By David F. Rooney
When Conner Null steps into the ring his field of vision narrows and the excited crowd disappears. All he sees is his opponent and all he feels is the fizz of adrenaline in his blood.
Believe it or not, this 15-year-old won silver at the Alberta Bronze Gloves tournament in Edmonton last weekend after starting out as a boxer just three months ago.
Ask him if he’s talented and he’ll just shrug. But he sure knows what happens when he steps into the ring.
“As soon as you step into the ring it’s just you and your opponent,” he said in an interview at the Revelstoke Boxing Club on Wednesday. “Your heart is pounding and you’re way more excited than nervous. You get tunnel vision and you focus only on your opponent. Time seems to slow down. The excitement is amazing.”
Null says this was his first tournament and he quite liked the result — a silver medal. He liked it enough that while he wants to do well academically he can dream about a boxing scholarship to help pay his way through college or university and if he proves to be good enough perhaps he’ll even get a shot at the national team.
Mitchell DeMone, the 17-year-old who gold at the same tournament, is a lot more taciturn than Null, but he too deeply enjoys the sport he has been working at for the past four years.
“What I like the most is that it’s an individual sport — you don;t have to rely on others, on a team,” the Grade 12 student said. “I’ll keep boxing and see where it takes me. It’s all about the sport. It’s all fun.”
For Revelstoke Boxing Club Coach and Manager Sam LeRose these two youths clearly demonstrate the calibre of athlete that the club produces.
Now all he needs is a physician willing to attend boxing tournaments.
“We’d love to hold a tournament,” LeRose said. “But we can’t do it without a doctor.”