By Greg Price
A large local contingent of amateur boxers made its way to the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in Calgary on Dec. 29 to participate in a fight card, with some stepping into the ring competitively for the very first time.
“It is such a different feel being in an actual fight where a guy is trying to hurt you, knock you out. In sparring, guys are going hard, but if a guy gets clipped with a good shot in sparring, I’m saying slow it down,” said Joel Mills, who trained the eight local fighters at Pro Performance Athletic Centre. “In a real fight, a guy gets hit with a good shot and that guy is smelling blood and he’s going to try and hit you with an even better shot which is a whole different thing. That was a bit of a surprise for some, but all the guys fought hard. I just wanted the guys to go out there and give it their best shot and they all did, I couldn’t be more proud of how they performed.”
The final record of the local boxers was three wins, four losses and one was a no contest with the difference in weight gap, making it an exhibition bout.
“All the guys had great attitudes and they put on a show. I’m not biased being they are my own guys, but they got some tough opponents,” said Mills. “They were not in there against soft guys. They were in their hard.”
Jared Bell, Spencer Valgardson, and Oskar Timofiejew’s opponents were referred to as ‘monsters’ by Mills.
“They were all in really tough and what impressed me was they still came to fight. None of them got intimidated which says something about their character,” said Mills. “Out of all the opponents that were picked, Bell definitely got the hardest opponent. He was a monster with absolutely no body fat on him and he was a southpaw. Bell got the respect of everybody in that room that night.”
Bell suffered the loss in his first amateur fight, but one moment stood out for him of why people get excited about the fight game stepping into the ring.
“He went to try and take an angle around me and I caught him with a straight right hook and it was the cleanest punch I’ve landed (in the fight or sparring) and that place just went nuts,” said Bell. “Now I could see what Joel was talking about on why people get hooked on this.”
Bell added he would get back in the ring, but learned he has to go into the ring as a lighter fighter and cut down his body fat.
“I came in as a soft 165 and he was a ripped 168 and he was a big man,” said Bell.
Justin Young was able to stop his opponent in the third round according to Mills.
“Justin is really coming into his own. He’s a tall southpaw and he’s rangy,” said Mills.
Brad Olson had one of the more entertaining fights according to Mills.
“He just flat out overpowered his guy,” said Mills of Olson who is now 2-0 in his amateur career.
Brent Anderson knocked his opponent out in the first round, improving on the win he had against the same opponent back in Taber in July that went the distance.
“The crowd was Taber heavy. A lot of guys came out to support these guys. It’s amazing how people get behind their own here. In a sport like boxing where the crowd can mean so much, it’s a huge advantage to have that crowd support,” said Mills. “As more fighters try it out and more fighters take the plunge, I just feel like boxing is going to grow here. I sense a big future for amateur boxing here.”