Winning a boxing championship takes so much more than punching and being punched. Two Nanaimo Boxing Club athletes did all it takes, and were winners at this year’s B.C. championships.
Ivy Richardson and Jag Singh Seehra each won back-to-back bouts Oct. 28-29 in Abbotsford to win Boxing B.C. titles and qualify for nationals.
“It was good, it was exciting, my first year on the [provincial] team,” said Richardson. “I’m really excited to go to nationals.”
Her first provincial championship came among other firsts that weekend. It was Richardson’s first time attempting back-to-back fights and her first time cutting weight as she needed to drop seven pounds to compete in the 125-pound division.
“That was an ordeal,” she said, one that started with 45 minutes on the treadmill and stationary bike while wearing a ‘sauna suit’ and other layers of clothing.
“I could feel pools of sweat in the sauna suit … I’m like, that has to be enough,” she said.
So she took it all off, weighed herself and found she was only halfway there, meaning the sweat-soaked layers all had to go back on.
“I was so dehydrated after and I’m like, ‘Can I have a piece of ice before I go to bed?’ And [my coach, Bob Pegues] looks into the freezer and he’s like, ‘Are there smaller pieces of ice?’ He’s so strict.”
After a day of napping, eating and rehydrating, she felt OK for her first fight and was mentally sharp, too, sticking to the game plan of punch and move, punch and move. She won, but she took some hard hits and had a sore jaw going into the following night’s final. Not long before fight time, her jaw locked up.
“I was like, ‘Coach, I can’t open my mouth,’ and he’s like, ‘Good. It’s better that way; the less talking, the better.’”
Richardson started off tentatively, but began to take over and had the clear edge in the second and third round. She did take one hard straight right in the third round that had her seeing stars and worried that it might sway the judges.
“I don’t know how to score my own performance,” she said. “Every time, I think I leave it a little too close, but then I get my hand raised.”
Richardson, a relative newcomer to the sport, set out ambitious goals for herself and said it’s been so far, so good.
“Now that I’m on the team and I’m going to nationals, it’s exciting how things are playing out,” she said. “Everything we’ve been working for, it’s happening now.”
Veteran fighter wins with his new club
While his teammate was winning her first provincial title, Seehra was at the other end of the spectrum, winning his 11th. It was his first as a member of the Nanaimo Boxing Club, though, after moving here three months ago from Prince George. After Pegues had moved to the Island, Seehra found he wasn’t progressing the way he wanted and decided to follow his coach.
The move has made a difference, the boxer said, and he felt in control of both his fights.
The first bout was close until Seehra hurt his opponent to the body in the second round. He upped his aggression a little bit, but the veteran knew to stick to smart boxing.
“I just try to avoid getting into a war, making it harder than it needed to be,” he said, especially with another fight the next day.
In the final, Seehra’s opponent boxed a different style than expected, but the Nanaimo fighter figured it out and by the third round he really had his opponent backing up and was extending combinations an extra punch.
It was the first time Seehra received an actual belt for being B.C. champ, and he said the 11th time winning provincials felt just as special as any other. Though he almost always wins, it’s always a challenge.
“I never downplay anybody because this guy is getting in the ring to prove something [by] beating me, so I’ve got to be on my game and I like it,” he said.
The Boxing Canada Championships will be held April 24-30 in Quebec City, and the two Nanaimo fighters will ramp up their training in preparation.
“It’s going to be time to pick it up, big time,” Seehra said.