The Nanaimo Boxing Club is going to celebrate its 50th anniversary appropriately – with a whole bunch of bouts.
The non-profit club is holding a celebratory fundraiser card called 50 Year Legacy Fight Night this Saturday, June 18, at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, and as of press time, coach Trish Harder was anticipating 13 bouts with athletes from 12 clubs on the Island and Lower Mainland.
Harder said the club is excited to recognize its history with this week’s event, and she’s invited past coaches including Les Varro and Barry Creswell.
“I really want to keep the spirit of the club alive and continue what they have started in the past,” she said. “So that’s what this night’s really about, and also bringing boxing back to Nanaimo in a big way.”
The Nanaimo Boxing Club will have two of its athletes in action – Hayley Dickenson and Rylen Ruecker.
Dickenson will be facing Pam Hain, a masters athlete from Sooke whom she has boxed before, in an exhibition bout.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Dickenson said. “We had a good time last time, she’s a good match for me, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Dickenson, who is returning to the sport after time away, said it feels good to be a part of the special-event card celebrating the club’s history.
“It’s definitely nerve-racking, especially it being in town and lots of people I know will be watching, so it’s added pressure,” she said.
Harder said the club has kept its competitive team small as it navigates a coaching change and a return from the pandemic, but said this season culminating in this week’s special event will help the club get its feet wet as it looks to expand in the fall.
“I want to make it really exciting and a really cool place for all of the athletes to come to so that they’re excited to come back,” she said.
Those wishing to watch the bouts and support the club can choose either a dinner-and-fights ticket or just catch the action after dinner. Harder said she thinks the conference centre will be an “awesome” venue for boxing.
“There’s a lot of room, so we’re able to sell a lot of tickets. It’s upscale, which is always nice, especially for our 50th anniversary,” she said.
Proceeds from the event will help athletes from low-income families participate in boxing and will help the club with gym maintenance and the like.
Tickets are $70 for dinner and the fights, or $35 for the fights only. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m. with doors at 5 p.m. and the bouts start at 7:30 p.m. with doors at 7 p.m. For tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the club on Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings.