MAY 18, 2022 | TORONTO, ON. – Boxing Ontario sent a team of eleven athletes to compete at the 2022 YYC Cup, also known as the Calgary Cup, on May 13-15, 2022.
The YYC Cup was the first major national tournament for Team Ontario this year, and the Team’s first major tournament since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition was sanctioned by Boxing Alberta and hosted by Southpaw Family Fitness & Boxing Gym.
The three-day tournament featured top athletes and teams from across Canada and provided valuable opportunities for athlete experience and development.
Team Ontario’s accomplishments included winning three medals, plus, a number of athletes advanced to the semi-final round. Many others achieved personal victories and displayed outstanding skill, tenacity, and heart through hard-fought bouts.
Gold: Owen Paquette (63.5kg Youth Open), Liam Welch (60kg Jr. C Open)
Silver: Tara Jokar Deris (66kg Female Elite Open)
Advanced to Semi-Finals: Austine Bayani (57kg Elite Open), Hunter Lee (71kg Elite Open), Jason Marquez (63.5kg Elite Open), Sarah Rigato (52kg Female Elite Open)
One of these personal victories was Umar Carcamo’s, who normally competes in the 92+kg Youth Open category. On Day 2 of the tournament, he had a bout against a 92+kg Elite Open. Despite the “match variance” Umar was victorious against an older and experienced opponent from Team British Columbia.
Team Coach Ibrahim Kamal commented, “There were plenty of great matches on both days of competition. For a boxing fan, this has been a spectacular tournament with many close bouts. The action and skills displayed thus far has been spectacular. This has been a fan friendly tournament, lots of exciting match-ups, nail-biting barn burners.”
Coach Ibrahim continued, “Liam Welch had an outstanding bout. Great back and forth action with his opponent, Liam pulled away in the third round and ultimately brought Ontario’s first gold medal of the competition.” Commenting on his preparation for the tournament, Liam stated, “Physically, I had a big weight cut which is always a challenge, I trained hard and focused a lot on nutrition! Mentally, through breathing exercises, and playing out situations in my head, especially the one with my hand being raised up at the end!”
After a dominant bout on Day 1, Hunter Lee had a stellar match against a tough opponent in the semi-finals: the 2022 AMBC Continental champion from Mexico. “Hunter Lee had the hardest fight with the gold winner of the Continental Championships in Ecuador,” said Team Coach Socrates Celestial. “Hunter Lee displayed incredible heart…the skill displayed by both boxers was world class,” observed Coach Ibrahim. Hunter Lee will be representing Canada at the upcoming Eindhoven Box Cup from June 3-6 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
A fan-favourite bout of the tournament belonged to Austine Bayani. “Austine Bayani had the crowd on their feet with his bout against British Columbia. Both boxers were trading punch for punch, with no let-up between the two. It was a battle to the end. A very memorable bout that the fans will remember and talk about for some time,” says Coach Ibrahim.
Not only did Owen Paquette capture the gold medal in his category, but he did so with sportsmanship and professionalism that made a positive impact on his team. “Every fight, he displayed international-level traits and skill set,” says Coach Socrates. “He should be team captain on an Ontario team. Good attitude, good athleticism, and good performance.”
All Team Ontario athletes should be incredibly proud of their performances. Boxing Ontario would like to congratulate all the athletes and thank them for representing the province so admirably: Austine Bayani (AFT Top Glove Boxing Academy, Brantford), Umar Carcamo (King of the Ring Boxing Club, Brampton), Eric Del Monte (Delgado Boxing Club, Mississauga), Tara Jokar Deris (K.O. Club, Maple), Hunter Lee (West Windsor Boxing Club, Windsor), Jason Marquez (DC Boxing Academy, Guelph), Owen Paquette (AFT Top Glove Boxing Academy, Brantford), Sarah Rigato (Delgado Boxing Club, Mississauga), Jose Valdez (Stockyards Boxing Club, Toronto), Liam Welch (Blackeye Boxing Club, Brantford), and Daniel Wilson (BUDO Canada, Toronto).
“Our boxers had a great showing considering that this tournament was our first since the pandemic. One boxer from Alberta had 14 bouts this year alone, while one of ours had four during the entire pandemic. That being said, our athletes performed extremely well, all displayed incredible determination, showed great skills, sportsmanship, and most importantly left an impression with their opponents,” said Coach Ibrahim.
In addition to Team Ontario, athletes representing other Boxing Ontario member gyms had standout performances, including: Adrien Davin (60kg Elite) from Beaver Boxing Club (Ottawa) who advanced to semi-final; Deniz Duran from Guelph MMA (Guelph) who won a silver medal in the 75kg Elite Novice category; and Isiah Tottle-Flood (80kg Elite) from Caged Dragon (Brantford) who advanced to the semi-final.
Boxing Ontario would also like to thank the Team Coaches, Socrates Celestial (Kombat Arts Training Academy, Mississauga), Ibrahim Kamal (MJKO Boxing, Toronto), Raymond Napper (Napper’s Boxing Club, Welland), and Team Manager Shar Gupta (Boxing Ontario High Performance Committee, Toronto) for supporting the athletes with their expertise, encouragement, and advice. “Team Ontario acted very determined and organized themselves as individuals and meshed well into the team dynamics. We had coaches working well with each other and the support staff,” said Coach Socrates. He acknowledgement Shar Gupta, a volunteer and committee member of Boxing Ontario’s High-Performance Committee and new member of Team Ontario. On social media, Coach Socrates stated that Shar’s medical knowledge, communication, and spirited cheers kept the Team Ontario athletes resilient and safe.
Reflecting on the 2022 YYC Cup, Team Ontario looks ahead to the future. Liam Welch states, “Lots of great fighters were there, and it felt great to watch all the talent again! Getting back in the ring and being surrounded by talent really pushed me to do my best and continue to push hard forward for my next competition.”
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About Boxing Ontario:
Boxing Ontario is the only governing body for Olympic-style boxing in Ontario. As such, it is affiliated with Boxing Canada (CABA), the International Boxing Association (IBA) and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, & Sport. Founded in 1972, Boxing Ontario encompasses over 100 clubs, 2,500 competitors, and more than 12,000 recreational members.
Communications, Boxing Ontario
Interviews are available virtually, via email or phone with:
- Team Ontario athletes and coaches
- Jennifer Huggins (President, Boxing Ontario)
- Erik Espinola (Executive Director, Boxing Ontario)
- Board Members (contacts available upon request)
View the original press release here.
Photos courtesy of Team Manager Shar Gupta.