The sweet science enjoyed a huge resurgence in Vernon Saturday night at the rec centre auditorium.
More than 600 fight fans turned up for the city’s first amateur boxing card in years. A total of 14 bouts, ranging from youth to senior, were held, hosted by Vernon’s CounterPunch Boxing Club and sanctioned by Boxing B.C.
“It was a fantastic event. We had families, children – an excellent atmosphere. The support was amazing,” said Tony Stamboulieh, head coach of CounterPunch and vice president of Boxing B.C.
“Boxing has been revived and we’re going to keep it going.”
In the headliner, Salmon Arm’s Derrick Larson, who trains with CounterPunch, lost a decision to 2010 PamAm silver medalist Jag Seehra of the Inner City Boxing Club in Prince George in their 64-kilogram bout.
Larson took the fight to Seehra early, winning the first round on points, but the Prince George fighter eventually prevailed in an exciting skill-packed bout.
A former Golden Gloves winner, Larson took a couple of years off boxing to work and only returned to the sport a few months ago.
Seehra is returning to PanAms next week.
In an action-packed female bout, Sarah Petznick of CounterPunch defeated Stacy Lee of the Capital City Boxing Club in Victoria.
Vernon’s Tyson Veitch (CounterPunch) earned a second-round stoppage against Paul Voss of the Kamloops Boxing Academy
Jake Stuchberry of the Vernon Boxing Club defeated Justin Vigue of Kamloops, and Brett (Ouch) Murray of the Vernon Boxing Club picked up a win against Matt Blair of the Salmon Arm Bulldogs Boxing Club.
Fighters from across B.C. attended the event – Victoria, Vancouver, Prince George, Kamloops, Peachland, Revelstoke, Pemberton, Salmon Arm and Burnaby.
Given the success of Saturday’s card, Stamboulieh is confident Vernon is capable of hosting larger amateur events, such as Golden Gloves and provincials, in the future.
“We have a deep pool of talent and volunteerism for boxing in Vernon that stepped up to the plate,” said Stamboulieh.
He thanked Breakaway Fitness, Sun FM’s Brian Martin for hosting the event, the Vernon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society for running the concession, Dr. Steve De Bella for volunteering his services as the ringside doctor, Raquel Warchol for singing the national anthem and chief official Ian Gibson.