APTN reality show to make boxers out of complete rookies

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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WINNIPEG Tyler Green cant wait to see if hes got what it takes in the heat of battle.

The 22-year-old is one of eight participants in Warriors: TKO, a 12-episode reality mini-series which wraps up shooting this weekend and scheduled to air on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network next year.

The concept: pick eight people out of 28 candidates off the street, train them to be boxers over three weeks and put them in the ring as part of a fight card.

Its sort of like American Idol, but the jabs arent verbal theyre physical.

I want to become an RCMP officer and this is a great way to deal with stress and emotions, Green said.

At least Im not out on the street. This is a controlled environment.

That environment is Pan Am Boxing Club, the downtown Winnipeg gym run Harry Black, former Canadian middleweight champion.

Black calls the show an experiment where the participants are treated just like fighters, although he says trainers typically have six to 12 months to get boxers ready to fight.

We didnt cut them any slack. We picked (fighters) who had that genuineness to them, who spoke of trying to be role models, Black says.

Green, who has lost 10 pounds while training for his fight on 1 p.m. Sunday, said hes hoping hell show his younger brother what he can attain with hard work and perseverance.

Hes going down that path of getting into trouble. Im talking to him about staying in school and getting an education, he said.

Rose Thomas, 33, decided to step inside the ring to try to knock down stereotypes. The half-Cree, half-Ojibwa single mother doesnt drink, works full time, and hopes to set a good example for aboriginal girls.

Thomas, whose ultimate goal is to become a Winnipeg police officer, said she was a little worried at first how her five-year-old daughter would react.

I thought she might cry because somebody was punching her mom. I explained it to her beforehand, Its something mommy does, its a sport and mommys OK, she said.

Will Antoniuk, production manager at Winnipeg-based Farpoint Films, which is co-producing the show with APTN, said hes been impressed by the participants level of commitment and the buzz theyre creating.

Antoniuk said complete strangers were willing to lend a hand. He said people in Waterloo, Ont., stepped up to help a contender train because she had a work commitment in the city.

She was so disappointed and worried about falling behind in her training. We called a boxing club in Waterloo and they took her in with open arms, Antoniuk said.

Organizations: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, RCMP, Pan Am Boxing Club Farpoint Films

Geographic location: WINNIPEG, Waterloo

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