From veterans with as many as 40 bouts to their credit, to those stepping into the ring for the very first time, the Sudbury contingent shared a common goal competing at the 2017 Silver Gloves last weekend: learn from each and every opponent they would face.
Thirty-six-year -old Jessica Brugess has followed that advice for a few years now, emerging as a silver medal winner at the Toronto competition.
"I can see a lot more in the ring now," said Brugess, who beat Michelle Canero (Toronto) in a unanimous verdict and then lost a split decision to Justine Honsinger of Sarnia.
"Back then, I was pretty much just going on heart and brute force, kind of hoping the rest of it would fall together. I'm better able to strategize now, my distance is better, my timing is better, all because of the work I have been doing with (coach) Gord (Apolloni) and my team."
One of six fighters representing the Top Glove Boxing Academy returning to Sudbury with medals, Brugess displays much more confidence, a clear understanding of where she wants to go and how she needs to get there.
"I still have the ultimate goal of the 2020 Olympics, but I am focusing a little closer to home," said Brugess. "I'm finally understanding the concept of one fight at a time. I am more strategic, or as Gord might say, I am making things happen versus waiting for things to happen, but not necessarily just rushing into the fight."
Capturing gold for Top Glove were the tandem of Brayden Henri, who took a unanimous decision over Graham Peckham of Scarborough, and Caleb Gregory, with a split decision over Chris Abate from Bluewater.
Meanwhile, Valley East Boxing Club 66 kg representative Brett Huard keeps steadily moving up the ranks. Now 16 years of age, Huard duplicated his first place finish at the Bronze Glove meet a few months back with another top end placement at the Silver Gloves.
Huard won a 3-0 decision over Mason Nash from Inside the Ropes Boxing in Guelph, and followed that up with a 2-1 triumph over Robert Serrano of Ajax the next day.
Joining Brugess in the silver medal grouping was Daniel Schmidt of Top Glove (loss to Jack McEvoy of Clancy's Boxing Academy in North York), while teammates Bruno Desrochers and Matt Cooper both earned bronze medals.
The sole remaining VEBC entry, 21-year-old Mason Sivret (75 kg), entered the ring for the first time in his career, opposite Daniel Deflorimonte of Dewith Frazer Boxing and Fitness in Mississauga.
A loss in the inaugural fight for the newcomer did little to dampen the spirits of his coach, Peter Yannacoureas.
"He gained a lot of experience, just from observing some of the best boxers in Ontario perform in this tournament,” Yannacoureas said. “He is getting ready for the next one."