Longtime amateur boxing supporter and coach Ralph Robson was front and centre Feb. 22 at the Cloverdale Legion.
During the eighth annual Jim Gallagher Memorial Boxing Show, Robson was awarded the ultimate amateur prize for his years of service to the sport.
During the event’s intermission, Robson was given the Jim Gallagher Memorial Boxing Award for exemplifying the spirit of amateur boxing.
“I feel extremely honored to be part of the Jimmy Gallagher legacy,” said Robson. “He left a huge footprint on amateur boxing and I’m proud to have played a small part.”
Robson said he was surprised with the win because he’d discussed who he thought would be the 2020 winner with the award committee prior to fight night.
“I should have been suspicious when my wife and family [said they] wanted to attend a boxing match.”
Cloverdale’s night at the fights was also a resounding success.
Robson, also the fight night organizer, said the Legion was jammed up and fans were treated to a terrific night of boxing.
“Approximately 300 boisterous boxing fans squeezed into the Cloverdale Legion,” said Robson. “There was electricity in the air and it simply felt like this night was going to be special.”
After some last-minute cancellations because of sickness and some training injuries, 12 match-ups made the final fight card.
“The opening bout set the tone and got the fans into it,” noted Robson. “In a very spirited and close bout, Angelo Viloria of South Surrey’s Mendoza Boxing Club won over Chris Berkely of Victoria’s University Heights Boxing.”
The second bout was a championship belt fight at the 167-pound elite open division. Langley middleweight Brendan Kim of the Port Kells Boxing Club squared off against Dominique Constant of Sooke.
“Brendan was simply too much for Dominique Constant,” explained Robson. “Dominique (went) down in the second round and the referee stopped the fight in the third.”
In the sixth fight of the night, Nola Howarth, of Queen City Boxing in New Westminster, met Olivia Grimme, of Ocean City Boxing in White Rock, in the 147-pound Jr. C Novice division.
“The two novices gave it their all,” said Robson, “with the White Rock fighter emerging the victor.”
In the eleventh fight of the night, Edmonton’s Ethan Pasek outlasted North Vancouver’s Aaron Madriaga to take the three-round contest in a split-decision win. Robson said the fighters threw haymakers toe-to-toe for all three rounds.
In the main event, Maple Ridge heavyweight Gunnar Andersen faced off against Surrey’s Sukh Sahota of the Savard Boxing Club.
After a close bout, the fight went to the scorecards and Sahota won in a unanimous decision.
Robson said he is still adding and subtracting dollars and cents for the evening, but he thinks this year’s Jim Gallagher fight night raised about $6,000 for amateur boxing.
“Thanks to media support and the hard work of many volunteers, our paid attendance was the largest ever,” added Robson.
The Jim Gallagher Memorial Boxing Show has been put on annually since Gallagher, a major champion of amateur boxing in B.C., passed away in 2012. Funds raised at the event help amateur boxers in B.C. pay for their travel costs.