He had to wait four years, but Derrick Larson is once again a Golden Boy.
Larson, a 20-year-old Salmon Arm product who trains with Vernon’s CounterPunch Boxing Club, claimed the B.C. Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves title in the Senior Open welterweight division with a unanimous decision over Morris Crow of Lethbridge’s Warriors Blood Tribe.
The lanky Crow used his reach advantage to good effect in the opening round Saturday night at the Vernon Recreation Complex auditorium, however Larson found his own range in the final two rounds to take the decision.
“I made myself calm down,” said Larson, who connected with a pair of nice overhand rights in the third round. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve had to focus on, just staying calm and getting my head in the right place.
“The difference from sparring to getting in the ring, with the talent I have, is night and day. I get in the ring and forget all my good moves. You’re trying to kill the guy with every punch rather than use your skill. I just had to get my wits about me and try to out-box him.”
CounterPunch’s Connor Holliday, 12, opened the card by losing a close decision to Noah Patterson of the Salmon Arm Bulldogs in a 49-kilogram bout.
In the Senior Novice division (for fighters with less than 15 bouts), a pair of CounterPunch boxers – Tyson Veitch and Kyle Ayotte – won their respective tilts. Veitch squeaked out a narrow split decision over Victoria’s Jacob Varga of Olson’s Boxing, while Ayotte recorded a dominant victory over Matthew Pettifer of North Vancouver’s Griffins Boxing Club.
Ayotte, now 3-2 as an amateur boxer, pummeled Pettifer with a flurry of blows after trapping him in the corner late in the first round, causing the referee to give the North Vancouver fighter a standing eight count. Later, he did more damage with some hard hooks to Pettifer’s body.
Ayotte, a veteran of several mixed martial arts bouts, views his boxing career as a work in progress.
“I definitely have a lot of improvement to do,” he said. “In the third round I didn’t do as well as I’d have liked to, but all in all it was a good night.
“Boxing is a lot different (than MMA). I lost my first boxing fight because I was impatient and came out blasting and got out-pointed. I learned from that and here we are today.”
Veitch and Ayotte battled in exhibition action Sunday.
In total, there were 25 bouts over the weekend, and tournament organizer Tony Stamboulieh, who is also head coach at CounterPunch and first vice-president of Boxing B.C., said it was a success.
“It really was a good weekend of boxing,” said Stamboulieh. “We put on a good show. It’s something to be proud of.”
Kelowna’s Connor McKinley, who trains with Thistletown Boxing Club, used his range and stamina to earn the Junior Golden Boy title by taking a majority decision over Cranbrook’s Ryan Lindsey. Meghan Fehr of the Bulldogs recorded the Junior Golden Girl.
Other weekend bouts saw Eric Hahn-Hill of the Peachland Boxing Club defeated Justin Delisle of the Cranbrook Boxing Club in Junior 64kg; Dave Broomfield of Kamloops Boxing Academy defeated Chris Eastwood of the Griffins club in Senior 69kg; Harley Mulhavil of Williams Lake Boxing Club defeated Dalton Red Crow of Warriors Blood Tribe in Senior 60kg; Tiu Liam of Surrey’s Akai Lions Boxing Club defeated Chayse Schwandt of Thistletown in Junior 42kg; Josh Slager of Thistletown defeated John Pazcoguin of Griffins in Youth 60kg; and Ken Huber of Kamloops Boxing Academy defeated Lee Milliken of Olson’s Boxing Club in over 85kg.
Liam received the Kirby Fahlman Memorial Award for Sportsmanship.
Stamboulieh thanked Dr. Ken Kolkind of Salmon Arm for serving as the ringside doctor, and all the other volunteers who helped make the event a success.