After opening their doors only six short months ago the Red Deer & District Boxing Club has experienced a growing rate of membership.
This past Saturday, the Club hosted an official grand opening in which they saw around 150 Club members, members of the community and professional boxers alike come by to view the new facility.
With the grand opening of the Red Deer and District Boxing Club, the City now boasts two top-notch boxing facilities alongside the long-standing Red Deer Boxing Club.
During Saturday’s grand opening, 25 youth members who had never boxed prior to joining the Club had the chance to take part in their first ever boxing match, as the card for the evening saw 13 bouts for visitors to admire.
“The bouts on Saturday helped kids who have never had a real match before to prepare for their first match,” explained head coach Dennis Ejack. “They were in a real boxing ring with the crowd cheering and a referee in there with them.
“When kids go to their first boxing match they can feel really intimidated because they have never been in a large scale ring before – so this was a great experience to get them ready for our upcoming season.”
Also in attendance at the event was Canadian welterweight champion Steve ‘The Dragon’ Claggett of Calgary as well as Stuart McLellan out of Williams Lake, B.C. where they officially announced their Sept. 18th national title bout.
The pair was onhand at the grand opening to not only announce their title fight being held at Calgary’s Deerfoot Inn Casino, but were also signing autographs and taking photos with members of the Club.
Ejack, who recently retired from a position as vice president of Boxing Alberta, has been involved in the boxing industry since the late 80s when his son began training at the age of eight.
While he never expected to one day be running his own club during those early years, he said the desire to start his own came from his and fellow coaches’ love of boxing.
“We wanted our Club to be affordable and a place where kids from any background can learn to box and especially for low-income families with kids – we want to make sure everyone is included,” said Ejack, adding other sports like hockey and soccer can be extremely expensive.
He explained the new Club also has sponsorship programs for low-income families to alleviate the costs so that, “No child gets left behind.”
Currently the Club hosts a membership of 40, with participants ranging in age from five to 55.
Despite the backgrounds many of his 40 members may come from, he said he has witnessed a special thing take place over the course of the last six months.
“We spend time with kids from all backgrounds, but one thing we’ve seen is how the youth in our gym have gone from a boxing club to a boxing family – no matter where you come from everyone is an equal in this gym.”
Currently the Club is host to seven certified coaches all of whom must undergo annual criminal record checks and minimum level 1 coaching certification. Ejack explained the Club has no paid employees, only volunteers with a love for boxing.
He added the necessity for criminal record checks came from the Club wanting to ensure parents had a guaranteed safe environment to leave their kids in.
He explained good coaching is what gets the kids to where they are.
“When someone comes to our gym they are going to be working with a variety of different coaches every night,” he said. “There’s always a minimum of three coaches at the gym every night – they’re there for boxers to ask questions like, How is my footwork?, Am I hitting the bag as best I can? or Am I keeping my hands up?”
While some clubs will say you need to work on two things to be a good boxer – power and speed, Ejack said the Red Deer & District Boxing Club goes further in depth.
“We go beyond that and we teach not only power and speed, but also focus so they are focused in the ring, commitment so they want to become better at the sport at their own rate, and the fifth thing is stamina/cardio.
“We start off like building a house – the foundation is a boxer’s footwork and work our way up to the stance and various other aspects,” he said.
“The foundation to any good boxer is their footwork, I always tell the kids you wouldn’t build a million dollar house on a $2,000 foundation.”
He added coaching is the only way kids will ever be able to develop their own unique styles of boxing.
“Pacquiao doesn’t fight like Mayweather – so that’s what we are looking for is these kids to get into a comfort zone where they can decided if they want to be a counter puncher or a lead off puncher and that will take them a long way.”
The Red Deer & District Boxing Club is open Monday to Thursday from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and is located at #6, 4940 54 Ave.
Visit their facebook page at by searching Red Deer & District Boxing Club.