Five gold medals, three silver and three bronze would make for a very nice haul for Sudbury and area boxers competing at the 2017 Bronze Gloves in Toronto a few weeks back.
With local representation split almost right down the middle, fans of both the Valley East Boxing Club and Top Glove Boxing Academy had plenty to cheer about over the course of the three day event.
Taking to the ring for the first time, 24 year old Caleb Gregory (Top Glove) enjoyed immediate success, stopping Jacob Cohen (Bulldog Boxing Academy - Belleville) in the opening round of his inaugural bout, and subsequently claiming gold with a unanimous decision over Marcus Ambersley (Just Train It - Oakville) in the 75kg Elite Sub-Novice division.
"I was super nervous, but I did really well," Gregory said. "I guess I channelled my nervousness. I used it to help me focus. I just remember throwing straight punches, like what my coach (Gord Apolloni) told me to do. It worked out very well."
After going less than a full round in his first fight, Gregory admitted to being caught slightly off guard with the strategy that Ambersley employed as the duked it out on Saturday evening.
"His volume of punches was challenging, even though a lot of them were missing," he said. "But he was still walking at me and punching, so I had to back off a little. My game plan was to get in, throw a lot of punches, and then get out."
With seven fights now under his belt, Brett Huard is showing ever increasing signs of comfort within the squared circle. Unanimous decisions over both Gavin Sampey (Caged Dragon - Brantford) and Robert Serrano of Ajax provided the 16 year old with yet another gold medal, this one of the Bronze Glove variety.
"This time, I fought people with more experience, so the pace was different and you have to work more on your defence," said Huard. "The other fights were a little more brawling, but these ones were more like boxing."
As to the benefits of adding to a resume that no longer sees him considered a newcomer to the sport, even Huard acknowledged a different feeling with every passing bout.
"If you had asked me a few months ago, I probably would have said something different," he said.
"But now, I'm preparing really well, I don't get as nervous before I go in the ring. I'm getting used to it."
Aiden Souleramn Djama (Top Glove) is understandably anxious for that day to come, in his case.
Just six months into his boxing workouts, Djama would drop his first ever fight, stopped in the opening round by Gabriel Hochman of JCC Boxing in Vaughan.
"I was nervous," admitted the Lasalle Secondary grade 11 student.
"I think I learned I need to be more calm before the fight, not try and overthink it, but still think about it a little. I need to be relaxed and remember everything that he (Gord) taught me, put the things he showed me into the ring."
Still, it was not as thought his boxing ice-breaker was without positive takeaways.
"I came in with a plan to run at the guy and get the momentum," said Djama. "I followed my plan, but it didn't really work so well, but I was happy I stuck to my plan."
A similar story with Valley East 48 kg JC Novice Noah Snowden, who saw all three judges go with Matteo Lopez (Uptown Boxing - Barrie) as the winner, though he felt that he closed the gap significantly with every passing round.
"The first round, it went terrible," said Snowden. "I remember coming to the corner and saying that I didn't know if I could do this. My coach (Peter Yannecouras) sat me down, told me to keep going, to try and stick out my jab a lot and move around. The second round was a lot better."
Though a background in karate might seem to provide a nice transition to boxing, Snowden noted that it actually proves more confusing than anything else.
"It's different," he said. "In karate, you throw a lot of kicks. I had to switch because I had a karate stance and I was having trouble switching, but now it's getting better. You're supposed to keep both feet flat on the ground in boxing, but I have a tendancy to keep my front foot up, which allows you to move back and forth really fast in karate."
Following is a complete list of results for all local boxers who competed at the Bronze Gloves:
Gold Medal Winners
Caleb Gregory - 75 kg Elite Sub Novice (Top Glove)
Bruno Desrochers - 64 kg Elite Open (Top Glove)
Brett Huard - 66 kg JC Novice (Valley East)
Justin Labelle - 49 kg Youth Novice (Valley East)
Daniel Schmidt - 46 kg JB Novice (Top Glove)
Silver Medal Winners
Trish Teale - 69 kg Female Elite Novice (Top Glove)
Cain Savage - 36 kg JA Novice (Valley East)
Aiden Souleramn Djama - 69 kg Youth Sub Novice (Top Glove)
Bronze Medal Winners
Noah Snowden - 48 kg JC Novice (Valley East)
Nicholas Greasley - 60 kg Elite Novice (Top Glove)
Matin Abinah - 75 kg Elite Sub Novice (Valley East)
Both clubs are expected to be back in action within the next few weeks, with Top Glove hosting a card on Saturday, July 8 at the former Navy League Hall.