Williams Lake Boxing Club coach Gary McLellan isn’t shy when it comes to praising his fighters.
Last weekend the club travelled to Quesnel for the 2017 BC Bronze Gloves Championships and McLellan told the Tribune he was quite pleased with all of his fighters’ performances.
“For many of the guys it was their first fight,” he said during a practice at the club Tuesday.
McLellan’s 19-year-old son, Arthur, won his division in the Bronze Gloves in the 132 pound limit against Owen Ainslie from the Thistletown Boxing Club Inc. in Kelowna.
Dana Matthews, 27, competing in his second-ever fight, was runner-up for his division.
“He lost in a close decision to Robert Hollier from the Peachland Boxing Club,” McLellan said of Matthews’ efforts.
Duncan McLellan, 17, Wyatt O’Connor, 14, Braeden O’Connor, 15, and Joseph Helminger, 17, all had exhibition fights because it was their first time fighting and there were no other contenders in the same boat.
The club regularly practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons and on Tuesday the club members were skipping, hitting the punching bags, doing crunches on the floor and working out.
Before he took to the ring to spar with one of the members, McLellan said he doesn’t let the fighters spar for the week following a fight just to give them time to rest up.
“Especially if there has been a bit of head trauma, it’s important to take a break,” he said.
McLellan was quick to add he receives lots of help in training the guys to ready them for the fights.
“Stuart McLellan, Roberto McLellan and Harvey Mulvahill are always helping me out,” he said.
Laura Klassen also gives him a hand and said she’s been boxing for about six years, but quit competing two years ago.
She grew up with a boxing coach father and brother, but girls were not allowed to box, she said.
“At 46 I decided I would box and I did some competing,” she said pointing to the wall where past newspapers articles about the club are posted. “Then I hit 50 and decided to stop.”
As for when the club will be in the ring again, at this point that is uncertain, McLellan said.
“We are waiting to see what’s next and if we have anyone another club or tournament can match us up with.”
The boxing gym is located in the basement of Western Wood Heat Inc. at 1515 Highway 97 South with access at the back entrance of the building.