The countdown is on to a popular boxing event that pits Fernie men and women against each other in the name of charity.
Sixteen boxers sponsored by local businesses will step into the ring for eight charity bouts when Fernie Old School Boxing hosts Judgement Night II at the Fernie Community Centre on Saturday night.
They will be joined by 14 amateur boxers from across B.C. and Alberta with the event to feature 15 bouts in total.
Fernie Old School Boxing President and Head Coach, Mike Johnson, said his amateur and charity boxers have been training hard, both in and out of the ring.
“It’s mix of cardio work,” he said. “Cardio is a big thing in boxing and if anybody is actually doing six three-minute rounds or even three three-minute rounds, you’ll know that that’s a lot of juice.
“It’s a single player sport… so you’ve got to make sure your fitness is good.”
Johnson and his staff have been teaching the sponsored boxers basic technique, including punches, guards, footwork and breathing, as many of them have never boxed before.
They will go up against each other in three one-minute rounds.
“I think they’ve learnt a lot about themselves, certainly working on their fitness,” said Johnson.
“We’ve got one of the guys who’s dropped about 15 pounds since he started. I think it’s been a journey but I think they’ll all enjoy it on the night, and hopefully we raise some money for local charities as well.”
The 2015 charity fight night raised $15,000 for Shyanne Osmond, a local child who required multiple surgeries for a rare medical condition.
Johnson said the proceeds from this year’s events will go to local non-profit organizations chosen by the club’s board after the event.
Judgement Night II is expected to sellout with numbers capped at 475 people. Tickets are $20 or free for children under 12.
They are available at Boardstiff, Fernie Super 8 Hotel, Fernie Old School Boxing and at the community centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
Hospitality workers, mother-of-four sign up for fight
Amie Bradsell has never boxed in her life but on Saturday she’ll glove up for a good cause.
The Nevados head chef is one of 16 sponsored boxers who will take part in eight charity bouts during Judgement Night II at the Fernie Community Centre.
“It’s definitely terrifying, the fight scares me but the training has been insane,” she said.
“I don’t think I’ve sweated this much my entire life, the workouts are great. My fitness level is probably the best it’s ever been.”
Bradsell has been training 4-5 times a week in the Fernie Old School Boxing gym, as well as working out at home.
As one of the smallest and lightest boxers, her focus will be on defense.
“Being quicker than everybody else is my aim,” she said.
“I’ve got my diet dialed at the moment, lots of protein.”
Bradsell’s family will be rooting for her in England, while her wife will be in the crowd at the community centre.
“She’s got a sign made that says ‘my wife hits better than your wife’,” laughed Bradsell.
Caleb Bate will also be making his boxing debut on Saturday. The New Zealand man is a bartender at the Fernie Hotel and Pub, which has sponsored him for the fight.
“I wanted a challenge, I wanted something to get me working that extra bit harder in the gym,” he said. “My dad has always said he wanted me to get into boxing, so I thought why not get introduced to it through a charity fight, where it’s not too intense and you can learn a lot from it.”
Bate is a former soldier and said the training reminds him of his time with the military. Judgement Night II has inspired him to take up boxing and he’s already thinking about signing up for more fights.
“I’m nervous of course, I’m really pumped up about it,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get out there and give it my best shot, and hopefully come away with a win for the Fernie Hotel and Pub.
“Thanks a lot to the guys for putting this on, I think it’s a really cool event and I’m really grateful to be a part of it.”
Jess Koehler has also enjoyed the training although she admits it’s been tough.
“I’ve done five years of CrossFit and this is still really challenging,” she said.
The mother-of-four is a plant labourer at Teck’s Greenhills Operations and was talked into signing up by her young boys. While Koehler finds the prospect of a public fight “a little nerve-wracking”, this won’t be her last.
“I think it’s definitely something I want to pursue afterwards, it’s a lot of fun and there are great people here,” she said.