The Nelson Boxing Club’s Jesse Pineiro has been named coach of the year by BC Boxing.
Pineiro was honoured at the provincial championships, which ran Feb. 14 to 16 in Richmond. BC Boxing president Ryan O’Shea said Pineiro, who was also named head coach of Team B.C. earlier this month, has had major success in developing young athletes.
“Not only have we watched him improve the skill level of his athletes, but he’s actually taken ownership of athletes throughout the entire province …,” said O’Shea. “I don’t think there’s a club the last five years that has produced so many youth and junior provincial champions.”
Pineiro, who will lead Team B.C. at the national championships in May, said the award feels special after 20 years in the sport.
“It means a lot, and there’s a lot of really good coaches in this province,” said Pineiro. “It was obvious at provincials. The talent level of the boxers was super high, the coaching was really good. The level is up there, it’s getting up there, it’s maybe as good as it has ever been.
“To be in that conversation is pretty special to me.”
Pineiro wasn’t the only one from the club who was feted at provincials.
Nelson’s Leah Eberle was named best female youth boxer of the year for 2019, and Makalu Babbot won the Jimmy Symes Award for boxing and community service. Eberle, Babbot, Riel Martinez and Stryder Sutton also won gold medals, while Elwyn Langford took silver.
Pineiro said his athletes were disappointed when they arrived at provincials by the lack of competition — a deficit in youth boxing meant every division they were participating in was uncontested except for Langford’s.
“What I was happy with was the way my team carried themselves,” said Pineiro. “They showed up, they weighed in, they’re obviously disappointed and instead of having a let down it was just, find me fights.
“We found them all matches, and they were stoked and went in there and did the best they could mostly against people who were heavier and more experienced than they are.”
Martinez, Babbot, Eberle and Langford will take part in the provincial team training camp next month ahead of nationals.
“They get to see the adults who have been there for a lot of years and it will bring our level up a lot,” said Pineiro.