Kelowna boxing gym seeking 'three-round heroes' for charity event

Seeking 3-round heroes

After having to take a year off due to the pandemic last year, a Kelowna boxing gym is looking to raise money for a good cause for the fifth time.

Geoff Lawrence and the MadKatz Boxing Gym have hosted four charity boxing events over the years, benefitting a variety of non-profit organizations, while also running free-of-charge classes for locals in addiction recovery.

Lawrence was recently given the go-ahead by the Boxing BC Association to run a 2021 event, and he's now looking for “three-round heroes” to learn the sweet science. He has eight people from the community committed for the Oct. 9 event, and he's now looking for another dozen.

“They're people from the community who have never boxed, or maybe dabbled in it a little bit over the years, maybe played with some martial artists training, and have kind of maybe always wondered what it would be like – a little bit of a bucket list thing,” Lawrence said.

“They receive three months for the free training from Madkatz. I bring in lots of extra coaching, and I coach myself as well ... We kind of call it 'wax on, wax off,' we keep it really simple, basic. And we get you fight ready in three months.

“And then you step in front of 500 screaming fans and do something 99 per cent of the people in the world run from, and that's a fistfight.”

In 2019, and once again this year, money raised through the event will go towards Elevation Outdoors, a local non-profit that introduces underprivileged young people in the Okanagan to a variety of outdoor activities. Part of the funds raised will also go towards MadKatz Boxing's free training program for people in recovery.

“Everything goes through [Elevation Outdoors], and then they kick us back enough to run our programs for the recovery houses again,” Lawrence said.

“If you are in recovery, in a home, sober and clean, you are welcome to train here all year round ... we've had guys say that this helps them get through their day."

Lawrence spoke about a pair of young people in recovery who got into his boxing program a few years ago.

“The following year when it came time to recruit [three-round heroes], they both fought, they both raised funds,” he said. “They're both out of recovery. They got their apartment, they got all three kids back, they're both working and loving life, sober and clean.”

Those interested in becoming a three-round hero can reach out to Lawrence with any questions at 250-859-1397, or by email at [email protected] Participants will get two group training sessions per week – Monday and Wednesday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. near downtown Kelowna – until the event on Oct. 9. Lawrence says if those dates don't work for someone who's interested, he's willing to work with them to make it work.

Participants are encouraged to raise $1,500 through a variety of fundraising initiatives.

“I stay in touch with so many people throughout the community that have done this and just found it to be such an amazing experience,” Lawrence said.

“This whole group that comes together not knowing each other, they bond in this backyard ... And I think it's the intensity of the sport. When you pour it out like that and watch all these amazing people take this intimidating training, you just can't help but admire them.

“So when I see people come from the community, like starry-eyed, having no idea what they're in for, and then muscle through this thing and come out the other end with their hands raised, it's incredible.”

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