Border City boxers enter the ring

By Jamie Harkins

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

WORKING THE MITTS Kanyon Morin throws a punch at the focused mitts worn by coach Glen Prosser during a workout session at the new Lloydminster Boxing Club. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

The Lloydminster Boxing Club has just been reborn and it’s already producing quality fighters.
Koby Shorter beat the Jaguar Boxing Club’s Damon Keshane to win the Junior B 140-pound weight-class title in the Battle for the Belt competition at Regina’s Orr Centre on April 1. Shorter earned the double eight-count victory in his first amateur boxing match.
“The first few fights that I watched I was a little bit nervous, but after seeing my competitor my nerves calmed,” said Shorter, 14. “When I got in the ring it was basically like tunnel vision. I couldn’t see anything or think about anything outside the ring.”
Two Lloydminster Boxing Club fighters joined Shorter in the Battle for the Belt event. Emile Smith, a 17-year-old junior boxer, moved up a class to take on adult-aged heavyweight competitor Jess Belinski in an exhibition match, while nine-year-old Gavin Heise fought Jaden Gordon for the card’s sole Funbox bout.
“I did really well,” said Heise, noting he’s been hooked on the sport since his dad asked him to give it a chance a few months ago.
Lloydminster Boxing Club owner and coach Devon Burgess said Funbox is a new event for competitors aged 10 and under who were previously not allowed to box under Canadian Amateur Boxing Association rules. He said they’re one of the first clubs in the country to take advantage of the new division that emphasizes safety and sportsmanship over wins and losses.
Burgess said the Lloydminster Boxing Club has about 30 adult members and 15 to 20 kids registered for its non-competitive, which does not include contact or sparring, and competitive programs. He noted that positive response to the sport since the club opened its doors in mid-January has been incredible.
“Gord Blanchard used to own the boxing club,” said Burgess, who trained under ‘Butch’ Blanchard before joining the elite Saskatchewan First amateur boxing team. “It didn’t have the turnout that we have right now because back in the day there wasn’t the advertising, Internet and Facebook and stuff, like there is now. So, just lack of people coming down it folded up. Gordon passed away too and he isn’t around anymore. We figured we’d start this back up and give the kids something to do just as he did when I was young.”
Shorter said he joined the club soon after its startup in an attempt to focus his energy toward a more positive outlet than what he was getting into. He said the three-a-week competitive workouts that include sparring, hitting heavy bags and spot gloves as well as the heavy calisthenics work he puts in will hopefully help him earn a spot on the provincial team by the end of the year.
Burgess said the club holds three workout sessions a week, but the doors will always be open to fighters like Shorter who may need more training. He said they want to give all their competitive boxers an opportunity to excel in the ring and will soon head back on the road for more events to accomplish that goal.
“There is a competition for new fighters in Cranbrook at the end of the month and I think we’re going to attend that with probably 10 guys and a couple of girls,” said Burgess. “There is a competition in Regina next month we’re going to attend as well, so we’re going to try to attend as many competitions as we can.”

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