Of the three youth boxers who travelled to Cochrane, Alta. last weekend, two brought home silver and gold medals.
Alberta Sub-Novice Tournament, which serves has a springboard for amateur boxers, occurred on Nov. 10 and 11.
“They performed extraordinarily well,” said Jess Staffen, head coach of Yukon Boxing.
Ryan Val Gayangos, 14, secured the gold medal, coming out strong right away and “overwhelming” his opponent by TKO, Staffen said.
Rosuel Carpina, the eldest of the group at 19 years old, got a silver medal.
He had won the first match by a unanimous decision, but ended up losing the gold medal match on a split decision.
“It was very close,” Staffen said.
Payton Mason, 14, put up a good fight, said Staffen, but was eventually knocked out.
“The ref was really quick to call it,” he said. “He (Mason) got the raw end of that decision, even though he wasn’t hurt at all. Safety first in those competitions.”
Regineld Laguerre, who had a boxing gym in Montreal before moving to the Yukon, started training the three youth in September.
He noted how all of them grew in strength and confidence throughout his work with them — that it was interesting to see how each picked up the sport, given the strong personality differences.
“At this level, the most important thing is that they have a good time. They go there, they have fun, even (if) they win a gold, (even if) they lose – if they want more, that’s a win for me,” Laguerre said, adding that he’s going to continue to work with the youth.
The first matches for Mason and Carpina were against boxers from Gold Star, a club out of Calgary.
Val Gayangos’ rival was from a Cochrane-based boxing club.
Those going toe-to-toe in the ring were the same weight and age.
“We’re really proud of how they performed,” Staffen said. “They went and exceeded expectations. We always worry about these introductory bouts — how boxers will perform because, of course, this is their first time in the ring and it’s a very nerve-racking experience. I look forward to being able to take them to more tournaments.”
Contact Julien Gignac at firstname.lastname@example.org