The gym resembles the 1976 movie, Rocky.
Duct tape props up the ropes in the makeshift ring, while lockers are strewn closely with dumbbells and a bench press. The air is thick and humid.
The Vernon Boxing Club, established in 1947, has hardly changed. But, it is just the way head coach Brian Jones likes it.
“I love boxing, always have and its a lot safer than it used to be,” said Jones, who has been at the helm of the program for 37 years.
The club hosts its second annual Ian Gibson Tribute Boxing Show, featuring six Vernon fighters, on Saturday, Sept. 23.
Ian Gibson was the Chief of Officials in B.C. and a member of the B.C. Boxing Hall of Fame. The inaugural show was in 2022, and Saturday’s event will be just the second show in the last four years for the club, due to COVID cancelling a slew of planned events.
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“We are extremely excited, we got a couple guys with experience that are fighting and a couple who are really green,” Jones said.
The club has close to 40 athletes who come to the gym to train, with 12 registered for fighting in bouts.
One such fighter is Vernon’s Tyler Krowchuk, who will be facing off against his club-mate Tyler Collins in an exhibition bout to kick off the event.
“It’ll be my first ever fight in the ring so I am pretty excited but a little nervous for sure,” Krowchuk said.
Krowchuk, old in boxing terms at 37, joined the club two years ago, after moving from Manitoba.
“It started out as a way to stay in shape,” he said. “But eventually, I had been coming so long and putting in the time and work that I thought doing a fight would be a good idea.”
Krowchuk was a volunteer at last year’s show and got the itch to put on the gloves for the 2023 event.
“They (Krowchuk and Collins) are really not ready for a full bout yet,” said Al Harper, co-coach at the club.
“They have been training long enough, so I think to get them out there in front of a crowd and go through the process to get them used to that would be good.
“This is just a way to break them in a little bit.”
Harper explained the main goal of the show is to get “our guys fights,” though he added the atmosphere of the crowd will be important.
For those interested in trying boxing out, the boxing club has two programs.
“One for fighters and one for non-fighters,” said Jones.
“Anyone can come on out on Tuesday and Thursday and try out a workout, and if they like it, they can join.”
Saturday’s show has 15 bouts currently scheduled, with the main event pitting Ejaz Mohammed from Port Kells (Surrey) up against Kwaj Jok from SS Legion (Edmonton).
Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Vernon Rec Centre Auditorium, with the fights starting at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door on Saturday, or call or message Jones at 250-545-8853 for advance tickets.
More information can be found at the Vernon Boxing Club Facebook.