If you’ve never seen boxing live, like me, then you’ve missed out on an experience far more thrilling than it appears on TV.
I had the luck to take in the B.C. Provincial Boxing Championships finals at the Revelstoke Boxing Club facility at the former Big Eddy School on Sunday.
The physicality and relentlessness of the three-round bouts was impressive, to say the least. When it’s decided on points in a few short rounds, boxers let it all hang out. Tiny splatters of blood dotted the ground ringside as youth and senior boxers battled it out in the ring.
To the untrained eye, the difference in skill levels stood out. In pro bouts, the boxers are closely matched and fight plans are carefully adapted to the opponent. But in the round-robin amateur tournament, boxers have to take on unknown elements.
And in the boxers’ hearts, just as much is on the line as the pro purses. At the B.C. Provincial Championships, some of the winners would earn a shot at the Canadian Nationals, with a potential Olympic dream just a few wins away.
In the first bout I witnessed, Jag Seehra defeated Nasim Ahmed 26-20 in the 60 kg final. Seehra clearly out-skilled Ahmed, who nevertheless held his own in the fight. Seehra represents Prince George’s Inner City Boxing Club. Seehra is a member of Boxing Canada’s elite B team, and is currently ranked 49th in the world in the senior 60 kg category.
Of the nine fights, the match between Connor Null of the Revelstoke Boxing Club and Marcus Sandhu of Vancouver’s Astoria Boxing Club won the trophy for fight of the night.
The shorter, stockier Null faced off against a taller, leaner opponent. The boxers came out firing and definitely got the crowd fired up.
Despite being bloodied several times during the fight, Null never backed down, moving forward with flurries in an attempt to catch up with the score card. In the end, all the heart in the world wasn’t enough for Null. Sandhu used better movement and strategy to out-box Null, earning a 14-8 decision from the judges.
The transition from a fiery eyed fighter in the ring to a quiet, soft-spoken young man outside of it was stark. Null told me the fight had been an “incredible experience.” He was happy the crowd was pleased with the fight and he learned a lot. He’ll now focus on the “slick” style and movement of the national-level boxers. “I gotta work my way into that,” he said. He thanked his new coach, CP Rail employee and former professional boxer Jason Stewardson, and said he plans to work hard for his next match. “He wants me to be one step better in every match.”
Revelstoke Boxing Club president Sam LeRose says the tournament was a big success. It was only the second time in recent memory that the provincials were held outside of the Lower Mainland. The 80 boxers who showed up put on a great show. “It’s big-time,” he told me.
Drop into the Big Eddy gym on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays at 7 p.m. for your free introduction to boxing.
Here are the results of The B.C. Provincial Championships in order of the fights:
Youth 81 kg: Sheldon Perris (Salmon Arm Bulldogs Boxing Club) 19-16 over Chani Sahota (Maple Ridge Boxing Club)
Senior 60 kg: Jag Seehra (Inner City Boxing Club) 26-20 over Nasim Ahmed (Queensborough Boxing Club)
Youth 64 kg: Spencer Howard (Thistletown Boxing Club) 13-12 over Sasa Haghigat-joo (Action Boxing Club)
Senior 64 kg: Robbie Cusine (Spruce Capital Boxing Club) 34-19 over David Funk (Maple Ridge Boxing Club)
69 kg: Shawn Roberts 8-5 over Brandon Busby
Senior 75 kg: Robert Taylor (Olson’s Gym) 15-7 over Ray Bealieu (Two Rivers Boxing Club)
Senior 69 kg: Sean Kearney (Pep Boxing and Fitness) 18-15 over Harley Mulvahill (Williams Lake Boxing Club)
Youth 60 kg: Marcus Sandu (Astoria Boxing Club) 14-8 over Connor Null (Revelstoke Boxing Club)
Thomas Spiers (Spruce Capital Boxing Club) 24-9 over Aron McKenzie (Olson’s Gym)