Mission’s Brennen MacBlain has felt the agony of defeat, but on Saturday night he’s expecting a much different emotion.
McBlain is one of the marquee boxers at the 2017 Boxing BC Provincial Championships in Abbotsford on Friday and Saturday.
While he still may be a relative newcomer to the sport (he began training at the Abbotsford Mission Boxing Club in January), the sweet science is in his blood.
His father Mike MacBlain fought at both the amateur and professional levels, so the sport has always been in his crosshairs.
It wasn’t boxing that initially gripped Brennen though, it was hockey. He played in the Mission Minor Hockey Association for years, even earning a tryout with the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Ridge Meadows Flames, but the sport of boxing kept calling.
Brennen eventually moved on from hockey, and decided to give boxing a chance. His dad was there to lead him on the right path, and they hooked up with Dale Gatin from the AMBC.
“My dad told me that it’s a challenging sport but it’s a good sport to stay in shape,” he said. “I had very little boxing knowledge going into training but knew some basics. Dale and my dad really helped me out. I worked on my footwork, how to move my head in the ring, how to stay calm and combinations. I learned a lot from them.”
He said it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the sport, much like his father.
“I love the challenge of it,” he said. “I love being in the ring, it’s the one place where I can think. There’s no stress at all and I just love doing it.”
The 19-year-old quickly picked up his first amateur boxing match in March, just months after training. He lost that match via judge’s decision. In the months that followed, Brennen had two more matches, again losing by judge’s decision.
He said it didn’t feel good to lose, but that he’s learned from every setback in the ring.
“All three fights were pretty close,” he said. “It’s disappointing to lose but it makes me train harder. I’ve come more prepared from each loss and I’ve learned from all of them. I think my next fight I’ll win.”
Gatin, the head coach and owner of the AMBC, said Brennen has tremendous potential and he’s used the losses to become a better boxer.
“What this has done is really shown Brennen’s character,” he said. “Because each time he has come back to the gym the following week, even more determined. Without a doubt he is the hardest worker in our boxing gym.”
Brennen said he’s been training hard for Saturday’s big fight. He hits the gym nearly every day for several hours, and has worked a lot on his cardio. He even dropped 25 pounds and is now competing in the 133 to 141 pound division, as opposed to the 143 to 152 division he fought at in his three losses.
“I’m faster and more powerful at this weight,” he said.
The 2015 Hatzic Secondary grad said it’s a big weekend for him.
“It would mean a lot if I could get the win,” he said, of the fight which will be three two-minute rounds. “If I win, it lets me know that I do this well at this level. I’m very confident I’ll win on Saturday.”
Brennen also recommended that young boxers take advantage of the great facility and coaching that the AMBC offers.
“Just talk to Dale,” he said. “He’s an excellent coach and knows what he’s doing. Train hard and don’t be too nervous.”
The 2017 Boxing BC Provincial Championships runs on Friday and Saturday at the Quality Inn Conference Centre in Abbotsford. Preliminary fights occur on Friday night, with finals held on Saturday evening starting at 7 p.m.
Mission will also be represented at the event by boxers Ivan Boyd, Kabeer Poonia, Aarman Dhillion and Markus Heikkila.
Tickets for both days are available at the door. The money raised from the event will go towards travel expenses for local boxers when they have matches at out-of -town shows.
For more information on the event, visit facebook.com/missionboxing.