it out this weekend was amazing.”
Gage Duthie, also representing the Eagles Club, got into a war with Nick Abboud, who fought out of the Cougar Boxing Club out of Edmonton, however, the Albertan fighter took the match with a 3-2 split decision.
Coming out of semi-retirement was local fighter Colin Adams, a former B.C. champion and bronze medalist at Canadian nationals, who fought Shingo Yokomoto out of Thistletown Boxing Club in Kelowna.
Being an exhibition match, the judges didn’t render a decision, but the two but on a good show.
The Sunshine Boxing Academy picked up the award for best club, while Sasan Haghighat-Joo, who came in from Maple Ridge, earned the B.C. Golden Boy award.