You can add the name of another local turning heads in the sport of boxing, and yes, that would be both figuratively and literally.
In action in West Kelowna as part of the 10-fight amateur card Night of Action held at the West Bank Lions Centre, Parksville’s Duncan Wilson marked his amateur boxing debut with a third round technical knockout and earned Best Fight of the Night honours.
A former mixed martial arts fighter, Wilson, 26 and a Ballenas Secondary School grad, has been working with local trainer Richard Le Stage off and on going on two years now. He juggles training with his job as a superintendent on a gas pipeline project up in Fort St. John.
“He’s known as ‘Doing Damage’ or just ‘Damage — he’s been called both,” Le Stage said.
Wilson actually trained for the fight at an MMA club in Fort St. John and communicated with Le Stage over the phone. He had to fly in and out of Grand Prairie to make the event, where he joined Le Stage and fellow Oceanside up-and-comer Brandon Busby. Busby’s opponent backed out at the last minute, but he still got in an impressive exhibition bout.
Wilson fought hometown boy Nick Austin from Kelowna in Cruiserweight (190 lbs) action. Both have MMA backgrounds, and both were in the ring for their first amateur boxing match.
“Duncan’s a unique fighter for me ... of course my guys are always in the gym with me so, but Duncan’s a throwback,” said Le Stage, “he could have fought back in the ‘20s — he’s tough as nails and he comes to fight, and whatever Duncan has in the tank, he’ll give you 100 per cent, every time out.”
The way the story goes Wison heard Busby was scheduled to fight in Kelowna, so he asked Le Stage to get him in on the card.
“The other guy came to fight, which was good. You could see the other guy was very concerned with the shots he was being hit with, but he never backed down — was a good action fight. You had two guys who, maybe through some lack of complete training, weren’t throwing the most technical punches, but there were bad intentions on the shots.”
Wilson, said Le Stage, landed a big right hand in the dying seconds of the second round, “and that was the changing point of the fight — Duncan’s power and willingness to throw. “
Le Stage said in between the second and third round he told Wilson that being his opponent was a hometown fighter he’s “going to have to put him on his butt to win this fight, and this is why I say Duncan is more of an old school fighter. Duncan went out there to finish him and he finished him.”
Wilson was catching him with overhand rights and hooks and finished him off with a right uppercut early in the third round.
“It was a really good fight ... they were both trying to win — hard.”
As for Busby, 21, who fights as a Super Middleweight (168 lbs) he ended up fighting Josh Van Ryhn out of Richmond. Van Ryhn, the number-two-ranked Super Welterweight in B.C., is trained by Greg Harrison, a good friend and former stablemate of Le Stage back in the day when he was boxing.
Harrison brought Van Ryhn to Parksville two weeks ago and the they sparred at Le Stage’s gym in Coombs.
And while it was only an exhibition bout between two fighters in different weight classes, “we knew it was still going to be one of the best fights on the card, and it was. It was awesome — it was absolutely fantastic. Both guys worked hard, and Brandon is starting to get things,” said Le Stage.
“Brandon’s coming along very nicely. Every time he steps in the ring he gets better ... I would say if he continues at this pace, by May he’ll have a belt around his waist.”