Nelson’s Samson Berkeley is one of several local boxers hoping to make an impression in the ring this week.
Berkeley is one of 24 athletes taking part in a Team BC prospect camp at the Nelson Boxing Club. The five-day camp will help determine who competes at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
Berkley, 16, previously competed for Team BC at nationals in April along with teammate Elias Martinez. He was also one of five Nelson boxers to win gold at provincials in February.
Nelson Boxing Club head coach Jesse Pineiro said four or five of his boxers have been identified as provincial prospects, but all are competing for one available spot in the same weight class. Berkeley, he said, has the best chance despite being the youngest and least experienced fighter on Team BC if he makes it.
“He’s really going for it, and with the Canada Winter Games, what this camp does for us is get four of the guys he’s going to have to beat to get on the team in the same room training together,” said Pineiro.
“It gives him an opportunity to see where he stacks up against those people and so far he’s just been amazing.”
Boxers aged 10 to 18 from Nanaimo, Cranbrook, Vernon, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Lillooet and Sooke are in Nelson for the camp, which also acts as a early prep for provincials in December.
Pineiro, who is also a Team BC coach, said it’s good for his athletes to get training from different coaches.
“It’s really great for us to have another look,” he said. “We spar each other all the time, we work with each other all the time and it gets to be a bit of a bubble, which is something we’ve always tried to avoid. Nelson being what it is, it’s not a big centre, we need to be exposed to the rest of the world boxing-wise. This is a great opportunity for the kids to push themselves and get pushed.”