Emmett Emblau show off his trophy and golden gloves pendant while posing with Kelly Gerk. Ronan O’Doherty photo

Tough weekend in Fort St. John for Quesnel’s 2 Rivers boxers

Bright spot for the club was the performance of Emmett Emblau

2 Rivers Boxing Club had some mixed results at last weekend’s Golden Gloves tournament in Fort St. John.

Taking place on Friday and Saturday (April 21-22), the showcase featured pugilists from B.C. and Alberta competing to add the treasured golden gloves achievement to their fighting resumé.

Fighters from the gym had one match a night over the weekend, however, Emmett Emblau, 12, was the lone 2 Rivers boxer to come away with a trophy.

He defeated Zaid Lalath from Calgary by split decision in a bout contested at 75 lbs on Friday.

Although Emblau lost a decision the following night to eventual Best Junior Boxer award-winner Oakley Fitzsimmons of Nanaimo, 2 Rivers coach Wally Doern says Emblau could have easily walked away with two victories.

“It was a very exciting fight with non-stop action,” he says.

“Emmett gave it his all, but unfortunately the judges didn’t see it that way. I honestly thought we were going to get our hands raised.”

Doern is hoping to work on Emblau’s left jab defense in the coming weeks.

He says the punch is the only reason Fitzsimmons won.

“Emmett slipped the jab a lot but he didn’t slip it enough.”

“All the judges can see a jab, where not all of them can see a body punch, so if you don’t get all the judges agreeing on a blow, then you don’t get credited for that blow.

“No matter where they are, they can see that jab and it’s a great point getter. That’s how that other boy beat him, just by probably landing three or four jabs.”

Tyler Doust faced off against Bruno Sanderson from Nanaimo on Friday night as well.

The match, which was fought at 100 lbs, ended up being stopped by the referee in the second.

Doern says Sanderson was an older, more mature fighter who outmatched Doust on the night.

The issue plaguing Doust was dropping his guard far too often when being pressed by his seasoned opponent.

“When people get under some pressure and they haven’t had a lot of training behind them they go to survival mode.

“He just went to survival mode, which doesn’t work in the boxing ring as you really leave yourself open.”

Doust showed his mettle by putting on an excellent performance in an exhibition match against Lenn Manweiler from Fort St. John the following night.

“I was very worried about Tyler on Friday night actually,” Doern says.

“I was unsure if I was even going to match him again, so I talked to him and his dad, but he wanted to give it another shot and as it turned out, I’m so glad that I did let him box again, because if the exhibition had gone to a decision he would have won it easily.

“He boxed well. He held his hands up and he boxed.”

Kelly Gerk’s string of bad luck continued over the weekend with a pair of losses.

On Friday he came up short at the judge’s table, losing by decision to Nick Dragovich from Fort St. John in a bout at 165 lbs.

Saturday did not bring much relief, as he suffered a technical knock out loss to his previous foe’s teammate, Austin Douglas.

Gerk took two standing eight counts in the first round and the referee decided he had seen enough.

Doern says Gerk fought very well on Friday but concedes he just got caught the following night.

Gerk has been served a 30-day suspension from sparring, so he will have plenty of time to work on tightening up his technique.

“He waits to do most of his slipping when he’s on the ropes,” Doern says of Gerk’s approach.

“He needs to do that slipping in the centre of the ring and be the aggressor and apply pressure.

“Kind of like a Mike Tyson style,” he adds, referring to the diminutive-in-stature heavyweight boxer who terrorized his weight class with lightning-quick movement in the eighties.

“Mike Tyson always fought bigger guys and that’s what Kelly is going to be fighting now because he’s stocky.”

Also making the trip was Rylan Maurice, who fought two exhibition matches against Logan MacKinnon from Red Deer at 70 lbs.

“I’ve got to get him to be a little more aggressive with a little more snap in his punches,” Doern says.

“But he’s fine, he’s just nine years old!”

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