As the wins keep racking up for most of his fighters, Coach Mike Smith of the Rimbey Boxing Club is finding himself with more and more of a dilemma.
Take the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7 when he and three of his boxers traveled to Calgary for a card at a downtown hotel, only to find there were few or no opponents at all.
“We took three girls down – because the boys were too chicken to step up to the plate,” the coach said with a chuckle. “In the 46 kg category, we had BryAnna Hollingsworth but there was no one there to challenge her so she won in a walk-over, which means she won automatically.
“Next, we had Laramie Hollingsworth, but there was no one to fight her in the 52 kg category either, so she also won as a walk-over.”
After a bit of searching, Smith said he found an opponent for her and despite the fact that the two were in different weight categories, they were still close enough and they decided to duke it out in an exhibition match.
After starting off well, the bout began to swing in favour of her opponent who eventually won the fight with as split decision. Nevertheless, Smith said Hollingsworth put up a good battle.
“It was a good fight. She trained very hard for that fight but came up a bit short,” he said. “There’s going to be an all-female card up in Edmonton on January 24 so hopefully she’ll get a rematch.”
With the first two fighters finished for the day, the attention turned to rising star Kandi Wyatt of Rocky Mountain House who trains our of the local club and had amassed an impressive 26 win, no loss record up to that point.
Again however, no suitable foe could be found. Fighting in the youth category, Wyatt is allowed to go up a class to the senior category, which is exactly what she did and found herself in the ring with Edmonton’s Susan Hass, a boxer with plenty of experience, eight year more worth of ring savvy and 16 pound heavier.
“The fight went pretty good. We always go in there with a game plan and this time it was feel her out in the first round, then start doing our damage in the second and third rounds. We actually did a lot of damage in the second round and actually talked it over with the other coaches and were going to go four rounds – intermediates only go three, but going into the fourth, the head official stuck his head in and said the fight was over and that we couldn’t go four rounds,” Smith said.
“In my opinion, she handled herself really good. But it was her first fight boxing a senior and the other girl was fairly large. I had to persuade them a lot just to get the fight going. We had Kandi weigh-in with her clothes on and she had a shower which makes you heavier, and something to eat which made her even heavier, and the other girl had to strip pretty-well right down,” he added.
You better make that record 27-0 as despite the huge difference in weight, Wyatt pulled off a unanimous decision even though she thought she had actually lost the fight.
“I thought it was pretty good because she doesn’t get much action,” Smith said. “For one thing, she’s well known as a tough opponent and everybody else sort of shies away. They go up a weight category or down one to avoid a train wreck.”
Besides the card scheduled for Edmonton in January, Smith said the club is looking forward to the national championships coming up this February, also in Edmonton, especially Wyatt.
“She’s stoked about having the nationals in Alberta,” Smith said. “This way, her friends and family will be able to watch her fight without going all the way down east, so she’s really excited.”
That card will be held at the West Edmonton Mall.
As for the club itself, Smith said participation continues to grow and he now finds himself with 23 boxers in his stable with 15 or so coming out on a regular basis. Those numbers are well above last year when he said he might have gotten six or seven out regularly.
Among them is a father and son team from Ponoka with dad 36 years of age, and also had a boxer from Holland come out on a number of occasions to both teach and learn about the ‘Sweet Science’.
If anyone is interested in checking out the club, or to see a bit of sparring, the club meets every Thursday night in the upper level of the Community Centre. The action starts at 6:30 p.m.