iN PHOTOS: Amateur boxers throw down for charity - InfoNews

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iN PHOTOS: Amateur boxers throw down for charity

Michael Trapani practices the perfect jab.
July 05, 2019 - 3:05 PM

KELOWNA - For the last three months, Jen Kennedy has learned how to take a punch. While there's undoubtedly a physical toll to taking a punch, Kennedy said the mental challenge of learning to accept that you're going to get hit is just as hard. After a series of intensive training sessions, she's ready to dish out and receive her fair share of punches at an upcoming boxing show.

"It proves to others that you can really do anything if you want to," she said.

Boxing coach Geoff Lawrence agrees that the ability to take a punch is key for any fighter. He said there's an instinctive fight or flight mentality hardwired in people that takes over when we get hit. How people react to a punch determines if they can continue as a boxer. Lawrence said the group he's been training in his backyard for the last three months might be the toughest amateur fighters he's seen, as they've all taken their blows and they're still standing.

Trainee Neville Bowman flipped tires until he was red in the face.
Trainee Neville Bowman flipped tires until he was red in the face.

"Probably one of our strongest groups," he said. "Really good skill level."

The group is made up of average people from many walks of life. Lawrence led them through a boxing crash-course, training them in the basics so they could last in a three-round fight. They'll get to show off their fighting prowess on July 6 at the Rutland Centennial Centre for the Fight for the Community show. The charity events feature professional boxers and the three-month amateurs in an evening-long spectacular.

Lawrence's backyard is custom-built to turn average Joes into competent fighters. Trainees flip tires, sprint, lift weights, jump, and slam ropes. And that's all before they step into the ring to spar.

Learning the ropes.
Learning the ropes.

"It's a really great workout," Kennedy said.

"I feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been in," said Kaleb Adam, a fellow trainee and aspiring Kelowna rapper. "It's something I've never done before."

Lawrence said the key to running a boxing crash course is simplicity. He taught the group a handful of solid offensive and defensive manoeuvres so they can master them.

The boxers are fighting for more than in-ring glory. The event raises money for Karis Support Society and Ozanam Recovery House. Lawrence's company, Mad Katz Boxing, has run this charity show three years in a row and it's always gotten a strong turnout for the fighters and the charities.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, with the first of 16 matches starting at 7 p.m. You can email for more information or purchase any available tickets.

The ring where newbies become fighters.
The ring where newbies become fighters.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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