The Nelson Boxing Club was without a home and barely operating just over two years ago. Now it’s the best club in the province.
Nelson Boxing was named top club by Boxing BC at provincials Friday and Saturday in Abbotsford. The club romped through the competition with a 13-1 record while winning three awards.
Head coach and club owner Jesse Pineiro said the honour was unexpected.
“We built it from nothing, basically,” said Pineiro. “There was nothing established here before, and in two years that’s pretty good.”
Nelson’s Elias Martinez was named B.C.’s top junior boxer, Samson Berkeley won the Jimmy Simms Award for Excellence and Brayden Hellekson earned a spot on the provincial roster for the Canada Winter Games, which begin next February in Red Deer, Alta.
Martinez won the Junior ‘C’ open title after beating North Vancouver’s Aaron Madriaga by unanimous decision and earning a split decision against North Vancouver’s Johnathon Hannah.
It’s the second provincial championship for the rising Martinez, who also earned a bronze with Berkeley at nationals last March.
“He’s on another level,” said Pineiro. “It’s like watching someone who is five years old and has been doing it for twice as long. He’s very, very good and he’s 14.”
Berkeley, who wasn’t at provincials, won his award for excellence in and out of the ring and was described by Pineiro as “an endorsement for what we do.”
Hellekson, meanwhile, returned from injury to upset Sooke’s Sam Lowden by split decision in the youth novice final that also booked him a ticket to the Canada Winter Games.
Other results for Nelson included:
Leah Eberle beating Salmon Arm’s McKenzie Richards in the 118-pound girls’ youth novice final; Makalu Babott earning a split against Peachland’s Blaine Hennebery in the Junior ‘C’ novice final (85 pounds); Max Berkeley winning a split against Madriaga as well as a unanimous decision against Cranbrook’s Ty Kolbeck for the Junior B open title (145 pounds).
Riel Martinez beat North Vancouver’s Luke Heras twice, once by split, for the Junior B open championship (105 pounds); Styder Sutton earning the Junior ‘B’ title with unanimous wins against Cranbrook’s Conner Ferrier and Hennebery; Ryan Lewis capturing the elite novice championship (165 pounds) with a unanimous win against Kamloops’ Tyler White; a walkover win for Brett Adams in elite novice championship (190 pounds); and a loss for JC Mackay to White by technical knockout.
Pinerio said he thought his fighters carried themselves with class and positivity at the provincials.
“I’ve had 12-year-old kids who walk by the 180-pound provincial champion, who has had like 30 fights and has been around forever, and tap him on the shoulder and tell him good luck in his fight,” he said.
“They’re confident and they’re not afraid to lose because we’re teaching them that win or lose, you’re there to improve yourself and get closer to the goals you set for yourself.”