Local coach leads BC boxers to success

B.C. boxers returned from a national competition last month with a selection of medals.

By Centine Wilbers


B.C. boxers returned from a national competition last month with a selection of medals, and their team leader, Garth Rizzuto, couldn’t be happier about it.

From January 10 to 14, Canada’s fittest and finest boxers converged on Membertou in Sydney, Nova Scotia, for the 2012 Canadian National Senior Elite Championships. The competition hosted over 110 bouts and 250 competitors, including British Columbia representatives Robbie Cusine, David Funk, Robert Taylor, Ken Huber, and Rosalia Calia, with Kenny Lally earning a Gold medal, Thomas Spiers a Silver, and Jag Seehra, Dylan Bishop and Jaime Ward all receiving a Bronze medal for their bouts. In addition, Heavy Weight boxer Spiers and Welter Weight Cusine were honoured to receive the title of ‘fight of the night’ in their respective categories.

Team Leader Garth Rizzuto, founder of the Fernie Old School Boxing Club, was thrilled with the results. “Boxing requires a different kind of competitor,” says Garth, “Determination, technique, courage. Anyone can fight, but very few people can box.” The National competition attracts the highest calibre of Canadian boxers, including Olympic hopefuls. In addition, the 2012 Games in London will mark the official debut of female boxing as an Olympic sport. “This is a very exciting time for boxing,” Rizzuto continues. “We were so thrilled with our female competitors, Rosalia Calia and Jaime Ward.”

When asked about the Boxing Club’s eye-catching title, Rizzuto laughs. “There are a few reasons for that one. First we had planned to set up the boxing club in an old school, so there’s the literal meaning. But we also strive for a more educational approach at Fernie Old School Boxing Club. We move at a slower pace, as we are trying to teach people new skills.” Rizzuto’s eyes gleam mischievously as he concludes, “And then I’m no spring chicken either.”

Fernie Old School Boxing Club welcomes novice and experienced boxers of all levels, whether interested in competition or fitness. And with Fernie hosting the 2012 Bronze Gloves tournament on May 26 and 27, Rizzuto hopes to attract new athletes to the sport. “The Bronze Gloves is limited to boxers who have had 10 fights or less,” Rizzuto explains. “It’s a great way to introduce new boxers to the pressures of competing.” And what keeps Canucks legend Garth Rizzuto interested? “Competing is a way of life for me. I just love to compete.”

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