Coming off a strong debut in mixed martial arts, Saanich’s Lopez twins are going back to boxing this weekend as Pearkes Arena hosts “Resurrection,” a night of boxing and kickboxing.
Brothers Peter and Paul are not Saturday’s headliners – that distinction belongs to B.C. heavyweight champ Aaron Downey vs. national WBC champion Ken Huber – but the identical twins are Saanich’s biggest draw, as the 19-year-old Reynolds secondary grads bring an energetic style to the ring.
“MMA was always the goal we started with, but we just want to be opportunistic and take whatever comes,” said Peter, the elder brother by five minutes. “Whatever presents itself, we’re not overly picky. We just want to improve.”
The siblings live at home in the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood with their mom.
She isn’t exactly thrilled with their desire to fight but supports their decision, and will likely be there to watch on Saturday, Paul said.
Their mom isn’t exactly thrilled with their desire to fight but supports their decision, and will likely be there to watch on Saturday, Paul said.
Peter and Paul are currently the fourth- and sixth-ranked welterweights (147 pounds) amongst Combsport boxers in B.C. Paul is fighting the provincial champion, Leo Samerilli from Burnaby, while Peter is in a rematch with Scott Woodward, who aborted their last fight with a shoulder injury.
“They really want to fight in MMA but I believe it’s better they learn as much about the sweet science of striking with the 10 ounce gloves of boxing than the four oz. of MMA, where you’re more vulnerable when you make a mistake,” said Jason Heit, their coach.
Heit is constantly stressing the importance of learning as much as you can before going headlong into an amateur MMA career, including boxing. The twins are former Island high school wrestling champions from 2013 (they faced each other, reluctantly, in the gold medal final with Peter winning).
Heit is co-promoting the Resurrection event with former world kickboxing champ and fellow gym owner Stan Peterec, who rarely lets a season slip by without putting on an amateur even in Greater Victoria.
The twins have put a lot of faith in their Heit, owner of Island MMA, who represented Canada in boxing at the Pan Am Games before moving into MMA. In the final weeks leading up to Saturday the bros were completely focused on boxing but will return to training in the jiujitsu, grappling and wrestling aspects of mixed martial arts. But Heit isn’t keen on leading anyone into the ring who doesn’t have a well rounded plan.
“They work hard in school and in the gym, which is what I want to see. As long as they’re doing that I’ll help them go as far as they want,” Heit said.
Ideally, the twins would cut from their walking weight of just below 147 to the 135 lbs. class but they’ve had success so far, with Paul winning all three boxing matches he’s entered, while Peter is also undefeated with a win and a draw in his two fights. Back in November, the duo won their respective first MMA fights in the Battlefield Fight League promotion in Coquitlam.
The twins take one day off per week and spend the other day outside the gym running intervals at a local school, using a heart rate monitor to ensure they’re in the red zone.
“We want to fight and we don’t want to wait,” Paul said. “We’re here (at the gym) five days a week, we’re eager.”
Resurrection will also feature the a B.C. lightweight kickboxing title fight between Victoria athletes Tim Packer and Lucas Taylor, with Victoria’s Gee Pandher and Cody Sahlstrom also boxing, among others.
Doors are at 6 p.m. Saturday, with fights at 7. Tickets are available at selectyourtickets.com, phone at 250-220-7777, or at Sports Traders, Island MMA/Peterec’s Kickboxing and at Pearkes Arena.