Novice Irwin takes 75-kg title

Brenden Irwin is a true novice, having joined the Red Deer Boxing Club in January of this year.

Brenden Irwin is a true novice, having joined the Red Deer Boxing Club in January of this year.

He’s also a provincial champion after capturing the senior novice 75-kilogram title in the Alberta finals Sunday at the Westerner Agricentre.

Irwin scored a unanimous decision over Grant Huhn of Calgary in an entertaining, see-saw bout.

“He was the best guy I’ve fought so far, by quite a bit,” said Irwin, tossing accolades in the direction of his opponent. “The fight went back and forth quite a bit. I knew I had him for the first round and the second round was really close when he hit me with some good ones. But about halfway through the third (and final) round he started to slow a bit and I clocked him a few good ones.

“I felt that I had won, but it was a hard fight.”

Irwin’s only regret was that he was unable to put his opponent to sleep.

“I always try and finish my fights (with a knockout), but he (Huhn) is a good boxer,” said Irwin. “I remember finishing the first two fights that I had but I didn’t do that in either of my bouts this weekend.”

Irwin defeated Aaron Cooper of the Edmonton Cougar Boxing Club by unanimous decision in a provincial semifinal Saturday.

“He was a counter puncher, so he waits for you to throw,” said Irwin.

“I tried to bait him in but he would wait until I threw almost every time. It was difficult because he was on his heels most of the time and I couldn’t land enough power shots to actually knock him out when he was running the whole time. He was a good boxer, he just had a different style.”

Not so Huhn, who was only too willing to mix it up with Irwin.

“With this guy, we went back and forth with a lot of hard hits,” said the Red Deer boxer. “I tried to take him down and when I got the standing eight (count) on him I was about to land some good ones.”

Irwin, 30, joined the Red Deer Boxing Club as a hobby and now plans to stick with the sport for the foreseeable future.

“It’s something I’d like to keep up with, although there’s a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “I have to get better at learning to keep my hands up. I have to go up and down with head shots and body shots.”

Cam O’Connell was the lone open division Red Deer fighter to advance during the weekend, scoring a win in his only 60 kg bout Saturday to earn a spot on the provincial team for the Canadian championships in Newfoundland in January.

O’Connell defeated Jordan Ledger of Peace River — a member of the Cougar Boxing Club — by unanimous decision after forcing a pair of eight-counts in the second round and another in the third.

In other action Sunday involving Red Deer boxers, Brian Samuels lost to Ashton Lytunick of Edmonton Main Event by unanimous decision in the 69 kg senior open final, Steve Strampel lost to Nick Martin of Canmore by split decision in a heavyweight final. Clubmate Kaine Krause lost by decision in a junior bout Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chris Lafantaise, who is not with the Red Deer Club, stopped Andrew Simons of Drayton Valley in a heavyweight-plus exhibition Sunday.