The Canada Winter Games will get a little Cranbrook flavour in the boxing arena.
Dylan Clark will be showcasing his skills in Red Deer, as he represents not only British Columbia, but the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club.
“It’s been in the back of my mind before every fight for the past year and a half, so it’s nice to be selected for that,” said Clark.
While at the games, Clark’s focus is to make everyone proud.
“That’s the most important thing, making everyone here proud. I want to come back a winner, but as long as I make everyone from here proud then that’s my main goal,” he said.
To prepare for the games, which are held from Feb 15 to March 3, Clark says hard work has been a focus.
“I’m down here almost all the time. I’m running every day. I think about it before bed all the time. It’s one of my main focuses now,” he said.
When stepping into the ring, Clark — a three-time provincial champion — says his defence is what makes him stand out.
“My defence is great, and we have really been able to step up my offence this year— I throw more punches. So, I think I have a great chance of winning,” he said.
His plan is to throw as many punches as he can.
“They aren’t going to hit me. My defence is too good,” he added.
Clark will have a familiar face with him in Red Deer. Bill Watson will be an assistant coach with Team BC.
“I’ve been working with Bill for seven years now, so I’m super comfortable with him,” said Clark.
This is the second time Watson will be one of the coaches for Team BC at the Winter Games. Previously he was a coach in 2011, the last time boxing was included in the games.
“It’s really a great honour to be selected again,” said Watson, who is a coach at Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club.
“Looking forward to this so much. For those that haven’t been there before it is really a big deal. You get the best athletes from all the winter sports in Canada competing. The track record of these athletes, the ones that have made it to the Olympics have all at one time or another gone through the Canada Winter Games, so it’s a huge stepping stone for the athletes.”
Watson said at the games, it’s not only about competing but the friendships and networking the athletes get to be involved in.
While at the games, Watson said he hopes to focus on the special experience and the atmosphere that is involved.
“With Dylan there, it’s special for me as well. Coaching my own boxer who has made it to that point is really special for our club here. Whether we medal or not, as long as he does his best there I will be more than happy,” he said.
Watson has been training with Clark since the boxer was 12 years old, and has had the unique opportunity to watch him grow as an athlete and a person.
“His success in boxing is a coaching dream come true,” added Watson, saying how proud he is of him.
“We are going there and hopefully we will come back with a medal, but extremely proud of him with what he has accomplished to this point, and I think there are bigger things to come after this.”
Clark said competing in Red Deer will be a highlight of his boxing career, and will be a great launching pad to compete in nationals and maybe even further one day.
When Clark was first introduced to boxing he said he never planned on being competitive.
“When I first started boxing I didn’t plan on getting punched in the face at all. I Just came out here for the workouts. It’s nice now. I had more of a natural ability over the kids when I was here, then I’ve adapted my aggression into real skills of boxing. It’s not just a fight anymore its skills,” he said.
While boxing is a passion for Clark, he said it has changed his life.
“I wasn’t a superstar before in any means, but it has brought me to the next level and I’m able to mentor the kids in the gym and the kids around the province that support me,” he said.