By Lawrence Powell
Middleton boxer Cyrus Taylor is taking time away from his busy training schedule to speak to students at Islands Consolidated High School, Freeport, Long Island this week as part of their National Flag Day celebrations – something he considers an honour.
“Cyrus is very honoured and excited for the opportunity to speak to the students there,” said coach Bruce Harkness. “He will speak on what it is like to compete in a sport like amateur boxing at an elite level as well as his aspirations to compete for Canada on the international stage and, who knows, maybe the Olympics some day.”
Harkness, Pegasus Amateur Boxing Club head coach, describes Taylor as an unbelievably determined young athlete who has been training very hard for the up-coming Junior and Youth Championships in St. Hyacinthe, QC February 28 through March 3.
“He is right where I want him to be with his weight, we won’t have to sweat much off before weighing in and chance dehydration and a loss in strength on the morning of a bout, the less we have to take off the better,” said Harkness. “This is not like pro boxing where you might weigh in the day before a fight and have more than 24 hours to re-hydrate. Amateur boxers must weigh in the morning of the competition.”
Spars in Dartmouth
Taylor is as ready as he will ever be, said the coach. A few more trips to Dartmouth for some good sparring just to keep him sharp and on top of his game and he’s on his way.
“I’m not concerned about his physical conditioning as he is in terrific shape; it is his mental preparedness that we are focusing on now,” Harkness said. “No matter how skilful or fit a boxer is, it is not enough if he’s not mentally prepared. Boxing requires spiritual strength; many athletes underachieve because of the demons swimming around in their heads. We have had plenty of long talks on our trips to Dartmouth and we discuss many things, Cyrus and I have a special bond.”
Harkness said the plan is to leave very early on the morning of February 27, drive straight through and arrive late in the afternoon in St. Hyacinthe, that way Taylor can have a good night’s sleep before he has to weigh in early on February 28. The competition beings that evening.
“We won’t know when his first bout will be or against who until after the draw. The draw will be done between 10 a.m. and 12 pm on the 28th,” Harkness explained.
Harkness wants to thank all of Taylor’s sponsors and supporters.
“As anyone involved in amateur sport knows, fundraising is a pivotal part of doing what we love to do and trips such as this National Championship would not be possible without the support of our local communities,” he said. “So thank you.”
Contributing to Taylor’s success have been: Mid Valley ATV Club; Connell Chrysler; Fundy Ford; Rotary Club of Middleton; Anne Crowell’s Massage Therapy (Anne is a huge supporter of Cyrus); Holland Home and Leisure, Aylesford; Allen’s Home Building Centre; Pat and Tony Smith, Kingston; and Karen Mofford, Exit Realty.
Pegasus Amateur Boxing Club will be holding an open forum training session so anyone can come out and watch Taylor train.
Harkness said the club will accept a free will offering to help off set cost for the trip to Quebec. This will take place on February 18 at 2 p.m. at the club at the Fitness Experience Gym, 65 School St. Middleton.