The April 26 War On The Shore 2 boxing event hosted by the Sunshine Coast Boxing Club (SCBC) at the Gibsons and Area Community Centre had all a boxing fan could ask for.
Excitement, drama, action and great story lines unfolded during the fights for the 400-plus who packed into the arena.
In the main event, Marcus Baptiste of Sechelt lost a close decision to Aaron McKitrick of Kelowna.
Supported by an army of fans from the Sechelt Indian Band, Baptiste came to fight, as did McKitrick.
During the pre-fight instructions given by referee Dale Walters, the two combatants pushed their foreheads together in a psychological battle at ring centre.
As the bell rang, the men tore into each other with the ferocity of true warriors.
With a deafening roar the audience willed Baptiste to knock out his opponent, but McKitrick would have none of it and landed several big punches on the granite-jawed Baptiste in this rugged affair.
The fight was fast-paced and hard-hitting with McKitrick, the better-schooled fighter, making Baptiste miss a number of punches, which he countered.
On all three score cards, the judges had McKitrick winning three rounds to one.
“This was a fight-of-the-year candidate,” said boxing official Rick Shannon.
In other bouts, Gibsons’ heavyweight Graham Porter won a masters division bout over late substitute opponent Frank Araujo of Kamloops.
Porter’s scheduled opponent from Mission was involved in a car accident on his way to Gibsons Saturday morning, and though unhurt, could not get to Gibsons.
Araujo was travelling with the Kamloops club to coach his son on the card and stepped in so Porter could box in front of his local fans.
In a coaches’ spar, SCBC coach Randy Hollett and event co-coordinator got into the ring with Kamloops coach and current Canadian 195-pound champion Ken Huber.
The spar was a fast-paced affair with these skilled boxers each reaching into their bags of tricks and entertaining the crowd.
Overall, there were three spars and seven scored bouts, including one knock out, two technical knock outs, a split decision and three unanimous decisions.
Madeira Park Elementary School principal and boxing coach Barry Krangle was the master of ceremonies. He kept the audience entertained with information about the show, and his interactions with referee and guest of honour, 1984 Olympic boxing bronze medalist Dale Walters, held everyone’s attention.
Walters told the audience stories of his boxing days and how he became the world record holder for double jump skipping.
A skilled amateur and professional boxing referee, he kept the bouts he refereed under control and held high regard for the boxers’ safety.
The other referee was Shannon, with the judges brought in from Langley and Richmond.
© Coast Reporter