Dafoe trains

Muay Thai fighter Chad Dafoe trains at the Swift Current Fight Club.

The Swift Current Fight Club (SCFC) is getting ready for another spar-a-thon to raise funds for their activities and to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the club.

The club includes the Counterpunch Boxing Academy and Blacktide Muay Thai, a combat sport from Thailand.

The spar-a-thon will take place on June 8 from noon to 3 p.m. The club is located at 140B Central Avenue North and Nick Habscheid, the head coach at Counterpunch Boxing Academy, hopes the event will attract downtown visitors.

“We're hoping to get some activity from Market Square to come in,” he said. “We're going to have a bake sale and some boxers raise money to do multiple rounds, and however many rounds they raise money for they have to do in the ring there.”

The event is open to the public and it will be a good opportunity to check out the club and their different programs.

“They can come and take a look and see all the hard work we’ve been doing this year,” he said. “So it's kind of an open house, but you also get to see a couple of people use their skills in a smaller setting.”

Funds raised at the event will help to cover various expenses. The club closes down over the summer, but it still needs to pay rent. There are also the cost of equipment and travel expenses to compete at different events.

There will be some special visitors to the spar-a-thon. Members of the Golden Gloves boxing program at The Meadows will attend the spar-a-thon.

Long-term care residents at The Meadows participated in this six-week pilot program, which concluded on April 18. The program used boxing exercises to improve their physical and social health. Recreation therapists at The Meadows approached Habscheid for assistance and SCFC members helped out at the training sessions.

“That's been really good,” he said. “It makes me feel good about myself when I'm there helping those people out.”

The SCFC is a busy place and there is training every night of the week from 7-9 p.m. Boxing classes are on Monday and Wednesday evenings, the Muay Thai training is on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and it is an open gym night on Friday evenings, when everybody can work on strength and conditioning.

There is a female boxing class on Tuesday evenings from 6-7 p.m., as well as a mini gloves program every second Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. for children age five to 10 year old.

“So it's a busy building,” he said. “It's been good. I want to keep boxing going in this community. So programs like this help it keep going.”

Club members have already competed at different tournaments this year. Boxers from Swift Current will be fighting at the South Saskatchewan Classic on May 11, a boxing card hosted by the Sandhills Boxing Club in Leader.

“It's a lot of fun,” he said about attending that event. “We sometimes get some people from Swift Current that go and watch local fighters there. It's awesome having it close and Leader always puts on a good show.”

Swift Current boxers will also be going to the Battle of the Prairies in Regina on June 1, an annual tournament hosted by the Lonsdale Boxing Club.

Tanner Willshaw, a cruiserweight boxer with a lot of experience, is working out at the club and assisting with coaching. He competed in 43 kickboxing fights and only had three losses. He also competed in mixed martial arts before deciding to focus again on boxing.

He has been preparing for a professional fight in early May in New Brunswick, but suffered an injury. His goal is to have three professional boxing fights to get ranked in Canada, and then to look for a title fight. Habscheid felt Willshaw’s experience is a great asset for the club

“He's helped us so much with coaching and training, and giving us some ideas on the direction the club should be in,” he said.

Another club member is preparing for a Muay Thai fight in Medicine Hat on May 25. Chad Dafoe is the Muay Thai coach at SCFC. He has a background in boxing and mixed martials arts, but decided about 18 months ago to focus on Muay Thai.

He spent time in Thailand and Los Angeles to receive training in Muay Thai. He won his first Muay Thai fight in Medicine Hat in March and he is looking forward to his second fight.

“I had taken the time off from fighting previously and so to get back in there for that first time was good,” he said. “It went very well. I won the fight and wasn't nervous at all. It was good to get in there and to shake off the rust and now got this next fight coming up.”

He hopes to get as many amateur fights as possible over the next 12 months and his goal for next year is to have his first professional fight in Muay Thai.

“It seems crazy not to try competing at a high level,” he said. “I've spent all these years getting good at martial arts. I might as well test myself.”

According to Habscheid the SCFC is quite unique to give members opportunities to train in boxing or Muay Thai.

“I feel it makes it special in Saskatchewan, because there's not a whole lot of Muay Thai clubs around Saskatchewan,” he said. “It just gives a unique feel. … It gives us our own special brand too and if someone wants to do boxing one night they can do that, and then they can move on to Muay Thai with the way our club is set up. So it just gives a ton of options to keep not just boxing but combat sports alive in this community.”

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