Kelowna boxers step into ring at nationals

Curtis Anderson, Austin Rigg and Ajay Bopari will compete next week in Quebec at Canadian youth and junior national championships.

Thistletown Boxing Club members (left to right) Austin Riggs

Thistletown Boxing Club members (left to right) Austin Riggs

A trio of Kelowna boxers will add to their national résumé Nov. 19 to 23 in Quebec City.

Thistletown Boxing Club’s Curtis Anderson and Austin Riggs, along Ajay Bopari from the Kelowna Boxing Club, will step into the ring next week at the Canadian youth and junior national championships.

Anderson (63 kg) and Riggs (50 kg) will compete in the junior C division, while Bopari (64 kg) plans to contend in the youth (16-19) division.

Joining the local boxers in Quebec will be Thistletown coach Graham McIntosh who will serve as an assistant coach on Team B.C.

Anderson and Riggs, both Grade 10 students at Mt. Boucherie Secondary, are 2013 B.C. champs in their respective categories.

“(Curtis) is a very hard working, dedicated boxer and great listener,” said McIntosh. “He’s a technical boxer with great skills and puts in 100 per cent effort.”

On Riggs: “Austin is very strong, very hard-hitting for his age,” McIntosh added. “He’s technically a good boxer.”

Bopari, 17, who is the 2013 B.C. Golden Gloves and provincial champion at 64 kg, will be making his third appearance at nationals.

KBC coach Dave Habib likes Bopari’s chances of making it onto the podium next week.

“He’s truly one of our most talented kids,” said Habib. “The big hurdle for us has always been his mental side, but we’ve made good headway with him and he’s taken big steps. He’s well-rounded, he’s very capable and I think his chances are very good.”

“Expectations are good (for Kelowna boxers),” added McIntosh. “The eastern provinces tend to have a little more experience, they’re technically some of the best, so that will be a challenge for our guys.”

In addition to the youth and junior nationals, Quebec City is hosting the senior box-offs at the same time. It will be an opportunity for the young Okanagan boxers to rub shoulders with and learn from some of Canada’s best fighters.

“It’s a chance to see former Olympians like Custio Clayton and Mary Spencer,” said McIntosh. “It’s will be a great experience, to see the path of success that these boxers have taken.”

For McIntosh, this will be his third stint as an assistant coach for Team B.C. at nationals.


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