By Lawrence Powell
Middleton boxer Cyrus Taylor brought home gold from boxing’s national championships in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec last week, but Monday evening he was back at the Fitness Experience working out like nothing had happened.
“It’s so surreal, I don’t have the words to describe how good I feel,” said coach Harkness. “And I know Cyrus feels the same way. On the drive back from Quebec Cyrus was saying that he had to keep pinching himself to realize it is not a dream.”
Harkness said he doesn’t know of any other athlete that deserves this more than Taylor.
“He’s worked so hard,” said Harkness. “Losing in the final last year at the Canada Games and at the 2010 national championships, winning it all in 2012 is just that much sweeter, incredible accomplishment.”
But it depends how you look at it. Taylor won silver nationally in 2010 and silver at the Canada Games in Halifax in 2011.
Taylor arrived in St Hyacinthe late in the afternoon last Monday in time to weigh in on Tuesday morning, and then wait for the draw which was done at noon. There were four boxers in the youth male 81-kg division with Taylor drawing Kevin Ercolano of Quebec for his first bout on Thursday evening.
Taylor dominated the fight from start to finish connecting with heavy body shots that Ercolano did not like at all, said Harkness. “Cyrus backed him up the whole fight, winning 16-7,” said Harkness.
Kevin Ercolano is a two-time national champion.
Max Rizzi, the 2011 national champion from Orangeville, Ontario was victorious over Daniel Lambert from BC in the very next bout to set up the final.
“Cyrus and I watched this fight with great interest as we knew Cyrus had to fight the winner in the final,” said Harkness. “Rizzi is taller than Cyrus with a good left jab and excellent footwork. Cyrus would have to over-power him and back him up, not let him establish his jab and run.”
Harkness said Friday was brutal, trying to control the nervous energy. “I know Cyrus was feeling the same but I didn’t say anything to him. I gave him lots of room to be alone and focus on the task at hand in the afternoon. Cyrus had a good meal of spaghetti around 4 p.m.; he would probably not fight until 9 p.m.”
Harkness said at fight time and Taylor knew what he had to do and again dominated the fight from the opening bell to the end, controlling the tempo, landing good body shots, and backing Rizzi up so that he could not utilize his jab and fast feet. Taylor won the fight 12-6 and the gold was his.
“Oh what a feeling,” said Harkness. “After the decision was made Cyrus leapt into my arms. It was awesome. I can’t describe it.”
Other medalist for Nova Scotia are;
Gold – Wyatt Sanford (Citadel), Bianca Quinn, Ryan Dillman (Truro),
Silver – Ryan Sanford (Citadel), Raheem Downey, Jason Downey, and Jenna Bernard (Membertou)
Bronze – Taylor Ross (Sydney)
What’s next for Taylor?
“With this National Championship will bring some opportunities for Cyrus,” said Harkness. “I spoke with Daniel Trapanier (Boxing Canada) this afternoon (Monday) about what they are planning for Cyrus in the next year. The Youth World Championships are in Bangkok Tialand in October. Mr Trapanier told me there will be a dual match competition in July and a training camp after that to evaluate what boxers they will take to the Youth Worlds.”
As far as the dual match is concerned, Trapanier is in negotiations with three different countries at the moment.
“As soon as I have some information I will make in public,” said Harkness.
“In the mean time I will sit down with Adam Burns (strength and conditioning coach),” said Harkness. “Adam worked with Cyrus gearing up to this year’s nationals and thinks a great deal of Cyrus.”