The Nanaimo Boxing Club can boast a B.C. champion and a bright future.
Three Nanaimo fighters participated in the B.C. Silver Gloves event in Mission on the weekend, and all three were winners.
Justis MacKay-Topley won the main event Saturday in his open division, meaning the 13-year-old is B.C. champ. Thomas Eytcheson, 16, and Alex Wisniewski, 14, both got the better of exhibition bouts.
MacKay-Topley, from Bayview Elementary School, was facing a familiar opponent in Mission’s Tyson Volker. It was the sixth time the two have fought, but the first time in a year.
“Even though it was the sixth time, we’re at the age where you can grow a lot in a short period of time, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” said MacKay-Topley.
The Nanaimo fighter was elusive and surprising, said Barry Creswell, Nanaimo Boxing Club coach.
“He’s unpredictable to his opponents,” said Creswell. “Just when his opponents think they have him on the ropes, he slips and bobs and moves away and then he’s got [them] on the ropes.”
The Nanaimo contingent knew MacKay-Topley had won, but the fighter himself wasn’t sure until he heard the official decision.
“It was a really tough fight and I didn’t know if I had won or lost,” he said. “When they said that I won I was just relieved and excited.”
Both Eytcheson and Wisniewski were taking on bigger foes, but Creswell had scouted the opposition and felt his fighters could stand in there. They did that, and more.
“We had to slow them down,” the coach said. “The referee had to stop them and say, ‘This is an exhibition, don’t try and take ’em out.’”
Eytcheson’s dominant jab won him his fight, as it kept his opponent at bay and gave the Nanaimo fighter the time and space he needed to deliver his other punches, too.
“[The jab] is the most effective punch that I have,” he said. “It’s the fastest punch and if you can get it crisp and you can get it fast in and out, it’s pretty lethal.”
It was the third bout for the Wellington Secondary School student, who said stepping in the ring is a rush.
“Especially when you have the skills to do it and you can compete against a guy who’s 20 pounds heavier than you and you can stand in the ring and box with him,” Eytcheson said. “I love it.”
Wisniewski, of Woodlands Secondary School, demonstrated a lot of ring smarts in his bout.
“He’s a young guy that can read the openings and take advantage of it and throw punches,” said Creswell.