After months of sparring, throwing jabs, and slipping punches, the Fivestar Boxing Academy is back in Abbotsford this week for the 2019 Boxing B.C. Provincial Championships Dec. 7 and 8. The team, led by coaches Justin Donally and Leo Sullivan, is taking six boxers, the most that have represented the North Peace in a provincial competition.
Brayden Sims, Nick Young and Lincoln Pomeroy are at the championships for the second straight year, and all three are hoping to make the provincial team and fight at nationals as they did last year. Sims and Pomeroy are defending provincial gold medalists. Going to provicials for the first time are Andrea Wall, Arlan Zarate, and Landon Beasley.
“I feel really good about this group, we’re very tight knit. This year, we have everyone from junior boxers to youth and seniors going, and I can’t wait to see how they do,” said Donally.
Donally hopes four of the six earn a spot on the team at nationals, and that Fivestar Boxing Academy can get back in the gold medal discussion.
Perhaps no fighter on the team is more ready for the challenge than Brayden Sims. The defending provincial champion is in his last year as a youth, and has a lot of experience fighting this level of competition. While he struggled, he did fight at nationals last year, and has already been named as a member of Team B.C. for the Canada Winter Games.
“I’m pretty confident in my abilities going into provincials. I have more experience and am more prepared than last year, and my mental game has improved,” Sims said.
Donally is just as confident as Sims.
“This is a big sport for (Sims). It’s his last year as a youth fighter, and he could technically lose his spot at Canada Winter Games if he doesn’t place high enough, but I’m not concerned at all,” said Donally.
Pomeroy made nationals last year as a walk over, as there was nobody his age and size at provincials. This year, he’s hoping to get back to nationals, where he wants to win a gold medal by winning his way through.
“There are kids he’ll be able to fight this year, just have to see if it’s at heavyweight or super heavyweight. (Pomeroy) is fighting the best he’s ever fought. He’s calm, confident, using his angles, and it’s pretty boxing,” said Donally.
Young, the most experienced boxer out of the six, is approaching provincials a little differently this year. A national silver medalist at the youth level, Young is now fighting at the elite (adult) level, and his 69 kg weight class is the toughest in the country, with the second-and third-ranked fighters fighting out of B.C.
“I’m going to give it all I have, and hope I can make a run. But if not, my feelings won’t be hurt,” Young said.
Young has a busy year ahead of him in both MMA and kickboxing, and will be fighting in 2019 regardless of the sport.
The other three fighters will be attending provincials for the first time. Zarate is an up-and-comer that could surprise some people in Abbotsford. Wall and Beasley will be fighting for novice titles, as they haven’t had enough fights yet. In fact, Wall has yet to fight an official match.
“They’re really looking forward to it and I’m excited to get them some experience. (Wall) works hard and I’m confident she’ll get in there and do some good things,” Donally said.
Provincials bring out the best fighters in the province, and it’s no easy walk in the park for any of them. But Donally trusts his team, and knows what his boxers can do.
“The North is coming,” he said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.