Morning Star Staff
Two provinces collide this weekend at the Vernon Rec Centre auditorium with Western Canadian amateur boxing supremacy on the line.
More than 90 boxers from B.C. and Alberta will square off over the two-day event, hosted by CounterPunch Boxing Club.
“This will be the biggest amateur boxing event in B.C. in the last decade,” said Tony Stamboulieh, president of Boxing B.C. and head coach at CounterPunch.
The bell rings Friday night at 7 p.m. The sweet science picks up again with cards Saturday afternoon at 1 and 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10. Advance tickets are available at Breakaway Fitness and the Bean Scene.
Male and female boxers 11 and up, along with Canadian champions, are confirmed. The Canadian champions will be fighting out of the senior division.
Kenny Lally, who hails from Prince George, is a five-time national winner.
The Brown brothers from Mission, Cody and Jesse, who are Canadian gold medalists, will also fight.
Jessie won a silver at youth Commonwealth Games and is a three-time Canadian champion. Cody won the “Best Boxer of the tournament” at the nationals in Quebec last December in the 60- kilogram division.
Vernon will have plenty of athletes testing their talents in the ring.
Adam Woods, 17, will be headlining Saturday afternoon.
Woods is a Fulton grad and has been boxing for a year. He enters Saturday’s tilt with a 1-1 amateur record. He will be fighting in the middleweight division.
“I’m very excited for this weekend. My last few fights have been cancelled, or other fighters couldn’t make them. This is my chance.”
Woods expects to take on a Quesnel fighter.
Some fighters find out about their opponents a few days in advance, others not until right before the fight. Their match up depends on how many entries there are in each age group and weight class.
Usman Raza is a Vernon product, born and raised. Raza, 21 has been training with Stamboulieh for three years in the welterweight division.
Raza’s favourite part of boxing is defence.
“I love the technical side of boxing,” said Raza. “So much strategy comes in with defence and counter-punching”
He absorbs a lot from watching Bernard Hopkins fight, a defensive master at the professional ranks.
In the youngest age division, Hunter Byles, 11, is glowing with anticipation for his first fight.
“I am a little nervous, but also very excited,” said Byles. “I’m just going to try my hardest out there.”
Byles moved to Vernon five years ago from Richmond.
Byles started in judo but it didn’t feel right. A family friend recommended boxing for the young man and he hasn’t looked back since. He has been training since last September.
He enjoys sparring with other kids and working hard.
Vernon Boxing Club and CounterPunch Boxing Club will be showcasing fighters this weekend.
Boxing B.C. is governed by Boxing Canada and the International Amateur Boxing Association. All coaches working within Boxing B.C. are NCCP qualified.
Gurinder Khabra of Counterpunch lost his match against fsvoured Zakiah Hughes of Seattle by one point at the recent 66th Annual Tacoma Golden Gloves tournament.