Bigger, faster, stronger and smarter in the ring is how Bulldogs Boxing coach Peggy Maerz describes the change she has seen in Dominic Barbosa in three and a half months.
After being crowned the champion in the 60-kilogram novice junior C category at the Golden Gloves tournament in June, Barbosa, 15, confidently stated his desire to win provincials, make Team B.C., and box at nationals.
“I have been working for the past three years for this chance,” said Barbosa, the newly crowned U16 light welterweight provincial champion, who will travel to Quebec to represent the province at nationals in April next year. Last weekend the orthodox-style boxer made the trip to the Lower Mainland for the provincial tournament.
There were three boxers registered in Barbosa’s wight class, but unfortunately two days before the tournament one of the boxers withdrew from the competition due to a neck injury.
“Despite the field going down to only two fighters, we were still confident Dom would get the chance to fight for the title,” said Maerz. Unfortunately for Barbosa, that didn’t pan out as the other boxer also withdrew before the weigh-in due to illness, leaving Barbosa to claim the title on the scale without throwing a punch.
“He was distraught about winning on the scale,” said Maerz. “He’s a real competitor and he wanted to prove himself in the ring. He wants to be one of those boxer that others fear.”
Barbosa did have an opportunity to step into the ring over the weekend in an exhibition match against a much less experienced fighter.
“He was a good challenge for me because he is a south paw, taller and has a longer reach than me. That meant I had to double up on my jabs and rely more on my left hook,” Barbosa said. He won the bout and was complimented for his sportsmanship by many of coaches in attendance for not ganging up on his opponent, said Maerz.
With six months to train for nationals Barbosa says he is anxious for the trip.
Once splitting time between the ring and the ice, the determined 15-year-old has hung up the skates to focus on his rigorous six-day training schedule.
“He follows the training schedule we set up, but even on his rest day you can find him sparring for two hours, so he’s actually going everyday,” Maerz said. Barbosa is eager to get into the ring as much as he can in preparation for nationals and says he will travel throughout the province, Alberta and even Saskatchewan to get more experience.
“The tournament will be a great learning experience and a little overwhelming I think. If I make the podium that will just be extra.”