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Prince Albert trio earn boxing gold at provincials

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Prince Albert trio earn boxing gold at provincials
Cole Ahenakew captured provincial gold in Regina over the weekend. --Facebook/Cole Ahenakew

It was a golden weekend for Cole Ahenakew, Luke Kalmakoff, and Lukas Tamayo.

The trio of Prince Albert fighters won big at provincials in Regina, with all three bringing home gold medals.

As the only three boxers from Prince Albert competing, coach Braddock Koch described it as a perfect weekend.

“To bring three fighters and come back home with three provincial champions was excellent,” Koch said. “I am so proud of these boys. They were so courageous.”

It was the 10th career bout for 24-year-old Ahenakew, who beat his opponent handily after three rounds to capture a much deserved gold medal. Koch says the training put in by Ahenakew leading up to the fight is what paid off the most in the end.

“These guys go all out for three rounds at three minutes each,” he said. “It’s a demanding sport and it requires demanding preparation. Cole’s bout was entertaining, it was tough, and you could just see the hard work all the way through. His opponent kept up with him for about two and a half rounds, and then couldn’t keep up anymore. The conditioning shows.

“Cole’s been boxing since he was around 14-years-old. I was pretty confident with him heading in. He’s just a dedicated guy. He runs 40 kilometres a week, he trains like a lion.”

Kalmakoff entered provincials ready for his ninth career bout. His boxing career has taken a different path from most. He would box for a couple of years, before spending a year or two away from the sport, then returning again. Koch said he was unsure how the 16 year old would perform at the high pressure stage.

“Luke had a breakout night,” he said. “He put everything together and won a provincial championship. There was a bit of a question mark, because he was almost starting all over again this year. I wasn’t sure how he would do, but I know he’s a tough kid. He put it all together. Everything that I’ve been telling him to do and help train him for, he put it all together and had a breakout night, and it was huge for him.”

Tamayo had arguably the toughest fight out of all three boxers. Koch described his opponent as a ‘beast’. The coach described Tamayo as courageous, and was beyond excited to see him win a gold medal.

“Lukas is just a brave kid, maybe too brave sometime,” Koch laughed. “He’s very courageous, and he fought a big guy. We’re really proud of him. There weren’t extra trophies handed out, but if there would’ve been, he would’ve gotten the most courageous boxer.”

Ahenakew, Kalmakoff, and Tamayo now turn their focus to their next fights, which will be on April 2, once again in Regina. The three have dinner cards scheduled for the one day event. The competition is ‘Battle for the Belt’.

“We’re building a great foundation, but the best is yet to come,” Koch added.

@kyle_kosowan•sports@paherald.sk.ca