Two Hazelton boxers braved harsh road conditions and a few nerves to take part in their first tournament at the Kitimat Boxing Club on Dec. 6.
Tera Brooks and Mayenda Jones travelled to the port city in an exhibition match at the KMP Bragging Rights Boxing Tournament, their first fight in front of a crowd.
Both boxers are members of the Hazelton Boxing Club, where they train under coach Wenda Leask.
Brooks said her father was a boxer so the sport had always been a part of her life, but her interest had grown in the past three years.
“We always had a boxing bag and speed bags in the basement and we always used to work with our dad, me and my brother and then I took it up again three years ago,” she said.
Originally from the Hazeltons, Brooks moved away to study in Kamloops, where she stayed until she returned to open the Historic B.C. Cafe in Old Hazelton about four years ago.
“When I moved home it was perfect timing because (coach Wanda Leask) had just moved here as well, she’s been a boxing coach everywhere so she started a club and I got right into it,” she said.
Preparation for the exhibition involved a lot of training and a disciplined diet.
In addition to her usual biweekly practices, Brooks increased her personal regime by training more at home and in her spare time.
To improve her fitness, she focused on doing weights for her upper body and endurance cardio work such as walking, running and snowshoeing.
She said training in winter had its challenges but she had found ways to overcome them.
“Just even to go for a walk, when there’s snow it takes a lot longer,” she said.
“You’re feet are falling in and it is a better workout but the downfall is that it gets dark so early so literally I get off work and I’m out with a headlamp and my dog has a collar that is LED and we are out in the dark trying to do it.”
Brooks said she had been nervous about the exhibition match, primarily because it was her first formal fight in a ring with referees.
She said the nerves fell away once the fight started.
“Once I was in the ring you just block it off and you just do what you know how to do,” she said.
“The fight went extremely well, I think we both pushed ourselves to a whole new level … she got a lot of good hits in, so did I.
“We got the crowd going, which was great.”
Brooks said the exhibition match, for which there was no winner, had whet her appetite for competition and driven her to train harder.
“We’re hoping there are other tournaments that are coming up and there are a few of us now that are at that level where we can start going to them,”
“Hopefully in the new year there will be some more that we can go to and actually have a real fight.”
Jones, 13, said she too had been nervous until she stepped into the ring.
“It was fun … it felt like it was like a movie,” she said.
She said she was eager to compete again in the future.