Hinton Boxing Club sends participants to sanctioned event for first time ever

Masha Scheele Photo
Caleb Dircks and Jace MacPhee spar at the Hinton Boxing Club

Masha Scheele

Caleb Dircks and Jace MacPhee are the first boxers from the Hinton Boxing Club that will compete in a sanctioned boxing event.

The two are heading to the Sub-Novice Tournament sanctioned by Boxing Alberta in Cochrane this November. While they both compete as adults, the club hopes to have youth from Hinton competing in the future.

“Just for this first competition [Dircks and MacPhee] were both ready because they trained all summer long. Neither of them has ever boxed in amateur boxing, it will be their first fight next month, and the first time the Hinton Boxing Club is actually going to a sanctioned event,” said Chris Murphy, coach at the Hinton Boxing Club.

Each boxer fights up to two times during the tournament, with a maximum one fight per day as per the rules for amateur boxing.

“It’s really important to make sure that the coaches are engaged, there are certain protocols in place right off the get-go with boxing Alberta and boxing Canada,” said Murphy.

Protocols include being in the same weight class, same age class, and experience level.

“When they have less than 10 fights, we closely monitor to make sure that they’re close in experience as well. That goes on even for experienced boxers. Their coaches are always responsible to make sure they’re matched up accordingly,” said Murphy.

Brand new boxers make up the entire tournament, creating a perfect venue to be introduced into the sport. 

Dircks and MacPhee both enjoy the sport and want to try competing, explained Murphy. 

“For anybody who is able to step into the ring, my hat’s off to them. It takes a lot of courage, a lot of training, a lot of hard work goes into it and not everybody can do that and not everybody should,” said Murphy.

While the club is excited to see some boxers progressing to the competitive stage, not every person that walks through the doors of the Hinton Boxing Club looks to compete against other boxers.

One of the competing boxers always wanted to compete, while the other was just there for fitness and after getting a taste of boxing he also wanted to give competitions a try, explained Murphy. Many of the boxers who come for classes are just there for fitness or being part of a team.

“For those who want to compete, we take it one step at a time and do it in a safe manner,” said Murphy.

Murphy began boxing at the age of 11 and went to his first competition in his teens. As an adult he’s enjoyed coaching in different communities while he moved around for work with the RCMP. Over the years, he watched how boxing benefitted youth and hopes to build on that in Hinton.

“Boxing is a sport where you don’t have to have a whole lot of funds. A pair of running shoes and we’ll figure out the rest to come down here,” said Murphy.

In youth and adults alike, Murphy has seen how boxing helps grow self confidence, self respect, self esteem, and team work. 

“It’s amazing to see that transition,” he said. “It’s good, it’s a sport that’s sort of in my blood. It’s been so many years and it’s nice to give back and see that.”

Soon after Murphy moved to Hinton in 2017, Sue Allen and Tom Lineham took over management at the boxing club to keep it alive. Murphy supported them as much as he could during that time as a coach.

“They took some coaching courses. The level one coaching course and we have several qualified instructors now,” said Murphy.

Allen and Lineham both coach boxing classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:30 – 8:30 pm for all ages 11 and up.

Coaches Alicia Humphries and Rhonda Duke coach ladies classes on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 – 7:30 pm and Monday and Wednesday 9 – 10 am. 

The club works with Kidsport and Jumpstart to offer help with membership fees for youth that require assistance. For any questions, head down to the club or send them a message on their Facebook page: Hinton Boxing Club.