After a lengthy amount of planning, the first annual Will Skopyk Memorial boxing card will all come together on Saturday at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.
Skopyk, who was killed in a car crash in 2018 at just 17 years old, was a fighter with the Thomas Settee Boxing Club in Prince Albert. However, it was Braddock Koch from the Red Wolf Boxing Club in Prince Albert that reached out and took the next step to organize the memorial event.
“I decided to take it a step further by putting in an annual boxing event in Prince Albert, and this is the first one,” Koch said. “We decided to start small and hopefully build bigger as we go.”
Koch’s dedication to the sport of boxing in Prince Albert made it an easy choice to organize the memorial event. He said even though Skopyk wasn’t directly correlated with the Red Wolf Boxing Club, still wanted to show the relationship each boxing club has with each other.
“It’s for the sake of continuity,” Koch explained. “I wanted to show that there is a connection to each boxing club that has come from Prince Albert. Each boxing club that has arisen has come from the last. There’s continuity, we’re not all separate entities just doing our own thing. There is a connection between us. With that kind of theme in my mind, I thought what can I do to make the connection and show that we are similar. I thought what better way than to make this memorial card.”
Aside from doing it to show the relationship between the Prince Albert boxing clubs, Koch also set the card on a personal level. He knew Will and his parents, Rod and Linda, who jumped on board when Koch presented the idea of the memorial. He hopes that the event will have a true reflection of who Will was, who he says was just the average kid upon first glance.
“If you looked at Will Skopyk, you would see just an average kid,” Koch said. “He would blend in with a hundred other kids. But, put a pair of boxing gloves on him, and that kid was a lion. Fierce and focused, that’s the thing you got about him was how focused he was. He loved to box, he just loved it. It was like a switch went on when he stepped into the ring.
“I tell my boxers that they have the athletic ability, the athletic skills, the fitness training, but if you have the heart and desire of Will Skopyk, you’re bound to be successful at what we do. What we do is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. That’s what we hope to bring is that fierceness, that focus. This card is dedicated to Will, because even though he was a member of the Thomas Settee Boxing Club, we feel like he is one of the Wolves.”
People attending the card can look forward to six primary bouts and a few sparring sessions between various boxers. Fighters will be coming in from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the card starting at 7 p.m.