The Williams Lake Boxing Club now has its first victorious female competitor.
Competing in her first sanctioned amateur boxing match, Williams Lake’s Laura Klassen emerged from the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre with a majority decision over Salmon Arm Bulldogs fighter Gail Johnson.
“She’s the first girl we’ve ever had with a win,” said Williams Lake Boxing Club coach Gary McLellan. “We’ve had three or four [female boxers] with us before but no one’s had a win up until now.”
Describing the fight, McLellan said Klassen won rounds one and three, while most likely losing the second.
“Laura controlled the first round, but then in the second she got caught with a shot and took a standing eight count,” he said. “She came back in the third and controlled it from there.”
Klassen, who competed in Prince George in March for her first actual boxing match (an exhibition bout), said the three-round fight in Salmon Arm was hard-fought and a lot of hard work.
“If it wasn’t for all the guys at the club here — Harley [Mulvahill], Roberto [McLellan] and Gary — it would have been a lot harder,” Klassen said. “They really helped me a lot when things got tough in there. I was able to take their advice and use it in the fight.”
Klassen, 45, began training with the Williams Lake Boxing Club in November 2010; however, her reasons for entering the ring date back to her childhood.
“My dad was a boxing coach,” she said. “But because I was a girl I wasn’t allowed to fight — we’d always just have to clean up after the boxers and help out with things like that.
“Now I got the nerve to come down here and they’ve been teaching me since. It’s been a great experience and it’s a really great club.”
McLellan, for his part in Klassen’s training process, said it’s always a great moment when one of his boxers earns a win.
“I’m always proud when a fighter wins,” he said. “A lot of the time when they lose, too, if they put up a good effort.”