The Revelstoke Boxing Club will show off its new facility at Mount Begbie School and a growing pool of local boxing talent at its club show this Saturday, April 6.
Coach Jason Stewardson is leading several young boxer into the ring, and lacing up the gloves after a 13-year hiatus from competition. “We were trying to put together a boxing card for the young guys. One of the young fighters asked if I’d fight and I couldn’t think of why I wouldn’t fight,” said the 37-year-old coach.
He’ll be up against Kamloopsian Ken Huber, the current B.C. provincial champion. “He’s a body puncher,” Stewardson said. “He likes to fight as opposed to box … which I enjoy. It’ll be a good bout because we’re going to be exchanging a lot of combinations.”
The main card, however, is not the big story. The Revelstoke Boxing Club is enjoying a wave of popular success, including its recent relocation to the new facility.
It’s Wednesday night and just under 30 young men are skipping rope, punching bags, tossing medicine balls, running laps, shadow boxing and generally hanging out with their friends in a fairly relaxed environment.
Inside the ring, four older boxers spar aggressively for the last half of the practice, trading blows that could be mistaken for a real match. They’re getting ready for the real thing on Saturday.
Coach Jason Stewardson said it was actually a bit of a slow night.
“It’s a great cross-fit workout,” he said. “These kids here come out to get physically fit. Young boys just like to release some energy on the heavy bags. Some of them, they just get addicted to it. There’s an endorphin rush that comes with punching a heavy bag.”
He thanked the Revelstoke School Board for use of the facility. “Most boxing clubs don’t have the ability to have this amount of kids in it,” he said. “It’s great.”
Stewardson said his coaching style balanced the needs of the boys and young men. They need structure, but not too much. Let them relax, but not goof off.
18-year-old Revelstoke boxer Connor Null will compete against a Prince George opponent on Saturday night.
“It’s probably going to be one of my hardest fights, but I’m comfortable with my chin,” Null said. He’s got the opportunity to be crowned champion in B.C. “I’m just going to try to change it up. I’m going to go in there comfortable with what I’ve learned and stick with the game plan.”
Coach Stewardson said it will be a challenge for Null. “He’s got his work cut out for him, but we’re confident that he’s going to come out on top.”
PHOTO: Coach Jason Stewardson gives advice to Connor Null (left) and Connor Makarewicz during a sparring session last week. Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Times Review
Also competing is Connor Makarewicz “He’s a hard-hitting loop and hook style fighter,” Stewardson said. “He reminds me a bit of Mike Tyson.”
Darrian Cameron, 13, will fight in the 120-pound category. Other Revelstoke boxers will also lace up.
On the sidelines, mom Shannon Litke is watching her pre-teen son Jackson work the bags. It’s her first time to one of the practices. Jackson’s friends convinced him to take up boxing a few weeks ago. “They just had nothing but good things to say about it,” Litke said. The program promotes fitness and has the right combination of structure and flexibility. Jackson has swimming practice before boxing, so the coaches take his fatigue into account. She also said the sport was very affordable compared to many in town.
Before the boys arrive, the ladies’ boxercise practice is underway. Six women go through the drills, working the bags and performing exercises and stretches.
PHOTO: The Revelstoke Boxing Club is enjoying big membership numbers following their move to the Begbie View gym. They’ll showcase the new facility at their Saturday, April 6 club show when coach Jason Stewardson and several Revelstoke boxers will lace up against visiting fighters. Here, Stacey Sanchez and other members of the ladies’ boxercise class get a workout on the heavy bags during last Wednesday’s practice. Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Times Review
Boxer Stacy Sanchez said she joined for fitness and enjoys the structured, coached environment. It’s not intimidating, she said. Most women don’t ever get in the ring, but it is an option for those who want to. The ladies’ class started in the fall, and Sanchez said her fitness has improved. She also said the $40 monthly fee is affordable considering coached practices are available several times a week.
The doors open at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Fights at 7 p.m. $10 general admission.
PHOTO: A young boxer gets some advice from one of the older boys. Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Times Review