When Alaya McCormick heard that Fivestar Boxing Academy was holding a charity event for her, she was cautiously optimistic. She thought it would be cool but didn’t really know what to expect. Turns out, Fivestar Fight Night 23: Fight for Alaya went as well as it ever could have and surpassed all her expectations.
“It was amazing, unbelievable really. It meant everything to me, and I was so happy to see all the support in front of everyone,” McCormick said.
It was a fitting end to a happy week for McCormick, as she was officially classified as in remission from Lymphoma on Monday, April 8, five days before the fights on April 12.
“I just have a couple checkups in three months but I’m doing great and it feels amazing,” McCormick said.
Fivestar owner Justin Donally, the man behind the event, was ecstatic at how good it went. The official number isn't yet known, but Donally expects to donate more than $10,000 to the McCormick family to help cover the costs of the travel and time unable to work over the past year.
“Everything went better than planned. I was hoping to have the show before Christmas, and then we got pushed back, and it had been a year since we put on a show. But we completely sold out and I was told we had to stop selling tickets at the door because we were at capacity,” Donally said.
Donally said it was the first boxing-only show he’s put on that has completely sold out. The crowd wasn’t just large, it was also really loud, and they responded in kind to the awesome fights put on for them.
The card featured 13 fights, including 12 Fivestar fighters, seven of which were official, scored bouts.
The first six fights included debut fights from Andrea Wall (loss) and Jesse McArthur (an exhibition), and set the stage for a thrilling second half. Brad Stewart and Raphael Bergmann put on an entertaining kickboxing exhibition, a showcase of two former champs having some fun, before Brayden Sims and Cole Brander showed the crowd what two Canada Winter Games medalists looked like against each other in a lively exhibition.
All the action inspired McCormick to get back in the ring herself, and reminded her of how much she loved it. She was able to get into the ring after each fight to hand out the awards.
“It was different, but nice to be in the ring again and I was nostalgic. My last fight was a year and a half ago, but I’m shooting to be back in the ring for the end of the year,” McCormick said.
Lincoln Pomeroy lost a tough fight to Jimmy Romero of Edmonton. Pomeroy will have to move on to the next fight, as both he and Sims will be in Victoria for nationals next week, beginning April 22.
The final two fights of the night were by far the best, and deservedly won the contestants Co-Fight of the Night Awards. Nick Dragojevich put on a show in his trademark style, trading huge bombs with Mark Bouchard, the crowd roaring in approval.
Technical fighters Nick Young of Fivestar and William O’Keefe of Red Deer ended the show with a much different but equally exciting fight, which Young won by unanimous decision.
“I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous going into this fight. William is a tough kid and super active this year, and I went up a weight class. But I decided win, lose or draw I’d go in there and put on a show for the hometown,”Young said.
Young’s next fight is a rubber match against Josh Peck in Lethbridge on May 4. Young beat Peck the first time, but lost the rematch.
Other results from the night include Fivestar’s Landon Beasley beating Dylan Holland, and Thomas Pope defeating Jimmy Romero.
Fivestar’s Lane Harris lost by split decision to Justin Lemire.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.