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Wark now 3-0

Boxer wins after months on the sidelines



Local amateur pugilist James Wark continued his undefeated streak at the Griffins Boxing Gym last Saturday, despite spending a few months on the sidelines.

Because of a leg injury he missed his third fight and then a provincial Silver Gloves tournament that his teammate Geoff Bate won.

Bate and Wark started their amateur boxing careers together in the fall and both were 2-0 after their first fights. Now Bate is 5-0, and was invited to move up from the amateur class to the open category, where he will battle older and more experienced boxers.

Wark took a step to even the score against an opponent from the Vancouver-based Lights Out Boxing Club, winning all three two-minute rounds to bring his record to 3-0.

According to coach Sasha Gier, Wark dropped down into a lighter weight class for the bout, losing around 10 pounds in the week before the fight. That's because both Wark and Bate sit in the low end of a heavier weight class where they give up height, weight and reach to most of their opponents.

However, fighting in a lower weight group has its disadvantages as well.

"It definitely weakened him," said Gier. "He didn't have enough time to rehydrate and in the third round I noticed his conditioning started going down, he had less energy."

Lighter boxers are generally faster, Gier explained, and Wark was pitted against a fast, skilled boxer with a mean straight right that caught the Whistler boxer a few times. At one point Gier thought Wark might go down, but he recovered quickly and threw a few combinations of his own to keep the point advantage over his opponent.

After the fight Gier and Wark decided to go back to the previous weight category, which is at the 160-pound range.

"I'd rather see him fighting in a category where he has the speed advantage and the heavier guys get tired faster," said Gier. "The third round he was fighting on pure heart."

Meanwhile Bate and Gier have made the decision to move up into the open class, even if it means shedding their amateur status and fighting tougher and more experienced opponents. However, it will give Bate the opportunity to box in the provincial Golden Gloves tournament, the highest level tournament in the province.

His first open bout is on Feb. 27 in Kelowna. Both boxers will take part in the Emerald gloves tournament in March.