City rejects grant for boxing event

Golden Gloves tournament knocked out of city's funding ring

A boxing event’s bid for city support went down for the count Tuesday.

Vernon council voted 4-3 not to provide a $250 grant to the organizers of the 2012 Golden Gloves tournament April 21 and 22.

“I personally don’t support boxing,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

Beyond concerns about boxing itself, Cunningham says she has concerns about using taxpayers’ money that way.

“It’s not a lot of money but if every sports group came and asked for $250, it would be a lot of money. We could set a precedent,” she said.

Also opposed to providing financial assistance were Councillors Bob Spiers and Catherine Lord and Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

But support came from Councillors Brian Quiring, Patrick Nicol and Mary-Jo O’Keefe.

“It’s important to support local athletics and bring people into town,” said Quiring of the economic benefit of such tournaments.

Quiring also pointed out that Golden Gloves organizers are getting behind the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising efforts.

“It’s going to be a good event,” he said.

Sanctioned by Boxing B.C., the Golden Gloves will be held at the Vernon Recreation Complex and amateur boxers will come from across the province.

“Boxing has a long tradition in Vernon with two boxing clubs,” said Tony Stamboulieh, head coach of the CounterPunch Boxing Club, which is organizing the Golden Gloves.

“In 2011 and 2012, CounterPunch mounted two successful tournaments in the auditorium with estimated audiences of between 500 and 700 people attending this disciplined sport in a family atmosphere.”

CounterPunch is pursuing a number of sponsors for the Golden Gloves.

“We need community support in order to foster amateur boxing,” said Stamboulieh.

“The sport is highly regulated with a safety first philosophy at its core.”