The Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club took home a couple of awards at the Boxing BC 2019 Provincial Championships.
Bill Watson was awarded “Coach of the Year” and Nike Blackmore received “Best Youth Male Boxer” for 2018.
“It was a great feeling. It’s not something I’ve done singlehandedly it’s not a solo effort, I’ve got a great bunch of coaches here that support me, and a great group of athletes,” Watson said adding he shares the honour with coach Tom White who also trains and coaches the boxers at the club.
“Half of that award is his, he does a lot for us,” he said.
Watson has been coaching in Cranbrook for more than 20 years, and this is the second time he has been named coach of the year.
“I’m surrounded by some great coaches and some great athletes who all contribute … the more time you put into this the greater the success is,” he said.
Finding out he had won the award, Watson said all he could think was “why me?”
“Then I look across the room, and there it is right there looking me in the eye, there’s one of the reasons why. We have a Canadian Champion right here in Cranbrook,” he said while looking at Blackmore, also noting the club came back with three provincial champions this weekend.
While 2018 was a busy year, he said a highlight for him as a coach was with Blackmore winning the 2018 Youth Canadian Championships.
“Definitely the highlight of my boxing career, especially my coaching career. It was right up there,” he said.
Challenges arise from everything, and for Watson, it was the unknown.
“Anytime you go into competition with your boxers there’s always a challenge. In some cases the challenge is unknown because when you enter these big tournaments you don’t know who else is going to be there as far as your competition,” he explained.
Watson’s coaching philosophy has revolved around hard work, and that’s something that will be continued into 2019.
“We have three (boxers) that will be attending the provincial team training camp in March, and then three of them are off to the Canadian Championships in Langford, B.C. Definitely looking forward to that.
“Also, I can’t forget we may have one athlete representing Team BC at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, and I’m also a coach of the provincial team as well,” he said.
Eighteen-year-old Blackmore received some hardware as well and won youth male boxer, he said it didn’t really come to a surprise for him.
“I kind of figured I’d get it because I was the most successful boxer in the province for my age,” he said.
The Canadian champion has been boxing for more than two years and said his success couldn’t have happened without his coaches.
“Tom and Bill, they are really good and follow my boxing needs and help me out. I’d have to contribute most of that to them – they are people who care,” he said.
For Blackmore, his 2018 highlight was just winning the Youth Canadian Championship, but 2019 has a lot to offer him as well.
“Just need to keep up the good habits my coaches have set for me and I’ll be good in 2019,” he said.
The team at the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club are going into the new year with pride and hard work while they look forward to another successful year.