The future of amateur boxing in Canada is alive and well after the National Junior Boxing Championships in Brantford this past weekend. Held at the Civic Centre from February 17-20, the event featured celebrity boxing personalities George Chuvalo, Spider Jones, Aaron Pryor, and Brantford’s own Summerhays brothers John, Terry, and Gary. Six Ontario natives were crowned National Junior Champions. In addition, all National Senior Champions competing in Final Team Selection bouts successfully defended their titles.
Many of the athletes who participated in this tournament will be the faces of Canadian boxing for the next Summer Olympics. With the word that female boxing will be a trial sport in Beijing in 2008 and possibly a full sport in 2012, the incentive to win for the women and be a part of the National Team just got raised to a new level. Melissa Shields of Hamilton and Robyn Starr of Orangeville each rose to the challenge, capturing gold in the 54kg and 66kg weight classes respectively. Leah Evans (Orangeville) and Tonica Gibson (London) tallied silver medals and Arryn Dojscak of Hamilton took bronze. From the Senior Female National Team, both of Windsor’s Mary Spencer and Katie Dunn earned victory in their Final Team Selection matches. The two will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina in late March to compete in the Pan-American Championships.
Ontario’s Junior Males flexed their muscles at the Nationals, garnering four gold, five silver, and two bronze medals in winning the “Best Male Team Award.” Leading the gold rush were Hamilton’s Isho Shiba (54kg), Toronto’s Showkat Ali (60kg), and Orangeville’s Bas Gohar (81kg) and Nick Wilson (91+kg). Silver medalists from Ontario were Robbie Fassbender (Ottawa â€“ 51kg), Logan Cotton (Orangeville â€“ 60kg), Stuart Boyd (Hamilton â€“ 64kg), Steve Franjic (Orangeville â€“ 75kg), and Shavar Henry (Toronto â€“ 91kg). Tony Luis of Cornwall (57kg) and Rene Rivest of Windsor (69kg) claimed bronze. Representing the seniors in Final Team Selection bouts were Toronto’s Ibrahim Kamal (60kg) and Windsor’s Adam Trupish (69kg), both of whom repeated as National Champions. Next stop for the National Junior Champions is the Tour of Ireland, April 15â€“20. The National Senior Team will travel to the Czech Republic in early April to compete in the Grand Prix of Boxing.
For a complete listing of results, medalists, and images from a great tournament in Brantford, visit our website www.boxingontario.com.