Local amateur boxer Brandon Luke has always liked to fight but his love for fisticuffs wasn’t always in the confines of a ring.
“I got in lots of trouble for [fighting],” Luke said prior to a workout at the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club last week. “I realized I could come here and I couldn’t get in trouble for it.
“I fell in love with the sport as soon as I started fighting. I loved the whole thing; training, getting in front of everybody and showing your skills.”
When he was in Grade 10, Luke began boxing with Eagles coach Bill Watson before eventually volunteering his time as a coach and mentor for younger boxers. Now, one year out of high school, Luke is returning to the boxing ring for the first time in more than a year.
“He has overcome so much adversity to get where he is right now,” Watson said. “I’m just so proud of the effort he’s put in. He has been a really good role model for the kids down here and hopefully this continues.”
Luke lost his focus after having a strong start to his amateur boxing career. Going undefeated through his first six bouts, Luke was an up-and-comer in the Canadian amateur boxing scene. Then the Eagles Boxing Club went into a summer shutdown and Luke went into summer party mode.
“I started partying and got lazy,” Luke said. “I got away from the sport a little bit.”
In October 2013, Luke discovered he had torn the superior labrum in one of his shoulders. After one fight last season, he knew something was wrong and went in for an MRI where it was revealed surgery would be required to repair the damage.
Fast-forward one calendar year — Luke is back in the gym doing what he loves most. He’s set to step back into the boxing ring in search of his seventh victory this Saturday when the Cranbook Eagles Boxing Club and Freightliner Trucks present The Charity Boxing Challenge.
“You want to stay unbeaten,” Luke said.
“[But] I never really think of my record. I usually just focus on the fight that’s ahead of me. I take it fight by fight. What’s in the past is in the past.”
Luke is set to fight 23-year-old Taha Rizvi of Edmonton’s Cougar Boxing Club Edmonton.
“His heart is so big, it’s going to overcome any injury he has,” Watson said looking forward to Luke’s return Saturday. “He fights through it. This won’t be any different than in the past.
“He hates to lose. He’s got so much courage, and like I mentioned, he has such a big heart. You can’t teach a kid those things.”
The Charity Challenge Boxing Event begins at 7 p.m. and features a variety of bouts between local and out-of-town amateur boxers prior to pitting local celebrities against one another in the ring. The 2013 edition of the event sold out, raising more than $20,000 for local families in need. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by contacting Tom White (250-417-9019) or Bill Watson (250-919-7181).