It has been about a year and a half since the first time OSN visited West Eugene Boxing Club. Our contact started with Coach Myron and Coach Jake. Both “as with most coaches across the area” were gracious enough to not only give us the time of the day but invite us to their space to learn about them.
As I walked into their gym in Eugene, Ore. I could see the punching bags hanging off the ceiling. Three young men were taking instructions from a coach on one side and to the left a female boxer checking in with another as she watched the three youngsters punch away.
Coach Myron and Jake paused for a minute and introduced themselves. The boxers introduced themselves as well and got back to working with the bag. As they trained I asked Coach Myron how long the club been around for. He replied by stating that West Eugene Boxing opened its doors back on September 11th in 1973.
Coach Myron, a founder not only works as hard as he did back then, but even more. With the dynamics of the sport and support for boxing he has managed to maintain a presence in the boxing family in and out of Eugene, Ore. as well.
OSN asked him how has the experience been and he responded by saying that as with anything there have been ups and downs, some changes in locations, changing in support but the work never slows down and they are currently working on acquiring their 503c status to help their club reach their goals.
It is obvious to see that regardless of all of the work it has required to make it for 44 years, Coach Myron has not given up. In fact, he continues to partner with boxers, athletes, supporters and even boxing officials such as USA Boxing Registration Chairman Rory Baarstad to make sure Eugene Oregon has a place where boxing is not only there, but provides a quality program for boxers of all ages to train and fight.
Another familiar face in the boxing arena is Coach Jake Williams to whom we also had the pleasure of talking to. Coach Myron and Jake along with others put numerous hours of volunteering to lead boxers every day. Coach Jake, a parent as well, makes sure he finds the time and resources to support the club.
In addition to providing a forum to box, West Eugene Boxing Club strongly believes in providing an opportunity for youth to succeed. They work hard every day to make sure their athletes stick to the disciplines required for boxing in and outside of the gym. All with the goal of not only building quality boxers, but exemplary and successful community members as well.
In our first meeting a year ago, both coaches talked about the work and funding needed to support their members’ aspirations immediate and long term. Both were working on spreading the word to increase membership as well as fundraising activities. Having been following them closely for the past year and half or so, OSN has personally witnessed the hard work they have put in.
We have rooted for them as they have made it to a tournament to fight and sometimes have seen their hardships when they cannot participate due to challenges in logistics. But regardless of the few setbacks both coaches always vow to continue on and move forward to take their boxers to the next fight and we have witnessed their hard work paying off.
For about two months I noticed a somewhat passive activity in their activities and site. However, while this could’ve been a sign of slow times, it was far from that. On January 26, 2017 the announcement popped up in the news feed. After 20 years, West Eugene Boxing had finally gotten the chance to host a boxing show in their own turf once more. It is important to note that most clubs host events throughout the year if not, at least and annual one. It goes without saying that hearing about them “coming back” was exciting to say the least.
West Eugene Boxing partnered with International Fitness in Eugene to provide a new location to their team. I could tell this was a way to tell the community: Look how far we have come. Coaches, boxers, families and supporters came together and made the show come alive.
As days went by, the list of sponsorships grew, and the participant’s list disclosed. There would be representation from across the state from Portland to Medford and surroundings as well. The hype was in the air! I knew I had to be part of this and drove the two hours to Eugene to watch it all unfold before my eyes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being gone for 20 years is a long time for anyone in any type of field, sport or industry. This could either be a hit or a flop. I can only imagine the pressure on Coach Myron as he led his club through the experience of this comeback.
However, West Eugene Boxing Club was back! The call had been made and as expected the boxing family came out to show its support. The event was impressive. The facility was not only spacious but perfect from every point. Logistics were on spot. Two friendly faces welcomed us to the event as you purchased an entry pass. And to no surprise toward the end I came to find out one of them was Coach Myron’s daughter. I say to no surprise because boxing isn’t always about the coach or the boxer, it is about families doing each their part and this was no exception to the tradition that sets this sport apart.
