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Boxer Bate now 3-0

Whistler fighter going to Cuba to train



Just one week after his second sanctioned bout Whistler's Geoff Bate found himself in the ring once again, this time at a New Westminster boxing gym.

His opponent was a hard hitter, something Bate learned early on, but in all other areas the Whistler fighter had an advantage.

"This guy was the hardest hitter I've fought, he landed a couple of good ones on me and then after that I kept my hands up and made sure I kept moving - and to watch out for his big overhand right," said Bate. "That was the only thing, he was brawling pretty much instead of boxing, which is a lot more methodical.

"My cardio was better after the first round, he was breathing pretty hard," Bate added.

Bate went into the corner after the first round believing he had the edge, but was informed that the round had been scored to his opponent by two points.

"That really put the pressure on to get out and throw more punches and score more points."

Bate's coach, Sasha Gier, said it's not unusual for a fighter to start a career with a 3-0 record, but that Saturday's win was a testament to how much work Bate and James Wark - Gier's other student, who missed Saturday to rest up a hamstring injury - have put into the sport, both as his students and with previous coaches.

"They're serious guys, they're really working hard and it shows," said Gier. "We'll spend more time on conditioning, which is already good, but also on some of the technical things."

His boxers are now taking a break from fighting for the holidays, although a break from fighting means more time spent training and sparring.

Bate himself is going to Cuba with a group of young boxers from the Griffin's Boxing Club in North Vancouver. In Cuba they'll train for a week in one of the oldest open air gyms in that boxing-mad country. They will be training alongside future Olympic and professional boxers, and learning from coaches who are arguably among the best in the world.

"I'm just hoping to box with some really good Cuban fighters and learn everything I can," said Bate.

After that it's back to the gym to prepare for Boxing B.C.'s Silver Gloves tournament in mid-January, the second-highest ranked tournament in the province.

"I'll be fighting against guys with a lot more experience, but I hope to do well and place in the rankings," said Bate.

Tournament boxing is as much about endurance as it is about skill. Boxers fight two or more times a day as they advance through the ranks.

"I have no worries about cardio, I'll do a little more road work, some more running," said Bate. "The conditioning and training has to get a little harder to get to the next level. Training has always been the hard part, when you get to the actual fight it's pretty easy compared to the training.

"I'm having tonnes of fun, actually. I wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't having fun."

After next week Bate will be able to train at the newly formed Pemberton Boxing Club, which has been started by Kevin Murray - a former boxer who is bringing a Boxing B.C.-sanctioned ring to the community. The ring will be installed on Dec. 14 and programs will get underway immediately for all levels.

Bate is looking forward to training closer to home, and says several friends have already enrolled.

The club will run programs five days a week, then will open on Saturday mornings for three-hour drop-in sparring sessions. For more information or registration contact 604-902-5104.



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