The Nelson Boxing Club isn’t just about competing, but they’ve been having some big successes lately. Four athletes from the Club were in Tacoma, Washington recently to compete in the Golden Gloves tournament, which each province and state will typically host every year. Stryder Sutton, Riel Martinez, Leah Eberle, and Makalu Babott, all between the ages of 13 and 16, won their respective divisions. A couple of the athletes didn’t have anyone else in their division and won by walkovers, but were able to challenge someone else. It was a great experience for them says Jesse Pineiro, head coach and owner of the club.
“They’re always learning. It’s great not only just for the competition, because I think that it’s important to test what we’re doing here against what other people in other parts of the world are doing.”
Last week, Nelson’s Brayden Hellekson also won a bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. He had four fights in four days, Pineiro explains.
“He won his first fight I think by knock out in the first round, and it’s a double elimination. He lost his second fight but then he continue on. You’re still in it for the bronze until the very end. He lost his second and then won two more to win the bronze.”
Team BC says his competitor in the bronze match was Seamus O’Brien from Newfoundland and Labrador and describes the performance as “going out with a bang.”
Pineiro says Hellekson has some time now to train before Nationals, which three other athletes will be heading to as well in April.
But it’s not just about winning the competitions.
“For some of these kids it’s their first opportunity to go anywhere,” explains Pineiro. “I’ve got one kid who, with a boxing trip, went to a tournament in Victoria and it was his first time ever seeing the ocean, you know, and then he saw a whale.”
Pineiro wants to continue to build the athletes’ skill set, but also contribute to who they are as individuals, and provide a positive space within the community.