MacBlain punching for a win

Mission boxer one of several Fraser Valley athletes entering the ring

Mission's Brennen MacBlain

Mission’s Brennen MacBlain has felt the agony of defeat, but on Saturday night he’s expecting a much different emotion.

He is one of the marquee boxers at the 2017 Boxing BC Provincial Championships in Abbotsford on Friday and Saturday.

While he still may be a relative newcomer to the sport (he began training at the Abbotsford Mission Boxing Club in January), the sweet science is in his blood.

His father Mike MacBlain fought at both the amateur and professional levels, so the sport has always been in his crosshairs.

It wasn’t boxing that initially gripped Brennen, though; it was hockey. He played in the Mission Minor Hockey Association for years, even earning a tryout with the Pacific Junior Hockey League‘s Ridge Meadows Flames, but the sport of boxing kept calling.

Brennen eventually moved on from hockey, and decided to give boxing a chance. His dad was there to lead him on the right path, and they hooked up with Dale Gatin from the AMBC.

“I had very little boxing knowledge going into training but knew some basics,” he said. “Dale and my dad really helped me out. I worked on my footwork, how to move my head in the ring, how to stay calm and combinations. I learned a lot from them.”

He said it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the sport, much like his father.

“I love the challenge of it,” he said. “I love being in the ring. It’s the one place where I can think. There’s no stress at all and I just love doing it.”

The 19-year-old quickly picked up his first amateur boxing match in March, just months after training. He lost that match via judge’s decision. In the months that followed, Brennen had two more matches, again losing by judge’s decision.

He said it didn’t feel good to lose, but that he has learned from every setback in the ring.

“All three fights were pretty close,” he said. “It’s disappointing to lose but it makes me train harder. I’ve come more prepared from each loss and I’ve learned from all of them. I think my next fight I’ll win.”

Gatin, the head coach and owner of the AMBC, said Brennen has tremendous potential and he has used the losses to become a better boxer.

“What this has done is really shown Brennen’s character,” he said, “because each time he has come back to the gym the following week, even more determined. Without a doubt, he is the hardest worker in our boxing gym.”

Brennen said he has been training hard for Saturday’s big fight. He hits the gym nearly every day for several hours, and has worked a lot on his cardio. He even dropped 25 pounds and is now competing in the 133 to 141 pound division, as opposed to the 143 to 152 division he fought at in his three losses.

“I’m faster and more powerful at this weight,” he said.

The 2015 Hatzic Secondary grad said it’s a big weekend for him.

“It would mean a lot if I could get the win,” he said, of the fight which will be three two-minute rounds.

Abbotsford will also be represented at the event by boxers Jacob Racette, Nick Narain, Carson Dyck and Gabe Donauer.

Tickets for both days are available at the door. The money raised from the event will go towards travel expenses for local boxers when they have matches at out-of -town shows.

The event occurs at the Quality Inn in Abbotsford.

For more information on the event, visit facebook.com/missionboxing.

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