Joel Hardes (right) of Saskatoon, exchanges blows with boxer Adam Toto at the 13th annual R U Tuff Enuff boxing event on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Amateur boxers from across the province put the sweet science on display in the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club's R U Tuff Enuff event on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 25, The Herald previously reported that the Kinsmen Club had cancelled the popular event, citing the absence of a provincial athletics commission necessary to sanction a professional combat sports event.
On Jan. 3, the Kinsmen Club was able to obtain sanctioning for an amateur event, bringing R U Tuff Enuff back to life on Saturday.
Although the Kinsmen Club needed to implement a series of changes to make R U Tuff Enuff happen this year, event co-chair Blake Edwards said the 13th annual competition was a big success.
"The quality of the boxing was the best we've ever had," Edwards said following Saturday's 13-bout affair. "The boxers and the trainers were all very happy, Boxing Saskatchewan was very happy and the crowd, they were entertained."
A total of 22 boxers took to the ring on Saturday, with spectators acting as judges to declare the "best fighter" of each category by ballot.
In the under-19 category, Logan Goodwill of Regina was voted champion by the audience, while Madison Mathews, also of Regina, took home best female honours.
Boxing competitively for the first time, Prince Albert native Paul Bird was voted best fighter in the up to 180 lbs. division after defeating fellow local boxer Michael Alcrow by judge's decision.
While Saturday's R U Tuff Enuff event showcased several seasoned amateur boxing talents, many put on the gloves for the first time including Prince Albert heavyweight Miles Ermine, who decided to take up the sport when he reached a crossroads in his life.
"I was honestly thinking about changing my life around," Ermine explained of why he decided to enter R U Tuff Enuff. "I wanted to get into living a healthy lifestyle so I joined a boxing gym and I thought this would be a good opportunity to start off."
Making his boxing debut, Ermine went up against 270 lb. Prince Albert native Riley Longneck who came out victorious after officials put an end to the bout early in the first round.
Although disappointed with the official's decision, insisting he could have gone on, Ermine said he won't let the judge's call keep him down.
"I am going to keep going and next year I'll be back," Ermine said.
Turnout for the event was down slightly from last year's total attendance of 1,900.
Estimating attendance at this year's event to be about 1,000, Edwards said having the competition's date moved from its regular Jan 31. slot to May, played a major factor in the decrease.
"Certainly the numbers were down this year," Edwards said. "We battled lots of other fundraisers going on, we expected the crowd to be down."
Edwards added that he and the Kinsmen expect a return to normality as they hope to return R U Tuff Enuff to its original January date in 2015.
With a return to the January timeslot, Edwards explained that it will be easier to attract both boxers and fans.
"The end of January is certainly a better time for everybody," Edwards said. "We had a harder time attracting boxers (this year) because it's the end of the boxing season, so in January, we should be up to 20 fights next year."
The changes made to the event’s format in order to obtain sanctioning include lengthening fighting rounds from one to two minutes, limiting fighters to one fight and altering glove size of fighters from 16 to 10 ounces.
Also absent from this year's event, was the popular mixed martial arts component, which Edwards said he hopes will make its return to the next edition of the event.
"We have to work on a number of factors to do that," he said. "We certainly believe that we can add that component. I maintain that it's a good idea to have both and we'll look forward to adding it."
R U Tuff Enuff is the is the Kinsmen Club’s biggest annual fundraiser with all proceeds going to the club and Ringside Fitness.
13th annual R U Tuff Enuff results
Logan Goodwill defeats Brandon Roy (unanimous decision)
Devon Beauchesne defeats Vaugn Fauth (split decision)
Hervie Nbabonese defeats Mohamed Majien (decision)
Kate James defeats Melanie Regier (split decision)
Juan Trinidad defeats Mihael Wallwork (decision)
Madison Mathews defeats Roxanne Mercredi (unanimous decision)
Riley Longneck defeats Miles Ermine (TKO)
Ryley Hobbs defeats Tyrone Bishop (TKO)
Paul Bird defeats Michael Alcrow (decision)
Joel Hardes defeats Adam Toto (decision)