The sixth-annual Jim Gallagher Memorial Boxing Tournament was packed last Saturday afternoon, with boxers from B.C., Alberta and Washington going toe to toe in front of a sellout crowd.
More than 300 attended the event at the Cloverdale Legion on Feb. 17, raising funds and awareness for local boxers. Organizers said it was the highest quality show to date.
The amateur tournament is held honour of the late Jim Gallagher, who was a strong supporter of the local boxing scene for decades. After he passed away from Parkinson’s disease in 2012, the Cloverdale Legion started the amateur boxing event in his honour.
His friend Kenneth Marjoram, event co-ordinator for the Legion, organizes the event every year. Despite his many years of volunteering within the boxing community, Marjoram was blindsided when he was awarded the Jim Gallagher Memorial Award for outstanding service and dedication to the sport of amateur boxing.
“I was surprised, put it that way,” said Marjoram. “I was stunned. I was the only one who didn’t know [I’d be awarded].”
Marjoram knew Gallagher for years. At first, they knew each other professionally, as they were both boxing coaches. Soon they became friends, later travelling together when working as boxing referees and judges, and sitting together on the executive board for Boxing B.C.
Marjoram has been involved with boxing since he was 15 years old, when he joined the navy in 1946. He said that it was difficult to train while he was enlisted, as “there was not much fighting on a ship.” After the war, he continued to train and later coach.
Marjoram said he and Gallagher would go on to organize boxing matches at the Cloverdale Legion together. After Gallagher passed away in 2012, Marjoram began to organize the Jim Gallagher Memorial Boxing Tournament to raise funds for amateur boxers in his name.
The profits from the annual tournament go towards the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association. This year’s tournament directly supports the B.C. Boxing team going to the Canadian Winter Games.
Each year, the boxing show features eight to 10 local boxers, both juniors and seniors, male and female, in a variety of weight divisions. Langley’s Tyler Chambers once again headlined in the super heavy weight division. Chambers is most known for his time with the Chilliwack Chiefs and Vancouver Giants as a a hockey player, but he’s recently been gaining renown in the world of boxing.
This year’s tournament saw 10 matches, including exhibition matches between junior novice boxers Ali Beig and Nickolas Maric, and Gabby Sanderson versus Jill Doucet.
Moise Cercel won the 160-lb Elite Open match versus Mike Kechechian in a split decision, and Tessa Feldbusch won her match against Emily Walker soon after. Phillip Matombo, from Cougar Boxing Club, defeated Inner City’s Josh Grossgardt with a first-round K.O. to win the 114-lb Elite Open.
Headliner Tyler Chambers took on Vernon’s Frank Jacobs, winning the super heavyweight title in a match that was a slugfest from the outset. Chambers won in a unanimous decision, but there was no doubt in the audience’s mind that it was a difficult win.
Dan Baxter lost to CJ Tuason in 190-lb Elite Novice, Jonathan Hannah defeated Josh Peck in the 152-lb Youth Open, and Robert Couzens won the 154-lb Elite Open match agains Maple Ridge’s Brennan Demas.
Best Bout was awarded to the ninth match between Greg Cruz of Seattle’s Arcaro Boxing Club, who won the bout, and Abdul Qadir Hamid of Eastside Vancouver Boxing club in what organizers said was a “most spirited skirmish.”
—with files from Grace Kennedy