Some boxers punch above their weight, but James “Old Fox” Mott punches above his age.
At 60, he was twice the age of his opponent at Rumble 31 held April 15 at the 2 Rivers Boxing Club in Quesnel. He was exponentially older than Tamena Mott, his 11-year-old granddaughter or Karter Mott, his 12-year-old grandson. Yet, there they were, all three on the same fight card.
He has fought on the same card as his son Daniel “Mayhem” Mott and his daughter Abigail Mott, but a grandfather in the same ring as his grandkids is next level, and not just generationally.
“I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest active boxer in B.C. because I haven’t competed against anyone older than me,” said Old Fox, who altogether has nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He remembers as a child thinking his own grandparents were so old and feeble. “I don’t want to be that way with my grandkids. When I’m not boxing, I ride enduro (adventure bikes) out in the bush, and that’s no easy task, let me tell you. The kids, especially my grandkids, encourage me and I want to encourage them.”
He was there in their corner as each one had their own fight at Rumble 31. Tamena said her favourite part about coming to the 2 Rivers club was getting to train with grandpa. She sees the boxers there and what they’re doing, and wants to be part of that.
“I hope boxing gets me to see places, and get to fight some people,” in other places in the world, she said after her aspirations.
Karter Mott was philosophical afterwards, saying “I lost but I’m happy with my performance. I definitely could have been more aggressive in the first two rounds. I just want to grow and get better. I love performing for the crowd, it’s fun. This is only my second fight, I had an exhibition one before, so really it’s my first real fight, and I am super stoked about it.”
His sister’s bout was also something he was stoked about.
“I’m pretty proud of my sister, she did really well tonight, up against someone two or three years older. She did amazing.”
Will they ever get to fight their grandpa?
“Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” said their dad with a laugh.
It was son Daniel that got James into boxing in the first place. Watching the young man train and develop at 2 Rivers was inspiring for the old man. Initially, he just wanted to help proprietor Wally Doern with the training because he could see the veteran coach had more kids than one person could handle. But after a few years of this, a question kept nagging at James.
“I thought to myself that I should have a fight, in case some kid asked me if I’d ever had one and I didn’t,” he said. “They might say ‘what have you got to teach us? How can you train us?’ So I went and had a competition about eight years ago, and it was so exciting. I was so nervous and afraid, going into it, and so stoked when it was over, I said to Wally I’ve got to do that again.”
He has several bouts under his belt, now, but he has run out of peers. Only young men will get into the ring with him, and by provincial rule, that has to be in a sparring scenario with 16-ounce gloves (young fighters use 14-ounce gloves) and one-minute rounds (young boxers have three rounds, three minutes each). Still, it’s a joy and a rush for the Old Fox, and he gets to share it in the squared family circle.