GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Three athletes from Fivestar MMA were in Grande Prairie a week and a half ago, competing at the Alberta Boxing Provincial Championships.
17 year-old Ashley Rouble, 16 year-old Nick Young, and 15 year-old Brayden Sims all fought in sanctioned matches, with two of the three walking away with big wins.
On Saturday, Nick Young took on a tough opponent that was much bigger than he was. Despite that, Young dominated the fight, including knocking his opponent to a standing eight in the second round. Though his opponent got back up, Young won the tilt by unanimous decision to improve to a 3-0 boxing record.
“I was a little bit nervous going into this one, he was a couple inches taller than me and a couple pounds heavier,” said Young. “It was a good experience, my cardio wasn;t all there so it was actually a pretty tough fight for me,” adding that a lack of training over the Christmas holidays meant that he wasn’t as in shape as before previous fights. Moving forward, Young says that he’ll be trying to drop a weight class in order to face off against more even-matched opponents.
Ashley Rouble also fought on Saturday. Rouble, who already made the B.C. provincial team headed to Nationals in April was finally able to fight someone her own age. Rouble fought 17 year-old Maddie Swanson, who was 6-1 before the fight, and entered the ring as the #1 girl in Alberta. Swanson is also the daughter of former pro boxer Benny “The Jet” Swanson. According to Fivestar coach Justin Donally, Rouble kept to her gameplan and ended up winning all three rounds. Rouble also won the Best Novice Boxer award at the entire tournament. “This was the first opponent my age and size, and she hit the hardest too,” said Rouble. “I was more nervous going into this one than anything else before. Her style kind-of surprised me, it wasn’t anything that I’ve seen before. It took me a little bit to figure everything out, and then by the second round I was back in my groove and I won every round after that.”
Sims went into his first sanctioned fight on Sunday as the clear underdog. His opponent had won the championship on Saturday, and had also been a member of the Canadian National taekwondo team for the past few years. Sims on the other has only been back training with the gym for roughly four months, after taking an 18 month hiatus. Despite the difference in experience, Sims made it a close match, but ultimately lost by unanimous decision.
“We were super proud of him, and he was really proud of himself for hanging in there with that high a level kid and being able to put on a show,” said Fivestar coach Justin Donally. “In the third round he made it real close, he was gaining traction in the end. But just going in there to compete with him was a moral victory.”
“It was a tough fight. The kid had way more experience, but it was a close fight,”said Sims, adding that it was a big learning experience. “I’ve got some things to work on. Better cardio, more footwork, and keeping my hands up more.”
Though its going to be a quiet February, things will pick back up for the Fivestar athletes in the early Spring. Between five and eight boxers will be headed to the B.C. Golden Gloves tournament in Abbotsford on March 4th. The gym will be hosting an in-house kickboxing tournament on March 11th, before Rouble heads to train with the B.C. Provincial team in late March. The team will also be headed to Quesnel for another boxing event on March 25th, before Donally hosts his next event in Fort St. John on April 14th at the Pomeroy Sports Centre.