After months of preparation and organization, the Williams Lake Boxing Gym is ready to deliver a knockout performance when it plays host to Teofista Boxing Series 34.
The event, being held June 15 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, is riding on the resounding success of last year’s fight night in the lakecity, that saw the arena packed to the rafters.
Featured will be four professional fights — featuring Williams Lake’s Harley Mulvahill in the main event, brothers Stuart McLellan and Roberto McLellan and former 100 Mile House resident Ken Huber, now of Kamloops — plus many more amateur fighters showcasing all the WLBG’s young talent. Adding to the excitement, Stuart and Mulvaill will both be fighting for CNBA titles.
Amateurs from the lakecity include: Joey Helminger, Dana Matthews, Duncan McLellan, Arthur McLellan, Cody Hurren and the debut of 11-year-old Dawson Nohr-Stangoe in an exhibition.
The crew from the WLBG stopped by the Tribune this week to give its thoughts on the upcoming fight night, several fighters’ recent tuneup bouts in Mexico and more.
Starting with the amateur fighters, there’s plenty to look forward to for those attending. Last year in Williams Lake, Williams Lake boxers went undefeated on the card, and hope to duplicate that performance again in 2019.
Training for three months with the Williams Lake Boxing Gym, Nohr-Stangoe is nervously-anticipating his debut in front of what will be upwards of 1,000 people. While he will be competing in an exhibition match, the 11-year-old said he’s excited to put what he’s learned into practice in front of what most definitely will be a boisterous crowd cheering in his favour.
“It’s [boxing] is a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m learning new stuff all the time and getting more tools. It’s pretty awesome.”
Nohr-Stangoe is following in the footsteps of his dad, Jeremy Stangoe, who was also a fighter in Williams Lake.
Fellow boxers with the WLBG said Dawson hits “extremely” hard for his age.
Coming off his first exhibition bout in April in Quesnel, 14-year-old Cody Hurren is looking to keep his punches flowing when he steps into the ring in Williams Lake in his first official fight.
“It’s going to be great to have that experience of doing it again.”
Cody’s opponent will be a rematch from his first exhibition bout against Evan Lee from Quesnel’s 2 Rivers Boxing Club.
Finding an opponent has proven to be difficult for the 29-year-old, five-foot-10, 130-pounder. Admittedly a gangly fighter, Matthews has been putting in the work in the gym to make sure he’s ready come fight night in the lakecity.
“It’s a bit tough to find someone my age and weight,” he said. “We’re hoping. Fingers crossed.”
Matthews has been training with the WLBG for the past three years and is 1-1 in two fights as an amateur.
“I’m extremely anxious to get the fights rolling,” he said.
‘Smokin’ Joey Helminger
Nineteen-year-old ‘Smokin’ Joey Helminger is coming off the first amateur loss of his career, but vows to get back in the win column in his hometown.
Now 2-1 in his career, Helminger said he’s prepared for whoever they put in front of him.
“That’s all that’s kind of going through my mind is not evening out that record,” Helminger said.
“The last one was a close one, so I’ve got to get another win.”
Eighteen-year-old Duncan McLellan is chomping at the bit to step into the ring in his hometown. Scheduled to fight during Teofista’s 2018 event in Williams Lake, his fight was cancelled last minute, forcing him to miss the show.
This year he’ll be taking on Evan Peever from Quesnel’s 2 Rivers Boxing Club and will be looking to improve his amateur record to a perfect 3-0.
“I’m looking forward to hitting somebody,” Duncan said.
“I’ve been training lots, eating lots … I’d just like to get in there and not hold back the big guns.”
The King makes his return in front of his hometown after picking up a victory last year at the 2018 lakecity event. Arthur, 21, said he’s feeling good heading into the event.
“I’ve been doing lots of sparring and feeling pretty sharp,” he said, noting he’s had a recent tuneup exhibition match, and is coming off a fight versus a 5-2 fighter in Calgary in April.
