Langley realtor Ali Owainati took up boxing when he was 15, at the suggestion of his mother, who thought it would be character-building.
“It does,” Owainati commented, remembering how he came to love the sport.
But as an adult, working seven-day weeks, he didn’t have enough time for boxing.
Or so he thought, until his wife convinced him that lacing up his gloves again would be a good way to reduce stress and improve his health.
In just over a year, the now 36-year-old Owainati has gone from 210 lbs. to 165 lbs. and rekindled his love of what is sometimes referred to as the “sweet science.”
Juggling the demands of career, family, and sport are challenging, but worth it, Owainati believes.
“One has to prioritize,” Owainati explained.
“One has to make time for passion.”
On Feb. 22, Owainati, who fights as an amateur light middle-weight out of the Port Kells Boxing Club, will be a featured fighter on the card of the annual Jim Gallagher memorial boxing tournament at the Cloverdale Legion.
The annual event is a joint venture between the Legion and the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association.
Event organizer Ralph Robson said the majority of funds raised go to support junior boxers with things like travel expenses.
“Last year was a record breaking year, financially, with over $6,000 being donated to amateur boxing,” Robson said.
Port Kells Boxing Club coach Al Harper is lining up 12 bouts that will feature pugilists from all over B.C. but won’t be able to firm up the card until after the provincial championships, which are set for Feb. 14-16 at the World Champion Boxing Club in Richmond.
Named after boxing supporter Jim Gallagher, who passed away from Parkinson’s disease in 2012, it features the Jim Gallagher Memorial Award, which is presented to a person who dedicates their time to build up the sport of amateur boxing in B.C.
Harper was last year’s winner.
Admission to the Cloverdale Legion, located at 17567-57th Ave., is $20 and children 12-and-under get in free.
Doors will open at 6 p.m., with the fights running from 7-10 p.m.
– with files from Black Press Media