Boxing fans may have been lost to the lure of mixed martial arts and ultimate fighting, but tucked away above The Royal at Transcendent Combat Sports gym, a local man is practicing his punches and jabs for a provincial fight.
Jeff Emett got involved in boxing in 2007 after trying out a class with Jesse Pineiro, who became Emett’s coach.
“I was looking for something fun to do and I just stumbled into Jesse’s class and it was a lot of fun and pretty mellow. I just got into it,” said Emett.
What sets Emett apart as a boxer is his age and his courage.
“I think the fact that he’s doing it at all sets him apart. He’s 36 years old. I retired from boxing when I was 26. It becomes really hard on your body and life gets in the way,” said Pineiro.
Pineiro started coaching Emett in 2007 after a fight in Vancouver.
Emett came into the ring with a lot of speed and courage.
“His first fight was a little bit distinct,” said Pineiro. “I didn’t know anything about him. I was told by his coach that he was coming down and I think my first impressions were that he was old and really nervous. In that fight he tried really hard. He came out and was really brave.”
Emett didn’t win the fight, but the two joined forces and have been working together since.
Athletes are drawn to their sport for a variety of reasons and for Emett, the challenge and intensity of boxing keeps him coming back.
“I find it a challenge because you keep getting better and your opponents are always different,” said Emett. “The consequences are very real. You get punched instead of just losing.”
In addition to his fearless approach, Pineiro said Emett is a good boxer.
“He boxes very well, and when he’s calm he sees the ring very well. He’s got good speed and hits hard, and he’s a really tough guy,” said Pineiro.
“I remember a long time ago sparring with him when I was still doing that kind of thing. I was amazed at the punches that he was taking and was still in front of me, and I remember him hurting me quite badly at one point. He’s a really tough guy and has really good boxing skills as well.”
Pineiro was at Transcendent this week with Emett getting ready for a provincial boxing match taking place this weekend in Revelstoke.
Because of the decrease in skilled boxers in the province, the tournament opened up to novices.
“It’s just a fight at the provincials and it’s a great opportunity to be at the provincials with these guys and to be in that environment but it’s not what Jeff’s doing,” said Pineiro.
“We’re just approaching it like a fight, and I’m trying to keep it that way to avoid putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on the guy because he doesn’t have the experience to deal with it.”
Like all athletes training for a competition, Pineiro is focusing on particular tactics for the fight.
“Physically I want him to box,” he said.
“I think he has a tendency to turn his brain off and just throw punches, but when he boxes he actually has a chance to win. When he doesn’t it just takes the advantage away and it really becomes anybody’s fight.
“We’re really trying to work on staying calm and using the ring and using our feet a little bit. It’s more of a tactical approach to what he’s doing rather than just waiting it in and throwing it all. I really want him to be calm and just box.”
Even though a provincial tournament may seem daunting to some boxers, Emett seemed relaxed and focused leading up to the fight.
“I’m not too nervous about it because it’s happened really fast. I’m just going to go out and do my best and see how it goes,” he said.