3.6 C
Sunday, December 10, 2023

Santa Claus spreads holiday cheer at annual Parade

Over 10,000 Brantford and area residents gathered...

Honouring the heroes of the past on Remembrance Day

Thousands attended the annual Remembrance Day ceremony...

Boxing trainer solidifies reputation as a dedicated mentor

Community ProfileBoxing trainer solidifies reputation as a dedicated mentor

For the past 20 years, Brantford-based boxing trainer Jackie Armour’s legend has grown because of his passion and dedication to boxing as well as for being a mentor to many kids throughout the community. Armour notes, “It was [with the] Brantford Youth Boxing when I first started and now, I want to give back to the community. That’s basically what got me into it. I like helping kids out and watching their progress [and seeing them] make good decisions…I have seen a lot of kids in trouble, that come box [and] it really helps them. [It] builds character and [we] start seeing them get better marks. [I see] kids come in and that don’t really talk a lot and now they know they’re conversing with other kids. The confidence seems to build.”

The Black Eye Boxing Club was originally founded as Branford Youth Boxing and as Armour notes “I tried to tout it sort of like a cheaper [alternative] than say hockey or baseball [which] cost kids a lot of money. We tried to give back to the community that way.” Eventually, the club would grow to become a nationally recognized program. “Later in the years, [we] became pretty successful, turning out some pro fighters, and some really good amateurs.”

Jackie Armour stands beside Karl ‘the Razor’ Hess, who retired in 2022 and is one of the many boxers that has benefitted from Armour’s dedicated training and guidance. Photo courtesy Black Eye Boxing Club.

Armour, along with club mainstay Rob Rutherford, has continually developed programs that aim to help youth who are sometimes at a disadvantage. Armour explains, “There are some kids that aren’t as privileged [and aren’t able to] afford it. We charge [them] $50 a month, and a kid would get Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday [for training].” Armour, who runs a successful painting and wallpaper business for decades in Brantford, also has worked with the Brantford Collegiate Institute in the past as well as various organizations across the city, helping promote boxing and its benefits to youth. “We used to work with hockey and baseball teams and other teams that wanted…something different.” Armour then adds, “There’s no better cardio than…how a boxer trains.”  

However, Armour has worked tirelessly in helping promote boxing in the community by holding at least 2 events a year. “For about 10 to 12 years now…we rent the Brant Curling Club for all those events in Branford…[and] we’ve had numbers of up to 600 people for some of our shows.” Armour continues, “We’ve had some really good fighters in the past to headline the shows. Karl [Hess] has been one of them. He just recently retired but I [helped] him [get] a five-year contract with United Boxing Promotions [in 2017] which is [one of] the biggest fight promotions in Ontario. We’ve done many events with them…plus we had Winston ‘the Punisher’ Matthews [who] turned pro in 10 to 11 months…And Nikita Abbott who [now] helps coach [at] the club…and Mary Spencer, a three-time Canadian Olympian [who is] currently ranked fourth in the world.”

Jackie Armour at ringside with boxer-turned-coach Nikita Abbott. Armour has not only become a trainer to many boxers across Brantford but also a mentor. Photo courtesy Black Eye Boxing Club.

Armour also points to his work with other pros including Ricardo Brown, which has brought attention to the club. ‘He’s a professional. 6’7”, 255 pounds. He emigrated to Canada from Jamaica, and he lives here in Brantford. He’s been with another club in Toronto, but he comes up and works with me [and] I help him to get ready for his fights.”

Jackie Armour in a group photo with various youth boxers from the Black Eye Boxing Club. Armour has travelled extensively throughout Canada, the US and most recently to Scotland, in order for his boxers to compete at various events and tournaments. Photo courtesy Black Eye Boxing Club.

One of the secret ingredients to Armour’s success as a trainer has been his ability to work with anyone who comes into his club, however, it is imperative they have the right mindset. “I think anybody can make it with the right frame of mind that decides that [boxing] is the sport for them, and they want to give it 150%. So, make sure you have all the workouts and you’re doing your road work as well. And the sky’s the limit. Armour continues, “When I first started coaching, I thought it would be impossible to turn someone pro … [but you] just never know what some of the kids end up accomplishing in the sport.”

Jackie Armour with decorated boxer Adrian Rowe after a match in St. Catharines, Ontario. Photo courtesy Black Eye Boxing Club.

With Armour at the helm as well as its many dedicated volunteers, the Black Eye Boxing Club continues to grow because of its impact on the local community. “[It] has a good future, we just have to keep coaches involved [and] coming out. I’ve been lucky. Because with my business, I can make my own hours…[but] it’s going to take more than one to do what I’ve been able to do with it. And it’s not just me… there are seven to eight coaches [including my son] Andrew Armour who is a very good coach. And hopefully, he decides to keep going with it as well.” 

Jackie Armour with a youth boxer. Armour has made it a goal of his to help mentor many of his kids in order for them to make the right life choices. Photo courtesy Black Eye Boxing Club.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles