By Adam R. MacDonald
This past Saturday and Sunday Fernie Old School Boxing hosted a B.C. Bronze Gloves boxing tournament at Fernie Secondary School. The tournament included close to 50 competitors from 12 different boxing clubs across B.C. and Alberta, with athletes from 10 to 30 years old. President and Head Coach of Fernie Old School Boxing and Coaches Rep. on the Board of Governors for Boxing BC, Garth Rizzuto, organized the event. “This is the type of tournament we really like,” said Rizzuto, “It gives a venue for young boxers to come together and test their skills. What makes it beautiful is the fact that we are in the Kootenays, where we can get a mixture of different styles and the boxers get that kind of experience that they need if they want to go on.”
The tournament also brought to town Peggy Maerz, the number one ranked professional boxer in Canada. Maerz, who coaches the Salmon Arm Bulldogs, says her favourite part about working with young people is the smiles and hugs, as well as watching their confidence grow. “When they first come in their shoulders are rounded and they look at their toes, and when they leave their shoulders are full back and their heads are up. I think a lot of coaches do it for that purpose—to build self confidence, to build strong people,” she said.
Rizzuto’s club saw three local boxers competing in the tournament. For two, Riley Strom and Byongwokn (B.) Ko, this was their first official boxing match. “I thought it was a lot of fun,” said Sparwood’s Strom, who has been boxing for less than a year. The third, Robert (Bob) Larsen, the Unit Chief for the Sparwood Ambulance Service, has been boxing for seven years. “The tournament brought a lot of people from town out; that’s exactly what I wanted to see,” said Larsen, after winning his bout against Thistletown’s Travis Peterson.