“It was really fun last time [in Williams Lake]. The crowd energy was really good and helped out a lot and I hope it’s that way again.”
Arthur will be featured in the main event on the amateur side of the card.
The man who received possibly the largest ovation from last year’s crowd is excited, to say the least, about being featured in this year’s main event on the pro side of things.
Mulvahill, 34, and 2-0 since turning pro last year in Williams Lake, will be taking on veteran Edward Reyno (known as Ted Reno) of Calgary for the CNBC Western Canadian title in a 157-pound catchweight fight.
“It’s a big honour for a guy like me,” Mulvahill said. “A huge honour. Being able to do this is extra special to me at home, and getting to fight for the Western Canadian Title against Teddy (4-12-2) is going to be an exciting matchup.”
Reno is no slouch, and has squared off against most of the top fighters in the country in his career, and Mulvahill said it should be a good matchup style-wise.
“Stu [McLellan] fought him in 2010, and all his losses have come against top opponents,” Mulvahill said. “It’ll be a good show. I’m tall and rangy, he’s short and stout, but he’s got experience and I’ve got the youth in this situation, but I’ve got the crowd on my side.
“Last year it felt like I floated to the ring hearing the crowd cheers.”
Mulvahill is coming off a victory earlier this month in Mexico, where he stopped his opponent in the second round.
He thanked one of his biggest sponsors, Surita Gaspar at Williams Lake Physiotherapy Clinic, for all her help and support.
The former Canadian Professional Boxing Council Light Middleweight Champion, Roberto is making sure no stone is left unturned as he makes his return to the ring in his hometown.
The 34-year-old is coming off a two-year hiatus from the sport, and recently stepped back into the ring in Mexico where he earned himself a first-round knockout of his opponent in preparation for the June 15 fight night in Williams Lake.
“My guy [in Mexico] was throwing these big overhand rights, which left them open, and I managed to get the knockout at the end of round one.”
Roberto, who is 9-3-1 in his career, will be taking on Carlos Zavala — a 5-3 fighter from Mexico — in his contest in the lakecity.
“I watched him a bit and it should be a tough fight for me,” Roberto said. “And that’s good for me. In town here I want a guy that will give me a test.”
Since returning to the sport Roberto said he’s completely transformed his diet, training regiment and mentality and has been putting in countless hours at the gym in preparation.
Coming off a victory this past week in Mexico, 32-year-old Stuart McLellan will face Red Deer, Alta.’s Brian Samuel (5-5) in a 152-pound fight at Teofista Boxing Series 34.
“He probably has a little bit faster hands than me, and he shows up to fight. He’ll fight anyone, so I’ll have to be sharp.”
Stuart and Samuel will square off for the CNBA Western Canadian Championship.
McLellan is 26-3-3 in his pro career, with his most recent defeat in Canada coming against unbeaten, 16-0 Canadian fighter Cody Crowley for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council National Super Welterweight Title.
WLBC Coach Gary McLellan
WLBC Coach Gary McLellan has been putting in work behind the scenes for years ensuring fighters from the local gym are prepared to take their talents into the ring.
The work will pay off June 15 when Gary said he will be busy.
“I’ll be cornering all our fighters,” Gary said.
“Everybody’s been working really hard getting ready for this.”
Gary said while lining up opponents and helping with all the behind-the-scenes work in setting up the event is always a challenge, he hopes everyone will enjoy the show.
Gary will also have four of his sons fighting on the card in Roberto, Stuart, Arthur and Duncan.
General admission to the show is $40, floor seats are $60 and ringside seats are $70. VIP tables are also available for purchase. Contact any of the boxers from the WLBG for tickets, or stop by Fit City Athletica, Advance Cuts, EB Horseman or CJ’s Southwestern Grill for tickets.
Stuart said tickets are going fast, so anyone interested is advised to purchase in advance. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bell to follow at 7 p.m.
There will be a fully licenced bar and food service available.