Amateur boxer prepares for Western Canada championships

By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Weekly

James Oliver (left) trains on the heavy bag with Sweet Science of Boxing Academy’s Corey Pye (right) for the 2015 Western Canadian Boxing Championships. PHOTO: Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Weekly

James Oliver (left) trains on the heavy bag with Sweet Science of Boxing Academy’s Corey Pye (right) for the 2015 Western Canadian Boxing Championships. PHOTO: Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Weekly

Doorman at the Podollan Inn by night. By day, aspiring amateur boxer at the Sweet Science of Boxing Academy (SSBA).

Say hello to James Oliver, who in a few weeks’ time, takes his first jab at a possible spot on the Canadian National Amateur Boxing team with competition at the 2015 Western Canadian Boxing Championships (WCBC) to be held November 20 to 22, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“I started boxing as soon as I graduated (Westwood Community High School),” said Oliver, 24. “I was inspired by my grandfather (Jim Oliver) who was a Golden Gloves champion when he boxed.

“I remember as a kid, I would sit on the couch with him and watch the fights on television and he would be giving me tips on how to move and how to hit,” said Oliver.

“I remember as a kid, I would sit on the couch with him and watch the fights on television and he would be giving me tips on how to move and how to hit.”

Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, or should we say jabs, Oliver has won Golden Gloves titles in both Saskatchewan and Alberta.

At six-foot-two and tipping the scales at 178-pounds, Oliver fights in the senior elite light heavyweight division but has moved up one weight class to the heavyweights for a few bouts.

His overall record to date is five wins and seven losses.

“My strong points are that I am really good with my straight shots… my jabs are probably my best weapon and body shots,” said James Oliver.

“When I first started training, the first year or so, it was on-and-off for me,” said Oliver, who played high school football for the Trappers. “But now for the last year-and-a-half, it has been six days-a-week. My strong points are that I am really good with my straight shots… my jabs are probably my best weapon and body shots. But I should start working more on angles and uppercuts. They are my two downfalls.”

As prep for the WCBC, Oliver will be part of the card for the Doug’s Place Senior Box Offs) to be held November 6, 2015 at Edmonton’s Ramada Convention Center.

“I just love the adrenaline rush I get when I step into the ring and it is a great way to keep fit and stay out of trouble. My goal is to go professional and make it my life. If I get to 50 amateur fights or fight on our Olympic team, then I will go pro after that.”

Also heading to Vancouver is Blake McPhee, 2014 Alberta provincial champion in the 140-pound class with a 2014 Diamond Belt from Slave Lake also on the mantle.

Cory Pye, head coach, trainer and owner of SSBA, which is located adjacent to the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre, feels both fighters will do well at the upcoming WCBC.

“James (Oliver) is a tall kid, so he can use his reach very well and likes to pressure the other fighters,” said Pye, 40, who opened the SSBA three years ago and has 15 years coaching experience in the sport,” Cory Pye.

“James (Oliver) is a tall kid, so he can use his reach very well and likes to pressure the other fighters,” said Pye, 40, who opened the SSBA three years ago and has 15 years coaching experience in the sport.”

Pye currently has 10 registered ammeters boxers at SSBA with “eight active.” He and also provides daily adult and youth classes. He has plans to host their inaugural amateur boxing card in April or May 2016.

– Connect Weekly –