Rumble In The Rockies brings live boxing back to Fernie

Local boxer, Dylan Mitchell takes first career win at home

On Saturday night, 20 fighters from BC and Alberta faced off against each other during the Rumble In The Rockies amateur boxing tournament, presented by Fernie Old School Boxing and sanctioned by Boxing BC.

Both Junior and Elite Novice athletes stepped into the ring to showcase their moves and try and gain the upper hand. Some fought to gain a win, others, just for fun.

Fernie’s own Dylan Mitchell won his first fight on Saturday, which served as his second official fight. His opponent, Kenny Stratton of the Nelson Boxing Club, weighted in 12 pounds heavier than the local, but Mitchell held his nerve, put on the pressure and pulled off the win.

Mitchell’s debut fight which took place in Nelson on November 4, was against Edmonton’s Malindu Don. Mitchell lost this fight, but trained hard for his home-stage debut this past weekend. Dylan dominated the fight, and won by stoppage.

“I went out there and fought a lot more aggressive and had a way better outcome,” he said. “It was a lot of fun in front of a home crowd.”

Fernie Old School Boxing had not one, but two athletes fighting under its name. Before Saturday, Keith Kurschenska hadn’t stepped into a ring in eight years. He competed against Cranbrook’s Nike Blakemore in an exhibition match. Kurschenska’s official opponent injured himself before the fight and was unable to compete.

This fight served as a good workout for Blakemore, who is soon off to the 2018 Provincial Championships where he will represent the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club.

Fernie’s Kurschenska had fought when he was younger, but gave up the sport. He recently joined back with the club.

“I was just tired of being fat and drinking all the time,” he said. “It’s something better to do with my life.”

Now that he has returned, Kurschenska is excited to see lots of younger kids join Fernie Old School Boxing. He would love to see more young adults join as well. Both Kurschenska and Mitchell agreed that the club holds a good atmosphere with lots of good people.

Fernie Old School Boxing head coach and president Michael Johnson believes Rumble In The Rockies was an absolute success.

“We had guys from Calgary, Medicine Hat, Nelson, Cranbrook, all making that trip to come to our show here,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better set of boxers, a better set of volunteers, and we pulled it off.”

Rumble In The Rockies served as a fundraiser for the non-profit boxing club, and the proceeds of ticket sales go towards the rental of the building and equipment.

$400 was raised from the 50-50, which will be donated to the Blankman family who suffered the loss of their home on Christmas Eve. Fernie Old School Boxing will try to match this, and raise the donation to $1000. Any additional funds left over will be donated back to local charity.


Fernie’s Keith Kurschenska [red shirt] competed against Cranbrook’s Nike Blakemore in an exhibition match. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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