Three Cranbrook Eagles boxers represented the Provincial Boxing Team at the 2018 Canadian National Championships, which took place in Edmonton from March 26 through April 1.
Connor Rankin, the 23-year-old elite division boxer competing in the 56-kilogram division, took on the tough Dustin Howick from Ontario in a quarter final match-up. Howick’s constant pressure was too much for Rankin and the referee stopped the bout in the second round.
At the National Championships a loss means the end and so Rankin took to cheering on teammates Dylan Clark and Nike Blackmore.
Clark, weighing in at 64 kilograms and competing in his first-ever Nationals, drew Brett Huard from Ontario. Clark’s classy punch-and-move style worked early on, winning him the first round. The second and third rounds favoured Huard with his awkward grab-and-hold-on style.
At fight’s end it was Huard winning a close split decision. Coming so close to the medal round motivated Dylan Clark to want to return in 2019 for redemption.
Provincial Youth Heavyweight Champion Nike Blackmore had to wait till the end of the week to get his first taste of ring action.
Blackmore went right to the gold-medal match against Abdullah Fattahi from Quebec.
Fattahi proved to be the biggest challenge in Blackmore’s young career, as both boxers exchanged punches from the opening bell.
Blackmore stalked Fattahi forcing his Quebecois rival to counterpunch while fighting off the ropes.
After two rounds of toe-to-toe punching the bout was even.
Round three saw Blackmore’s superior conditioning overwhelm Fattahi, with Blackmore’s overhand right scoring hard and often.
Nervously awaiting the decision in the centre of the ring the announcement came: Your new 2018 Canadian Youth Heavyweight Champion, in the red corner, Nike Blackmore!”