Steve 'The Bulldog' Mercandelli gets some work in on the speed bags at the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club in preparation for Saturday's Charity Boxing Challenge Event.

Steve 'The Bulldog' Mercandelli gets some work in on the speed bags at the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club in preparation for Saturday's Charity Boxing Challenge Event.

Charity Challenge Boxing returns for second bout

Local tough guys and tough gals set to duke it out for a good cause Saturday night

Taylor Rocca

The Charity Challenge Boxing Event returns to the Eagles Hall this Saturday at 6 p.m.

Presented by the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club and Freightliner Trucks of Cranbrook the Charity Challenge Boxing Event features 15 amateur bouts followed by fights featuring local tough guys and tough gals from around Cranbrook.

“We’re a non-profit organization. None of us take a dollar out of this place, we’re all volunteers. This is kind of a give-back thing,” said Tom White of the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club Monday night.

The first edition of the Charity Challenge Boxing Event went in 2013. According to White, the goal was to raise $5,000 for local families in need. The event smashed that record, bringing in more than $20,000 for its cause.

“That first year was kind of like a movie, it’s always hard to beat that first year,” White added. “I think we’re going to come close [to that mark this year].”

Tom White and fellow Eagles coach Bill Watson have been working to prepare competitors in anticipation of Saturday’s festivities.

After 15 amateur bouts to warm up the audience, the local tough guys and tough gals take centre stage. Sue Eimer will go toe-to-toe with Emma Jonsson, while White will dance with Derek Kortschaga, a program director at B-104 radio here in Cranbrook.

“Derek Kortschaga, who is the one who came out and challenged me, it was never about me. I never wanted it to be [about me]. I really liked Derek before this event, but all the harsh barbs and stabs behind the back and all the hard comments, I’m really not liking him,” White said with a laugh. “Everything he says to me on the radio is going back into the ring.”

Mike Peabody and Joey Sandberg, friends and co-owners of The Choice skate and snowboard shop, will duke it out. While Sandberg has the experience of one prior bout, Peabody is stepping into the ring for the first time Saturday.

“I’m fighting my best friend, so we’ll see how that goes,” Peabody said with a laugh Monday night. “It’s going to be interesting. Talking to each other, it’s like, ‘Well, we’re not going to try to hurt each other. We’ll just go out there and give them a good show.’ But I know [with] the first slip or the first hard punch, it’s going to be on.

“It’s going to be a really, really good show. It’s rare in Cranbrook that you get stuff this entertaining and it only happens once a year.”

Steve “The Bulldog” Mercandelli and Randy “The Moose” Rothwell round out the group of local celebrities in what projects to be a hard-hitting, heavy-slugging tilt.

“It’s going to be a fun night. There’s a lot of amateur fights going on prior to and some real talented guys going out there,” Mercandelli said. “I’m excited to watch that. There’s some real good talent coming out of this club locally.”

Part of the local bouts include a family feud between Rothwell’s two young sons, six-year-old Trip and seven-year-old Chase.

“The only thing I’m scared of is when I punch my brother, he flies into the strings [ropes],” Chase said. “I don’t want him to fly and fall out of the ring.”

According to White, the two peppy boys represent the youngest boxers to step into the ring for a bout in Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club history.

“It won’t be first fight wins, then the trophy,” Trip said with a big grin. “There will have to be a couple fights.”

Only a handful of tickets remain for the event, which sold out last year.

If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a ticket for the Charity Challenge Boxing Event, contact Tom White (250-417-9019) or Bill Watson (250-919-7181).