Friday, 08 December 2017 03:23

Swift Current boxing club starting a new chapter

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Vic-Tory Boxing Club members pose for a group photo during their final workout at the Swift Current Friendship Centre, Nov. 29. Vic-Tory Boxing Club members pose for a group photo during their final workout at the Swift Current Friendship Centre, Nov. 29. Matthew Liebenberg

After a long association with the Swift Current Friendship Centre the Vic-Tory Boxing Club is moving to a new location and continuing under a new name.

Club members held their final workout at the Friendship Centre, Nov. 29. The club is moving due to the closure of the Friendship Centre.
“Boxing is going to continue on in Swift Current, and it will just look different,” Coach Nick Habscheid said. “There’s been 11 years of history in this building, and it will look different, but change is exciting and new. I think in downtown we’ll get some more people noticing and everyone is excited to check out a new place and it will be a great time for new people to join and have a fresh look at things.”
The Friendship Centre building on North Railway Street East has been for sale for a while, and the sale has recently been finalized.
“We knew that something was up because there was a for sale sign up for about a year and a half,” he said. “We were going to keep going with boxing until something happened, and then it just kind of came as a surprise in about the middle of November. We heard that this place was closing down.”
The move to a new location in downtown Swift Current, on the 100 block of Central Avenue North, is scheduled for Dec. 9.
“It’s going to be a really awesome facility,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of energetic people for this new club.”
The club members will take time during December to settle into their new facility and formal training will start again in early January. The intention is to have boxing training for three nights a week and an idea is under consideration to have kickboxing on the other two nights.
“So we’re going to try to offer more stuff in different ways and still create a fun and interesting club,” he said. “There will be a lot more going on and more variety for some people.”
Club members have already picked a new name for the club and it will be called the Counterpunch Boxing Academy.
The club will be off to a good start, because Jerry Monkman, the former president and owner of Vic-tory Boxing Club, donated all the equipment to the club. Jerry's father, Earl, was the founder of the boxing club.
It was originally called the Swift Current Friendship Centre Boxing Club, but it was renamed in 2014 in honour of Earl, who passed away in 2012. Everybody knew him as Earl, but his first name was Victor, and the club was therefore renamed the Vic-Tory Boxing Club.
Earl started the Swift Current Friendship Centre in 2004 with Carol Low. Jerry continued his father's legacy with the help of Low, but they felt it was time for a change.
“We're just moving on,” Jerry said. “It started in 2004, and we just decided that it's been a lot of fun, but it's time to move on. The boxing club was our main program that we offered here, and I didn't want to see it die, but at the same time I still wanted to move on. So I just gave it to the guys.”
The responsibility for the club under its new name will be shared by Habscheid as head coach and senior club members Chad Dafoe and Dustin Auseth.
Jerry believes it was a good decision not to sell the club, but to pass it on to this group to continue the legacy.
“It's bad karma if you're going to sell it, because the whole purpose was for the community and for them to use it, and the guys agreed to continue that, just at a different location,” he said.
Earl started the boxing club in 2005. It has always been an important part of the activities at the Friendship Centre. Over the years the Friendship Centre coordinated various other programs and activities, but as a non-profit organization it relied on grants and donations, and it became a growing challenge to keep the doors open.
“We had some good people down here over the years,” he said. “They've come and gone, and it's time for us to move on too.”
Jerry has many fond memories of the times he spent at the Friendship Centre with his father. The club hosted three Earl Monkman Memorial boxing cards since 2014. The most recent one took place this fall in association with the Swift Current 57's baseball club. This unique event took place under the lights at Mitchell Field, and he is happy the Vic-Tory Boxing Club concluded on such a high note.
“That was a good way to end it on a high, and thanks to Swift Current for supporting us,” he said.
Habscheid wants to continue the club's legacy. The Counterpunch Boxing Academy's history will be displayed at its new location with a timeline of the club's past and a display of photographs taken over the years.
He appreciates the importance of the club's past, because he joined the club 12 years ago and he has been coaching for almost four years.
“I was just a shy kid, super scrawny, probably weighed like 160 pounds, never wanted to fight anyone,” he recalled. “I was actually sick in hospital with appendicitis for three weeks, and just wanted to find a way to be active and went there, and just loved the idea of hitting bags, speed bags and heavy bags, and slowly just fell in love with the sport. ... It was the best decision I’ve ever made, because it kept me active and it has given me tons of confidence with every decision I do.”
Four members of the club represented the Vic-Tory Boxing Club for the final time before the name change at the provincial championships in Regina, Dec. 2 and 3. Habscheid became the walk over provincial champion in the over 91 kilogram open fighter category, because there were no other opponents in that class.
Jaxson Williams won his bout in the 37 kilogram weight class to become provincial champion. Dustin Auseth won his semi final bout against Adam Toto in the over 91 kilogram novice weight category, and he will fight in March for the championship title in that division. Jesse Kitchen got a bye in the 81 kilogram weight class and he will fight in March for the championship title.
For more information about the Counterpunch Boxing Academy or to join the club, call Habscheid at 306-774-3036.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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