Quesnel’s 2 Rivers Boxing Club could not have asked for a better display of their most skilled fighters than what was shown at Rumble 27 on Saturday (Nov. 2).
A packed house of local boxing fans was treated to masterclasses in boxing, as the local pugilists put their punching, head movement, footwork and heart to the test against fighters from all across the province.
“I thought they all gave 100 per cent,” says 2 Rivers head coach Wally Doern, “Even the exhibitions were great. It was just a great night of boxing.”
To open the card, “Raging” Noah Lee came out like a Tasmanian devil against Williams Lake’s Dawson Stangoe.
The aggressive local fighter threw with abandon in the first round, but he found a game opponent in Stangoe, who picked his shots carefully and mixed in some flurries of his own.
The second round saw more of the same, with Lee throwing eight- to 10-punch combos. Stangoe was issued a point deduction for slapping after the referee game him a couple warnings.
In the final round, Lee began to use a little more strategy, and it paid off when a right hook stunned his opponent, forcing a standing eight count.
The final decision went to Lee, who won his first bout.
“My jabs were really getting through his guard,” he says with the big smile he always wears around the gym. “I was able to get him on the ropes a lot, so it was a really good fight.”
The diminutive scrapper says it was nice not having to match up against a much larger foe.
“I’m finally fighting someone my size,” he says, grinning. “Around the club, there’s mainly just teenagers, so it was nice.”
His coach is pleased with his performance.
“His aggression was great, but I liked that he actually started to think a bit,” Doern says. “Usually he punches and thinks after.”
Noah’s older brother, Evan “The Quiet Riot” Lee, was one of the talks of the card. Although he only fought an exhibition, it was against a fighter in Vernon’s Ethan Hadland who was over two years his senior.
The 14-year-old showed tremendous poise and scary power that had to be tempered once the referee was forced to remind him that it was an exhibition match.
Lee was constantly slipping his opponent’s punches and landing crushing body shots that had some cheering but many wincing at the sound.
“From the time he started until now is amazing,” says corner man Cam Tetreault, “He’s come out of his shell, he’s confident and he hits hard. People don’t realize that he’s 14 years old. I’m excited to see how far he’s going to be willing to take it. He’s making the extra effort, he’s going the extra mile and it’s showing in the ring.”
“He’s going to be a big star in the future. He’s fearless.”
Bout of the night went to 2 Rivers’ Jacob White and Coquitlam’s Balint Basco, who put on a an incredible scrap, resulting in White scoring his first victory.
The young southpaw was coming off a discouraging loss so needed a pick-me-up.
A little pep talk in the dressing room from coach Tetreault might have done the trick.
“Jacob was in there and saying, ‘I’m going to get gassed out,’ but I told him, ‘No, if you think you’re going to lose while you’re in here, you are going to lose when you’re in the ring, so don’t think like that. You’ve got this. This is your home. This is your ring. You’re owning this!’”
Tetreault says he saw White starting to get fired up, and it carried into the ring, where he was sensational against a very difficult fighter. He used fantastic footwork and head movement to evade Basco’s shots and landed with some terrific hooks when given the opportunity.
“He dug deep for that one,” Doern says. “He knew he couldn’t match his reach, so he slipped and countered with his hooks.
“And he hits hard,” Doern adds.
A happy White says the match was awesome and describes the push he was able to give in the final deciding round.
“Wally told me to just keep pushing, slip and get an angle on him. I started getting winded out, but I thought about what he said and just started going again.”
In the main event, 2 Rivers’ Noah Kennedy was too skilled and athletic for his opponent, Revelstoke’s Caden Headly.
In the quickest match of the evening, the referee benevolently stopped the fight with barely 90 seconds having passed, after Kennedy landed at will on his outmatched opponent.
“I’m happy with the win, but it’s a point of one boy’s mature and one boy’s not,” says Doern, who had never seen Headly box before the Rumble.
“I told the coach [when setting the match up] that Noah’s pretty slick and he’s pretty good.
“The other boy was really outclassed, so I can’t help but feel sorry for the other club a bit.”
Kennedy was pleased to get the early stoppage but held in his emotions out of respect for his opponent and his club.
“I was pretty amped, but I had to keep my composure and not look like a total mean person.”
Also competing on the card were local twins Holden and Tennison Ratcliff. The back-and-forth exhibition saw both of them batter each other, but it was all smiles once the bell rang for the final time.
“I think they’re still on speaking terms, so that’s good,” a smirking Doern says.
In other family action, father-and-son combo James and Dan Mott faced off against a pair of Williams Lake fighters in exhibition matches.
James — who is 58 this year — won the Silver Fox award for the oldest fighter on the card after his match with Kevin Petryshen, while Dan put on a terrific exhibition against a very talented Duncan McLelland.
Chris ‘The Beatin’ Heaton also had an electrifying match with Williams Lake’s Joey Helminger. Although the pair held back on their power, the big fellas landed some blows that would have felled weaker-chinned men, much to the delight of the roaring crowd.
Doern is aiming to have the next Rumble in late April or early May.