In the five years since opening the Thistletown Boxing Club in Kelowna, never has there been such a solid group of young boxers coming out of Kelowna.
A talented and committed group of boxers between the ages of 13 and 19 have been bringing home medals and titles from a variety of boxing cards this year including a bronze medal at the Canadian nationals in Quebec from Connor McKinley.
“I’m really, really happy with where the club is at,” said club founder and coach Graham McIntosh. “The numbers have grown consistently over the years and right now the age bracket of my competitive team is right where I want it to be. They are young. They can develop and mature physically. They will gain experience and move up the ranks to where they can qualify for junior provincial and national events.”
The year started well for Thistletown boxers, who brought home six B.C. Golden Gloves trophies from the B.C. championships in Vernon in April.
McKinley, Spencer Howard, Austin Riggs, Josh Slager, Hudsen Andersen and Chayse Schwandt all claimed titles at the Vernon event. McKinley and Andersen followed that with wins at the Edmonton Fight For Shelter card with McKinley being named best boxer of the night and Howard taking part in the best bout of the evening in a losing cause.
Schwandt, Riggs and Peterson all boxed to the finals of the 2012 Bronze Gloves championships held in Fernie in May with all finishing as the runner up while Riggs and Slager won titles at the Vancouver Evening at Ringside late last month.
McIntosh says along with the solid results, Thistletown boxers are also trained in ring strategy and etiquette.
“All my fighters think in the ring,” he said. “They don’t foul. They are very clean. They are nice looking boxers.”
Now in the official off-season of amateur boxing, McIntosh is still training his competitive team, which consists of about 10 boxers and is expected to grow next year to as many as 15. The competitive team works out alongside recreational members at the club who are there for the other health and cross-training elements to boxing.
The team will continue to train and prepare for next year’s competitive season which will begin in the new year and culminate with the nationals in October of 2013.
“This really gives us an opportunity to fine-tune the skills they possess, work on new skills, work on strength training and speed,” said McIntosh. “Once we are in the competitive season it’s difficult to teach new things or fix bad habits so this is an opportunity to really break down each fighter’s training.”
McIntosh is working on hosting an exhibition boxing card for this summer in Kelowna, although dates and a possible venue are still up in the air for the proposed B.C. vs. Alberta card.
For more information on the Thistletown Boxing Club, e-mail Graham McIntosh at firstname.lastname@example.org.