I can still remember sitting at Schnitzels in March 2016 and meeting with Jorge Luis and David Murphy about doing an amateur boxing match for the Children’s Treatment Centre. Jorge told us if we were in we’d need to train 2-3 time a week at Champs Boxing Club and then on our own the other days. It sounded more than manageable at the time and I was pretty excited to get started.
I can remember the first 3 weeks with great clarity since I thought it wasn’t something I was going to be able to do since the workouts were quite intense and far more difficult than any other type of training I’ve ever done. I have done Crossfit, Strongman and Highland Heavy Event training and none of those was even close to boxing. Once I got through week four I realized it was going to be a challenge and decided I was up for it and would be better for it on the flip side of the event.
We started training at the end of March 2016 and were originally eyeing November as fight night but that was postponed until last Saturday which gave us the 13 months to prepare. I can’t say enough about all of the members at Champs Boxing Club for welcoming me in and making me feel like part of the team from the get-go. Honestly the people are what made it easier to go to the gym on those days just seeing them commit to the training and encouraging me every step of the way. You are all inspirations in my book and will always be.
To the coaches there are not enough words to say thank you. The time and effort spent on a “has been” who “never was” week after week with your dedication to getting me ready. I was not treated with kid gloves or giving something easier since it was a charity match. I was in the trenches with everyone sweating it out and finding entire other gears I never knew I had in me. Boxing showed me that and the coaches helped me find them. Jorge and Elaine Luis, Tony Luis, Sammy and Matt Veenstra were always ready to help you get to that next step of level with their tough love and passion for the sport and the people training at the club. All of their help and motivating words leading up to and the night of the fight will never be forgotten.
Jorge Luis. The respect I have for this man knows no end. I respected him going in but what he has done for me personally through this training cannot be repaid. They private daytime workouts he committed to in order to work around my schedule despite his own is greatly appreciated. A few years ago I shattered my collar bone, collapsed a lung and broke a rib in a cycling accident followed by a debilitating sciatica episode. At that time I was in the shape of my life. It was a big blow. Once I started to rehab I lost my father to cancer. I was lost for a long time after that. I was hitting the gym but not really doing much and was just spinning my wheels. I can honestly say this journey has saved my life. The commitment Jorge gave to me had me doing things my body hadn’t done in a long time. I am way more functional as a human today than I was a year ago and Jorge has helped me get there. I want him to know all his time was not lost on me and I will NEVER forget how much he has helped me take back my health. I still have some work to do but thanks to him I know I will get it done. Thank you Jorge.
Boxing is a lifestyle and one I tried to live for four months leading up to the big night. It was difficult based on what I do for a living and the events I attend regularly but I cut out alcohol and tightened up my diet. All of this was hard to adapt to but I did my best. My level of respect for the amateur and pro boxers has grown to an extreme level knowing what commitment it take not just in the gym but outside as well everyday. I salute all of you.
Matt Veenstra has one speed as a coach and it’s bulldog level from the word go. He is hard on you in the gym but it’s always to make you better. He was in my corner on fight night and was instrumental in keeping my nerves in check and really helped get me ready for the big tilt. His words, demeanor and warmup were spot on…Thank You Matt (I can still see your smile at me between rounds). Sammy was also in my corner and I feel he has been since day one. Your words, help and encouragement were/are greatly appreciated brother.
A massive thank you to my family for my messed up schedule and boxing training talk at home for the past year. They were nothing but supportive the entire journey. The love and support I got from Janie and Max after the fight was over will always make me smile, knowing they were still proud of their dad despite losing the decision. To my rock and partner in everything, Celine. She was my biggest fan and supporter from the beginning and helped me through all of this crazy ride. I thought I couldn’t love you more but I do. Thank you for being there every step of the way. I love you.
To my sponsors, the Cornwall Colts, Esca Gourmet Pizza & Bar, Axxis Optical and Boom 101.9 thank you for your support. I was proud to have your logos on my trunks and your help covered the cost of many things leading up to fight night so the Children’s Treatment Centre can benefit.
Finally Murph…congrats on the decision. It was an honour to train along side you the past year and enter the ring for three rounds in support of a great cause. We’ve trained, sweat and even bled together through all of this and our friendship is even stronger than before despite punching each other in the face many times. I know both our fathers would be proud of what we accomplished.
The book is closed on this chapter but the lessons I’ve learned over the past year will help me the rest of my life and all the above mentioned people have helped with that and it will never be forgotten.