The road to a professional career has been a long one for Quesnel boxer Shawn Archer, who has more than 100 amateur fights under his belt. His amateur experience made it hard for the fighter to find anyone willing to fight him in at the pro level.
“I just have so much amateur experience and I’m well known in the boxing community because it’s so small, so to get a decent and fair debut was hard,” he said. “Nobody wanted to fight somebody with my background. Everybody wants a nice easy win in their hometown — I had offers from other guys who were looking to do their pro debut as well, but then once their coaches and their managers did some background checks and found out who I was, they said ‘no we’re not gonna fight him.’”
It became so difficult for Archer to find a professional fight in Canada that the Quesnel boxer began to look elsewhere to chase his dream. When the opportunity arose for Archer to finally make his pro debut in Mexico, he didn’t think twice about it and jumped at the opportunity, regardless of the cost. He finally made his professional debut Saturday, Jan. 18.
“It was worth it to get down there and get the experience because that was all I needed,” said Archer. “I just needed that one fight to get my foot in the door.”
Making his professional debut in Mexico was not without its challenges. Archer had originally been scheduled to fight a Mexican boxer with 20 professional fights on his record and had trained accordingly. However, when he arrived in Mexico, he found out his original opponent had been swapped for someone else. Although it was a surprise, Archer said he didn’t let the change affect him.
“I came prepared,” he said. “I had been waiting for this fight, I had been training for six months to get to that point and at that point, it didn’t matter who was put in front of me. I was going to war. Fighters fight.”
The fight was scheduled for four three-minute rounds, but Archer only needed a little over three to get the job done. The referee stopped the fight, as Archer’s opponent, Jonathan Sanchez, was taking too much damage and unable to defend himself.
“He shook me in the first round,” said Archer. “Our gloves were half the size of the ones we train with — he clipped me with a shot in the first round and buckled my legs a little. It just kinda woke me up, and I was like ‘wow, this is the real deal,’ but I was relaxed and calm. I felt in control. After that, I was just lighting him up all day, and the ref stopped it in the third round because he was just taking way too much damage, and it was pretty clear that there was no way he was going to win.”
Archer said it was an amazing feeling to get his first professional fight under his belt, and to come away with a KO victory was even better. He quickly felt the difference between amateur and professional victory.
“It’s funny because in the amateurs, there is a lot of pressure, a lot of build up,” he said. “If you win, they raise your hand, they give you a trophy or a medal or a belt or something, you come out feeling great and you have that thing with you forever and you show it off all the time or whatever. In the pros, when you win, they raise your hand then they kick you out of the ring, and the fighters for the next match are immediately on their way in. That’s it, there’s no medals, there’s no trophies. I came out of that fight, and it almost felt like an amateur fight because I’ve just had so many. It felt like just another day at work, but it was definitely an awesome feeling to get it done; it felt so great.”
Wally Doern, the owner of 2 Rivers Boxing Club in Quesnel, where Archer trains, says he is proud to see the success of the local athlete, and he isn’t surprised by it.
“Shawn is the first boxer to go pro out of our club, and going pro is a big step,” he said. “He has worked so hard, and I’ve been watching him train over the years, and in my mind, I knew he was up for it.”
Archer is looking forward to scheduling more fights this year, and with his first pro match having been completed less than a week ago, he has already been receiving calls asking his availability for upcoming cards.
Archer says that he would not have been able to pursue his dream without the help of many people in his life, but there are a few who really went above and beyond to get him to his latest milestone.
“I want to thank Wally Doern for always keeping the club open for me; without him, I wouldn’t have the resources or the space to do this,” he said. “Stuart McLellan for taking me under his wing and beating the crap out of me every day and teaching me everything. Lisa Kozuchar at Regency Chrysler, she helped me with funds I needed to prepare and get all new gear. Geoff Stewart with Rig Hand Distillery in Alberta, he was my first boxing coach and my mentor; he taught me everything from the ground up, and Quesnel Roofing, who also helped me with my gear.”