The ring was in the center of the room. To the sides, the boxers getting ready to go. Coaches wrapping up boxers’ hands, others putting their gloves on. Some were warming up or sparring with someone as well.
As I looked around I noticed a young man dressed in black. He was all smiles and without a doubt working the room. As I ran into him I recognized who he was. It was none other than Kevin Evans from West Eugene Boxing Club, the host! It was truly exciting to see him and talk to him, as he is one of those boys that I saw training a year and a half ago. I remember speaking to him and while polite and responsive he was a bit shy. However, this time it was a whole different deal. Kevin was not only there to fight, but he was the main event of the night.
OSN: Kevin, how are you? Are you ready for tonight?
Kevin: Yes, I am! I am excited!
OSN: So, tell me a little bit about what you’ve done since the last time we talked.
Kevin: I’ve been training and concentrating on my diet and workouts.
OSN: Sounds good. I must admit, you seem very different than last time we talked. I see an influx of confidence; did something change along the road?
Kevin: Well, thank you. Yes, I think some things have changed. I have been working really hard. I feel more confident with my moves.
OSN: Good, so do we get to see some of that tonight?
Kevin: Yes, you will. You will see more punches, more contact, a little more of speed as well.
OSN: Have you ever fought with the contender you have tonight?
Kevin: No, I have not. But I do know of him and he is a great guy. It is not going to be an easy fight.
OSN: What can we expect from you during tonight’s fight?
Kevin: Stronger and better combinations, precise single touch.
OSN: Sounds like we are in for a good fight!
Kevin: Yes, you are!
OSN: Anything else you’d like to say?
Kevin: I want to thank my coaches for everything they do. They work very hard and I want to say thank you to them.
The night went on and with a very impressive series of fights. We even got a chance to see another West Eugene Boxing pupil, Damarion Ingram who put on an amazing fight. Of course, one of the highlights of the night for me was watching the female’s match between Desirae Niko form Victory Club taking the win versus Hannah Johnson of West Portland Club.
The night went along very quick. The more fights we watched, the more intense the matches got. As the announcer called the Main Event out loud we saw both boxers get in the ring. Kevin Evans and Isaac Huesca were ready to fight. The bell rang and both boxers were let loose in the ring as the audience cheered for their guy. It was easy to see Kevin was at home as you heard the crowd screaming his name out loud. However, that did not intimidate Huesca who responded to every punch Kevin threw with the same determination and quality the host had.
Kevin had told us we would see more experience and training while on the ring and he did not lie. His movements were on spot! You could see his technique was at another level and the punches were landing as he planned at almost every strike. The crowd was going nuts, the coaches in their corners trying to direct without interrupting the natural rhythm of the fight.
Both boxers were at their high. You could tell this was the main event of the night. As the last bell rang the rush could be felt across the room. Both fighters shook hands as the referee patiently waited with them in the center of the ring for the officials to call the fight. It was a win for Kevin Evans and the crowd went wild!
The hard work could be seen in every drop of sweat falling off his face as he walked around the ring with a smile. But one of the most emotional moments of the night was when he came off the ring and walked toward his mother, who was ready with open arms. The embrace was strong; I could see a more mature young boxer and a proud mother holding her pride and joy tight.
Kevin Evans without a doubt deserves credit for the recent successes of West Eugene Boxing. A club that has been working with youth and adults for 20 years. Never stopping, never giving up. Always there for those who want to box and join a community that is non-stop. Non-stop working to bring the wins home, regardless of roadblocks and waving the ups and downs.
We can tell said fight was just part of the starting point. There is much more of him for us to see. We thank West Eugene Boxing for introducing us to Kevin, but more important for keeping the sport in the area alive. If you’d like more information on the club or are interested in giving a donation you can find them on Facebook @westeugeneboxing. We wish them all good luck in their future endeavors and special thank you notes to their coaches Myron and Jake who are always welcoming of yours truly with OSN.