Four Williams Lake boxers travelled to the Lower Mainland late last month, stepping into hostile territory while looking to improve their amateur records in the sport.
Dana Matthews, Arthur McLellan, Duncan McLellan and Joey Helminger each represented the Williams Lake Boxing Club at the Bollywood Banquet Hall in Surrey Feb. 29, each fighting in their respective weight classes.
Joey, 20, improved his amateur record to 5-1 after winning split decision over Erik Zienowicz of Kamloops.
“I was impressed with him,” Joey said of Zienowicz. “He drove from Kamloops without a coach or anything and showed up to fight.”
Joey said he managed to put advice he received from Williams Lake pro boxer Stuart McLellan and WLBC coach Gary McLellan into practice during the fight, which he noted proved to be pivotal.
“It manifested itself pretty well in the ring,” he said.
Stuart said Joey’s slipping — dodging punches — was the difference in the fight.
“He had a hard time hitting Joey and he got tired by the third round and Joey starting tagging him up good,” Stuart said.
On his fifth amateur win, Joey said his hard work in training is paying off.
“Things I’m learning here in the gym are sticking,” he said. “I’m just having a lot of fun, that’s for sure.”
Dana, meanwhile, lost a tough fight at 141 pounds versus Conph Zhi.
Arthur, 21, taking on Vincenzo Lawrence of Surrey at 147 pounds, lost a tough split decision.
“I lost the first round because he was a tall south paw, and he was taller than me,” he said. “I had to get used to fighting someone taller than me. I feel like I won the second and third. In the third I started rocking his head with straight rights.”
Arthur said while he thought he won the fight, the judges felt otherwise.
“It was a good fight,” he said.
Arthur’s younger brother Duncan, 19, meanwhile, fought in a rematch with provincial champion Harkarat Nijjar of Surrey.
“They fought a couple of months ago and we thought Duncan beat him at that time,” Gary said. “This one was like a wrestling match.”
Gary, Duncan and Stuart all said Duncan’s opponent grappled and hung onto him for much of the fight, not allowing him to box.
“I tried to get in close, and I finally worked my way in but he just grabbed onto me,” Duncan said.
WLBC members, meanwhile, are awaiting word on potential fights coming up at the end of March in Calgary, and also hope to line up opponents for an upcoming boxing show in Quesnel on April 25.