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Kids find confidence at the Oxford Boxing Club


New facility is home away from home for some boxers

OXFORD, N.S. – Gaggles of kids with hand-wrapped hands can be seen running up and down the streets of Oxford most weekday afternoons.

“They start with a little run, then they do three rounds of skipping, and then they shadow box,” Bob Ward, boxing coach at the Oxford Boxing Club, said. “Then they go onto the punching bag, and from there they step into the ring and practice their stances and do some pad work.”

Forty-seven people, mostly young kids, are registered with the Oxford Boxing Club, which is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

“Our youngest is seven-years-old and our oldest is in his late 60’s,” Ward said. “About half of them come through the club in the run of a day.”

The kids come from throughout the region.

“They’re from Oxford, Amherst, Springhill, and Pugwash. I even have kids coming up from Truro.”

The club moved from Rideau Street into their permanent home on Water Street about two months ago.

“The building used to be my camp up in the woods, and Mervil Rushton moved the camp here for me.”

Sixteen-year-old Landon Tower has trained at the club for about three years.

“The old club was way too small. This one is a lot better.”

Tower loves boxing.

“It’s fun, it’s enjoyable. Sparring is fun, that’s what keeps me in shape, and bag-work is second best. I like pad-work as well,” Tower said. “I love the sport, and I love the gym. It’s just like home.”

He recently fought an amateur bout, which he lost.

“I lost to somebody from PEI about a month ago,” Tower said. “I learned a lot from the loss, and I have a few potential fights coming up in the near future.”

Tower’s favourite fighters are Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard.

“Sugar Ray Leonard is amazing. He was so quick.”

Tower knows he’s not that quick but says he’s constantly working on head movement and hand speed.

“I try to improve a little bit every time I’m here,” he said.

Another fighter from the Oxford Boxing Club, Reade Primeau, says he loves stepping in the ring for a fight.

“I’m not nervous when I step in the ring, I’m excited. It’s like Christmas the night before a fight. I can’t sleep because I can’t wait to get in there.”

The 17-year-old lives about 15 minutes outside of Oxford and his ring name is The Fighting Farmer.

“I have a solid right-hand punch but I need to work a lot more on my footwork,” Primeau said.

He says boxing keeps him disciplined.

“I’m here every day after school for an hour or two hours. It keeps me busy and helps keep me in shape.”

He sometimes goes to Hubtown Boxing in Truro for further training.

“Bob sometimes takes me to the Hubtown club so I can get more sparring in with other people. I’ve been there quite a few times.”

Ward says Boxing is a sport where kids can become confident at their own pace.

“If a kid makes a mistake, then they can deal with it on their own. It’s not like hockey or other team sports where it affects the whole team,” Ward said. “It’s a sport where you can build a lot of self-esteem. The kids communicate very well with each other and get along really well. They’re having a lot of fun.”

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