Twenty-eight amateur fighters have been getting up early almost every morning for eight weeks to train at Studio 4 Athletics for an upcoming charity boxing match.
The seventh annual Fight 4 The Cause, taking place on Dec. 1, is the largest event hosted by the Victoria Conference Centre every year, and will present a gala event with live fights, gourmet food and fundraising opportunities for four local charities: the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, Bridges for Women, the Brazilian Cultural Foundation, and Esquimalt Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation.
Last year alone the fight raised more than $50,000, thanks to the efforts of the trainers, fighters, organizers and performers involved.
“Fight 4 The Cause is such a fusion of such different elements, and of people just putting themselves out there,” said Darcy Dommett, Studio 4 Athletics co-owner and Fight 4 The Cause producer. “I think for a lot of contenders they have something beyond just their own experience; they know that doing this is gonna result in helping others.”
Most fighters have little-to-no experience, and are divided into two teams – the Blue Bombers and the Red Devils – matched up with competitors of similar size and experience.
“I think maybe what it looked like versus how it actually is is a bit of a shock, but they’re all adapting,” Dommett said.
For Chelsey Foster, who is fighting for the Blue Bombers, participating in the fight has been on her list for years, so she was happy to sign up when she heard there was a space.
“It’s an adventure, it’s once in a lifetime, ” Foster said, adding that as the big day approaches she’s met with conflicting emotions.
“I feel like I’m half ready for it to be over because it’s so painful. Waking up that early and doing this level of activity is so painful and tiring,” she said. “At the same time, I’m also kind of sad that it’ll be over soon, I guess because it’s actually brought a lot of meaning to my life because I’m really dedicated to it.”
Cody Fitzsimmons, fighting for the Red Devils, has played high-level baseball and soccer, but never any contact sports. He said balancing out training twice a day with his 18-month old child and his full-time job has not been easy, but he’s happy he’s doing it.
“It’s been totally worth it,” he said. “If you can have the time and will to do it, it’s a great journey, it’s good for the body, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and you get really fit doing it.”
Matt Ramussen competed in Fight 4 The Cause in 2016, and helped train fighters last year, but is ready to compete once again this year in one of the higher-experience rounds.
“I like to see people that have never been in the ring before accomplish their goals. It’s obviously a big task at hand to pop in the ring in front of 1,600 people in your undies and potentially get knocked out in front of your friends and family so it’s a big risk, but also a big reward if you complete it,” Ramussen said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
People can still pledge fighters, and tickets can still be purchased online. Full gala entrance and three-course meal costs $200 each, and general admission tickets cost $60.
For more information or to make a donation, you can visit fight4thecause.ca.
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