The punches rolled on Friday, Oct. 7 in front of a packed house at Pomeroy Hotel for the North Peace Charity Boxing event, with kids, MMA stars and even councillors strapping on the gloves for the cause.
The night was another success for Fivestar Mixed Martial Arts, raising almost $25,000 for kids programs at the gym, which means the ability to help more kids stay active and involved in their programs.
“I already have seven or eight parents asking what will be available. We try to help kids always, I probably have 10 or 15 kids already in that program,” Fivestar CEO Justin Donally said.
“We do a lot of it already, but to have the funding to actually offer it to the public, instead of just the kids that are already members, now we can have something to offer kids right off the street. That’s super important to me... I hope to see 10 to 15 new faces right away from this.”
While there were plenty of talented fighters on hand for the event, the focus of the evening was on the kids and Donally said for him, the 10 youngsters who squared off was the highlight of the night.
“I’m so hands on with (the kids), I run the kids kickboxing… those programs are real close to my heart and that’s why we did this show,” Donally said.
“To have those four or five matchups and give them a little walkup music and how excited they were (was great). To see how hard they worked the last few weeks leading up to that was real special.”
Along with the kids, Mayor Lori Ackerman was a special guest referee, Councillors Trevor Bolin and Dan Davies, UFC fighters Sheldon Westcott and Mitch Clarke also made appearances at the event.
Young Michael Schwartz, 10, also got his chance to star in the show when he joined Travis Lussier up front to get the full fight experience. Lussier explained that fighting has given him so much over the last three years since he started, he hopes showing Michael and others the value will help them make the right decisions growing up.
“Fortunately for me, I had great parents and a great home. Like Michael does, I know his dad and his mom are great people. That’s definitely a start. Some of the kids I grew up with had a rough home. They didn’t have a home base to be safe at. I know for a lot of kids, if their home base isn’t safe they can go to the gym and they are safe there,” Lussier said.
Lussier started his pursuit in amateur Mixed Martial Arts three years ago and has lost 130 pounds since.
Now with an opportunity to be a role model for some of the younger fighters at Fivestar, Lussier said the important lessons kids learn in the gym will not only help them as athletes, but as people too.
“It provides them with the discipline and the drive that they need to accomplish goals that society would set as a barrier. It gives them another option other than what the streets have to offer, drugs, the party scene and everything else that’s going to misdirect their life in the wrong direction,” he said.
Donally added he hopes in the future to be able to put on another charity event.
Fight winners included:
MAIN EVENT -
Brad Stewart vs Jared McComb
(Winner Brad Stewart *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
CO-MAIN EVENT -
Dylan Lielke vs Corey Mackie
(Winner Dylan Lielke *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Jon Zaleski vs Raphael Bergmann
(Winner Jon Zaleski *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Travis Lussier vs Joe Westbrook
(Winner Travis Lussier *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Nick Young vs Kevin Winkler
(Winner Nick Young *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Gary Peck vs Phil Dufresne
(Winner Gary Peck *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Matt Kertesz vs Dan Westbrook
(Winner Matt Kertesz *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Murray McDonald vs Dakota Huard
(Winner Murray McDonald *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Sion Iunn vs Brayden Kersey
(Winner Brayden Kersey *Kaiten MMA Prince George)
Robin Combs vs Bailey Matani
(Winner Robin Combs *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Alex Martinez vs Noah Goertz *Grappling
(Winner Alex Martinez *Champion Gym Grande Praire)
Ashley Rouble vs Jen Millen
(Winner Ashley Rouble *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Lee Coogan vs Tate Rawling *Grappling
Amanda Rogers vs Rachel Scharmann
(Winner Amanda Rogers *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Nick Young vs Carter Johnson
(Winner Nick Young *Fivestar MMA FSJ)
Special Councillor vs Councillor Match
Trevor Bolin vs Dan Davies
(Special guest referee Mayor Lori Ackerman)
KIDS MARTIAL ARTS DEMOS
Landon Beasley vs Eddie Scarfo (Draw)
Elvis Walter vs Hazen Basisky (Draw)
Mason Williams vs Evan Bordalau (Draw)
Cruz Gordon vs Jackson Hedland (Draw)
*All fights were technically a draw and won't be entered on offical records.