After fighting the best boxers in the country, Cranbrook’s Dylan Clark placed fourth at the Canada Winter Games, currently underway in Red Deer.
In the 69-Kilogram bronze medal match, Clark took on Nova Scotia’s Matthew Ross and lost the decision to Ross.
“The first round I was boxing well, but I felt he was still getting the better of me,” said Clark about the matchup.
“He was landing more punches. So, I decided I was going to go to war, and outbox him. I pushed him baked the whole fight, I was aggressive and had his back against the rope the whole time.”
Representing Team BC was special for Clark. In his preliminary round, he faced off against Team Alberta’s Tristan Deveau.
“I boxed really well that night, I’d say one of my best performances ever,” added Clark.
He then has to face a top Team Quebec opponent in Christopher Guerrero Zuri, where he lost.
“He was a big kid, he had skill. He’s beatable, but he got the better of me that night,” said Clark.
While at the games, Team BC was able to go out and experience new sports. Some favourites for Clark was ringette.
“The best one to watch was ringette because I had never watched it before. It was nice to get my mind off of boxing when I didn’t have to box,” said Clark.
However, his favourite part about the experience was being able to box compete.
“I liked the opening ceremonies a lot, it was really professionally done. I got to meet a lot of new kids, that was a highlight .. but definitely the boxing. I like boxing, that was the highlight. I got to compete with some of the best athletes in the country,” he said.
Taking part in this once in a lifetime opportunity Clark was able to learn a lot about himself.
“I learned my skills are always going to be there … I need to rely on my own skills and not worry about the other person. I fought a good fighter, who was really confident — I’m always confident in myself too — but, he was showing it a little more than me. I competed with him, but I think I can do better,” he said.
Clark was joined by his coach Bill Watson, as he was coaching with Team BC.
“If I would have gone without my own head coach I don’t think I would have had the success I had, and just as a person I always like having Bill there, he’s like a second grandpa to me,” said Clark.
This was the second time for Watson at the Winter Games as a coach, and he said it was nothing less than a great experience.
“Just as exciting as the first time. There is so much to do for all the athletes, coaches, officials. It’s a busy 10 days,” said Watson.
Even with all the action taking place, his highlight of the games was working with Clark.
“Cornering Dylan in his three bouts, it’s always exciting when you get to that level and you are able to corner your own boxer from your own hometown. that’ and then cornering Brayden Sims from Fort St. John who won a gold medal,” said Watson.
Being about the tournament, Watson says Clark has things to work on, but is confident in his work.
“We know we have some stuff to work on to make us better … Chances are we are going to be seeing those same boxers representing their provinces at the Canadian Nationals, so we want to be prepared for it. If Quebec and Ontario popup again as the draw and we have to fight them again we want a different result,” he said.
Even though boxing was the main focus for Watson and Clark, they were able to make friendships that will last a lifetime. Team BC included six members from all around the province that represented for boxing at the games.
“Bringing those six boxers together in that short of a time, and seeing how they bonded was a neat experience for us and it was something I will never forget,” said Watson, adding it started at the airport in Vancouver and are from there.
Even though Watson wasn’t in the ring he said he had some nerves at the Games.
“I think I was a little relaxed,” he said. “Not as nervous as I had been at previous tournaments or bouts, but that might change at the Canadian Nationals because it will be that much bigger and better competition.”
Clark and Watson are now looking to their next competition, where three boxers for the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club will be competing at the 2019 Super Channel Championships in Langford.