Wise people will tell you it’s a good idea to pick your fights in this world. In the case of the combatants in the Fourth Annual White Collar boxing event in Red Deer, the fight is picked for you – sort of.
Colin Acheson, a coach at the Red Deer and District Boxing Club said the organizers are very careful about how they match up these novice fighters, making sure nobody has a huge advantage at the end of training.
“The rules of Boxing Canada state boxers must be within a certain number of years of age of each other. They must be within a certain amount of weight and they must have the same amount of experience.”
The first card was held in 2009 at the Capri Hotel (now the Sheraton Red Deer) in the event centre under the guidance of Steve Boisson but it has certainly grown in stature over the years evidenced by the sold out status of this years’ brawl Nov. 16th at the Harvest Centre.
“It’s because of the effort he put in over the past three years that we are able to sell it to corporate Red Deer,” he said.
There will be four white collar bouts with the main event featuring a pair of local, everyday guys in PJ Swales, the athletics and marketing coordinator at Red Deer College exchanging punches with local firefighter Ken Boniface.
The night involves boxers with little or no experience in the sweet science and has sparked an interest in the sport, generally from a somewhat specific demographic.
“Usually older fellows that always wondered how they would do if they had a chance to get into the ring,” he said.
After a tough 12 week training regimen the fighters are ready to rumble, said Acheson. “It’s amazing how far they’ve come.”
Even so, this event isn’t geared towards discovering the next big name in the boxing world, he said.
Although there are a couple of national and international champions which have climbed the basement stairs of the Club such as Arash Usmanee and Cam O’Connell, someone who would likely follow in their shoes won’t come from this group.
“This is to come in and train for 12 weeks and strut your stuff in front of your family, friends and co-workers,” said Acheson.
Money raised at the event goes to Young Adult Cancer Canada for research and the Boxing Club will use its portion for maintenance of the club and purchasing equipment.
“We’ve got an awful lot of great equipment but the kids go through it in a hurry,” said Acheson. “Sparring gloves get worn out, head gear gets worn out, the uniforms get worn out.”
The organization also needs money to transport the younger, competitive fighters in the Club to events around the province.
Club fees run $40 per month and Acheson said there are no contracts to sign and all are welcome.
“If you don’t have the money, we’ve never turned anyone away. You’ll be expected to wash out a spit bucket or something worse than that but nobody’s turned away because they haven’t got the money and we’re pretty proud of that.”
That approach might be what makes the science of boxing sweet, at least in the case of the local club.