Tyler Chambers might have been the new kid on the block, but he sure looked good against a more experience opponent.
Matt Hellyar and Chambers faced off during Boxing at the Legion’s main event at the Cloverdale Legion Branch #6. The two opponents were supposed to face each other during the Cloverdale Legion’s last amateur boxing event in May. A car accident prevented Hellyar from making it.
This time, there was nothing impeding the fight.
When the two boxers stepped into the ring, months of suspense culminated in less than two minutes. What Chambers lacked in experience, he made up for with his fists.
Before the conclusion of the first round, Chambers delivered a blow that brought Hellyar to his knees. He couldn’t get up before the referee counted to ten. Just like that, the fight was over by knockout.
“It was fun,” said Chambers with a smile after the fight. “It was great to get the knockout.”
Chambers was a late bloomer in amateur boxing, as he just completed his first non-exhibition amateur fight earlier this year at 33-years-old. Before that, Chambers played in the BCHL and QMJHL.
“My goal is to fight in the provincials before I get too old for this,” chuckled Chambers.
Nine other fights took place before Chambers versus Hellyar. The most exciting fight according to patrons was the match between Connor Rankin and Ely Martinez. Rankin came all the way down from Cranbrook for the fight. He made the most of his trip by winning the close matchup.
The event has drawn in good crowds since the Cloverdale Legion started hosting the event five years ago, in memory of local boxing icon Jim Gallagher. Both his wife, Sylvia and his son Kerry were there to witness the bouts.
Can Boxing Spur Outside Interest for the Legion?
There were about 300 people on-hand to witness the sixth boxing event at the Cloverdale Legion. The Cloverdale Legion’s boxing events have continuously drawn good crowds, which is why a second annual event was added to their schedule. Organizers of the event are hoping that their recent success will lead to expansion in the future.
“We’re hoping that the Legion is going to pick this up throughout B.C.,” said Event Organizer Ralph Robson.
The Cloverdale Legion Branch #6 was nearly full to capacity on Sunday. The hope is that the popularity of this event will spread to other branches in the province.
Part of the idea behind expansion is that the Legion is continuously looking for new members.
“What the Legion wants is young blood, but they have to be able to respect what the Legion stands for,” said Robson. “Thats a huge thing. They have to respect that people died fighting for this country.”
The Legion has struggled in recent years to attract more members, which has led to local closures. Just two years ago, the Legion in Langley closed it’s doors after operating for nearly 70 years.
Since the younger demographic tends to forego the Legion, executive members will argue that their could be a negative impact on the community moving forward.
“We prioritize involvement in the community,” said Cloverdale Legion Branch #6 Second Vice President Ron Sveinson. “From meat draw, to poppy sales, to events like this, we’re always finding ways to get involved.”
In the last five years, the Cloverdale Legion Branch #6 has donated more than $500,000 to various organizations throughout the Lower Mainland. Homeless shelters, food banks, hospitals and students have all been beneficiaries of the Legion’s donations.
“Everything we do goes back to supporting our community,” said Sveinson. “I’m really proud of it.
These boxing events at the Legion are another attempt to be progressive in order to attract new members. By attracting new members, the Legion is adamant that the community will reap the rewards through donations.
The next boxing event at the Cloverdale Legion will be the sixth annual Jim Gallagher Memorial Amateur Boxing Show will take place on March 18th, 2018.