Prince Albert’s Ahenakew wins Best Elite Boxer award in Alberta

Cole Ahenakew was named Best Elite Boxer during the Bronze Gloves boxing tournament in Alberta. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Cole Ahenakew was confident before he went to Alberta to compete in the Alberta Bronze Gloves boxing tournament.

More than 120 fights took place, with the boxer from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation taking part in two of them. He won them both.

It wasn’t just any other tournament for him, either. It was his first ever. While it might seem intimidating to head to such a large event, Ahenakew took it in stride, and knew he would do well. The hard work paid off in both of his bouts, as he was recognized as the Best Elite Boxer of the tournament.

“It was a really good atmosphere,” Ahenakew said. “I always felt like I was going to win right from the start. I believed in myself before I even stepped into the ring. It was a great experience and there was a lot of adrenaline. I did pretty good with my nerves and I was always confident.”

Ahenakew credits his training for his success. He’s been focusing on cardio workouts to stay in shape for his fights, and he says that’s what made the difference for him.

“A lot of it’s about endurance,” he said. “In the later round, I noticed a lot of the other boxers were getting tired, and I was able to get that extra push. I train twice a week, and I also train on my own. I try to run 40 miles a week, and I play other sports, too, like hockey and soccer.”

Growing up, Ahenakew dealt with bullying in school. One day, a cousin asked him if he wanted to try out boxing. He says he got into the sport to help defend himself.

“That’s what brought me into boxing. My family wanted me to try it, too, so I said ‘okay, this will help me defend myself,’” he explained.

One of the big sports at Ahtahkakoop is hockey. Growing up, Ahenakew played hockey with the likes of Prince Albert Raider forward Dallyn Peekeekoot. He says having friendships with people like Peekeekoot is something that he values.

“It’s pretty inspirational to see him doing so well,” Ahenakew said. “It inspires me to push forward to what I want to get in boxing.”

Next up for Ahenakew is the provincial tournament in Regina next month. With the experience and success from his debut tournament, he says there was a lot learned heading into provincials.

“I’m going to be more aggressive and I have to work on my cardio a little bit more,” he said. “I also have to start quicker in my fights. I was kind of taking my time at the beginning. I got a lot of experience from that tournament, so that will make a big difference.

“I want to be provincial champion, and I want to make it to Nationals. My family is very proud of me.”

Ahenakew will have the full support of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation behind him when he heads to provincials. He says the support from his family as well as the rest of the community gives him even more confidence.

“They’re big supporters, and they help me a lot. It gives me a lot of motivation and inspiration to keep pushing for my dream. I’m going to do my best.”