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Lac La Biche boxers hit medal podium at Golden Gloves

Three boxers bring back medal combination from provincial tournament

Lac La Biche Boxing Club fighters came home with trophies after big wins in the annual Golden Gloves Boxing tournament held in Edmonton at the end of April.  All three of the club members who attended brought home one gold and two silver medals.  

The April 23 weekend drew over 130 competitors from across the country for two days of competition and exhibition matches, said Jermey Trimble, the co-coach for the Lac La Biche-based club. 

“It was a great weekend, competing with a really good turnout,” he said, crediting his young fighters for standing their ground and showing their stuff against some larger teams. “The group really put it on the line.” 

The Golden Gloves event has been a mainstay in the Alberta boxing circuit for years, and features many seasoned boxers and well-established clubs. This year, event organizers dropped some of its tough entry requirements, allowing more boxers to get the experience. Originally, said Trimble, the tournament required each boxer to have fought a minimum of 10 fights before being eligible for the amateur tournament, but this year the regulations were changed to only four fights. 

“It makes it a larger tournament…and it’s definitely a goal for us to compete there,” he said. 

Bring home gold 

The weekend of fights were categorized according to weight, skill level and experience. 

Competing in the Junior C, 40 kilogram class, 14-year-old Zander Lavallee took home the gold medal for the club in his match on Saturday. The win was the first of two bouts the local boxer had over the tournament weekend, competing in an exhibition fight the next day against a more experienced fighter. 

Lavallee didn’t win the exhibition fight — but he punched a few more notches on his belt for experience, says Trimble. 

“He blew everyone away ... it was a great opportunity for him to test his stills, which he did,” said the coach. 

Laboucane fights world champ 

Lavallee’s shiny gold medal isn’t the only medal showing the efforts of the Lac La Biche club. Taking home silver was 18-year-old Lac La Biche boxer Maria Laboucane. The local boxer went toe-to-toe with 30-year-old  former World Champion and Muay Thai Fighter turned amateur boxer Jordan Dobie.  

Trimble said despite the age and experience difference, Laboucane held her own. 

“She was in there she was very mature in the ring. It was just really nice to see her at the Golden Gloves test herself and push herself. She rose to the occasion,” he said. “To see her in the ring with somebody at that skill level, and compete, it motivated me as a coach and I hope it moved her. She really showed up.” 

Laboucane’s strength in the sport isn’t just physical, says the coach. She began boxing in her early teens and comes from a family of boxing enthusiasts who have also been part of the Lac La Biche Boxing Club. She is committed to boxing just as strong mentally as she is physically, Trimble said, fighting not only other boxers, but challenges and disappointments over the last two years because of the COVID pandemic. She was slated to compete in provincials last year as she progressed in her boxing career, but when COVID hit, Trimble says things changed.   

“It was just a screeching halt. The succession plan for her was to get her on three club cards, provincials and then hopefully nationals ... they were sort of last year's goal and it sort of went by the wayside,” he said, but moving the young boxer is committed to making up for lost time. 

The club’s third medal from the Golden Gloves came from 13-year-old Joey Reed, who battled hard in the Junior B 54Kg weight class.  

Again, Trimnble said the club’s coaching staff were very pleased with the young boxers attitude and skill. 

"He put in a great effort,” said Trimble, adding that he expects the crew of young, local boxers to improve and earn more recognition throughout the season.  He says club officials are glad to be competing again after almost two years of no fights. Win or lose, he wants to see his fighters given the chance to prove themselves, better themselves — and learn from mistakes  

“For every fighter when you have a loss or a tough fight I think sometimes their head gets out of it and they might give up, but sometimes you learn from those experiences,” he says. 

Keeping it going 

Having those real-time experiences in the ring, instead of the isolated training that took place over the last two years, is vital to the boxers’ physical and mental well-being, and to the success of the club, Trimble said.  

Throughout the pandemic not only was it difficult for the club to meet and practice but the fact that competitions were cancelled most often really affected morale and forced some to move on, he said. 

“They were training to basically stay in shape and there was no carrot at the end. The goal is to compete for most of the youth, so we lost a percentage of our competitiveness and competitive boxers because there was nowhere to compete,” he said, explaining the current season as a foundation time. “We’re sort of in a rebuilding year ... I’m happy we're back and I’m looking forward to next year,” he says, as the club will take a break in June and start back in August. 

For more details on the club, how to become a member and training schedules, visit the Lac La Biche Boxing Club’s social media page. 

“We hope to see more people come back and new people join the club.” 




About the Author: Rahma Dalmar

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