A popular local amateur boxing event is returning next week, and a 16-year-old Richmond prodigy is the star of the event.
Julian "Kid Wolverine" Angelakis will be facing off against a seasoned opponent in the main match of Proving Grounds 9, a Richmond boxing competition being held on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Angelakis, who just turned 16 this week, began boxing at five years old.
"One day, I was walking with my dad on Broadway, and we saw this dollar store and I saw some boxing gloves," he recalled.
"And I wanted to go in and try them, and I started punching my dad on the leg."
Fast forward to a decade later, Angelakis now trains six days a week, including sparring and conditioning training, in addition to attending Kitsilano secondary.
He is currently the best in Canada for the 115 pounds weight class and holds a 36-0 record in Canadian tournaments, Angelakis' dad George told the Richmond News.
And his favourite thing about boxing?
"Probably the punching," said Angelakis, adding he also enjoys travelling and meeting new people through the sport.
Support from his family has kept Angelakis motivated in his training. He's also working towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a World Boxing Council (WBC) world champion.
Jedro Magtoto, spokesperson of event organizer Pack of Wild Dogs Combat Club (POWD), said he hopes to "help breed a champion coming out of the Greater Vancouver area."
"Being a fan of boxing, and... (being) Vancouver-based, we don't really have real champions coming out of the Vancouver or Greater Vancouver area," said Magtoto, who is a boxer himself.
"For people to get better, we need to compete. And the more we compete, we level up higher and the more competitions we have, the more champions we can make."
Proving Grounds 9 is the ninth instalment of POWD's amateur boxing competition, and will feature 11 fights with amateur boxers coming from all over the Lower Mainland.
It is especially important to focus on young up-and-coming boxers such as Angelakis, said Magtoto, to help the young athletes develop and get more comfortable with competitions.
For those who are curious about boxing, Angelakis encourages them to try out the sport.
"It's lots of fun. Even if you don't want to compete."
Magtoto added that boxing is all about "composure and patience," rather than "violence."
"Once the bell rings and you sit in your corner, it's nothing but peace and trying to figure out what you need to do next," he explained.
"You're humbled. And then after the fight, you have so much respect for your opponent."
Anyone interested in attending Tuesday's event should purchase tickets ahead of time, said Magtoto, as previous events in the series have sold out quickly and he has had to place people on waiting lists.
Tickets to Proving Grounds 9 are $50 including food from the Peters Auto Mall food truck. To purchase tickets and for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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