World title bout to be held in Watson Lake

Watson Lake will be the scene of the first-ever kickboxing world title bout in the Yukon on September 29. Thanks to fight promoter Keith Varga and unanimous support from town council.

Watson Lake will be the scene of the first-ever kickboxing world title bout in the Yukon on September 29.

Thanks to fight promoter Keith Varga and unanimous support from town council, Watson Lake will host Quest for the Title 8 at the community’s recreation centre.

“What you will witness in Watson Lake is the highest level of kickboxing talent in the world,” said Varga. “It does not get any better than this anywhere, and it will be right here in Watson Lake.”

“We’re excited about it,” said Watson Lake mayor Richard Durocher. “He made a proposal to us and Keith was very professional about how he made the presentation. He showed us examples of events he’s put on down south – I think in Kelowna and another one on Vancouver Island.

“Council was behind him 100 per cent because we felt it would be a good thing to bring to Watson Lake.”

Going for his third world title will be Varga’s son, Gabriel. The title, which is currently vacant, is the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) Pro K1 super light weight title.

Gabriel, 27, currently holds both the World Kickboxing Network and World Kickboxing Federation world titles, with over 20 professional wins under his belt. He was about to go for the World Boxing Council title at the start of the year in New Jersey, but the fight was called off when his opponent wasn’t cleared by doctors.

He also has a second-degree black belt in shotokan karate.

Gabriel’s opponent has yet to be selected by the ISKA, but it is possible Japan’s current K1 champion could be flown in for the event.

In addition to the pro fight, Quest for the Title 8 will feature 11 amateur fights. For all, Keith plans to include Yukon fighters.

Keith is currently in talks with the Yukon Amateur Boxing Association and Whitehorse’s two mixed martial arts (MMA) clubs, Avalanche MMA and the Chaos Combat Club, to find 11 local fighters to enter the ring against 11 B.C. fighters.

“The event will include 11 amateur bouts and will be a Yukon versus B.C. event,” said Keith.

“This will be the first opportunity for the Yukon fighters to compete at home. I know this will be the chance to showcase their talents to their families and friends right here in the Yukon. After all their years of hard work, countless hours of dedication in the gym, they will be able to show the sport they love to the Yukon.”

Although there’s room for movement, Quest for the Title will comprise four bouts each of kickboxing, boxing and MMA.

If the MMA fights take place, they will be the first ever in the Yukon. The boxing and kickboxing fights will be the first in over a decade.

The decision to put on MMA fights is where things get a little iffy. Whether or not MMA is legal in the Yukon is unclear; there doesn’t appear to be any law regarding MMA, one way or the other, said Keith.

So the plan is to go forward with MMA until told otherwise.

“If they can’t do MMA, then they’ll do kickboxing,” said Keith.

Keith is blown away by the support he received from Watson Lake. Not only did the town council vote unanimously in favor of the event, the hosting Watson Lake Recreational Centre has even agreed to postpone putting ice in their hockey rink so the event can be held there.

Gabriel has a fight scheduled for August 18 and requires six weeks to prepare for his Watson Lake fight, which is for a title he’s been gunning for since the beginning. (Gabriel held two ISKA amateur titles that he had to give up when he turned pro.)

“That’s why we pushed this event back to the 29th (of September), to give him six weeks in between,” said Keith.

“It will be one of those events that showcases Watson Lake and we’ll try as a municipality with our recreation department to host other mini-events around it to keep people entertained,” said Durocher. “We thank Keith for offering the event to us, and we think it will be great.

“It’s turning into a bit larger event than we anticipated in the beginning. But Watson Lake can handle it for sure and we’ll try to make it a first-class event.”

Putting on a world title bout requires more than simply getting two top fighters in the ring. ISKA executive Don Arnott is assisting the town in creating an official Watson Lake Athletic Commission to sanction the one professional bout.

“How incredibly supportive the Town of Watson Lake is in helping make this event happen,” said Keith. “I made one call to present the idea and mayor Richard Durocher liked the idea of me doing this event here in Watson. I attended the town council meeting and after my presentation … they unanimously voted to allow and support this event.”

Ticket prices for Quest for the Title are expected to range from $35 to $75. The venue could potentially hold up to 1,500 spectators.

For more information contact Keith Varga at vargatitlefights@hotmail.com.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Most Read