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Former Maple Ridge boxer behind Legion donation to club

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 88 donates $500 to local boxing club
A cutout from a newspaper in 1981 shows Renie Siriani of the Haney Legion, Branch 48, presenting a cheque of $350 to Wally Hill for the Maple Ridge Boxing Club. (Special to The News)

A veteran is behind a Royal Canadian Legion donation, giving back to the Maple Ridge sports club where he found success as a teen.

Thanks to a request from Rob Seckler, the Maple Ridge legion, Branch 88, donated $500 to the Maple Ridge Boxing Club.

Seckler, aka Punchy, was part of the boxing club as a teen. He fought out of the club for two and a half years from 1980 to 1983, and during that time he won the 106 pound division of the provincial Bronze Gloves championships in Cranbrook, B.C. when he was 14-years-old.

He would go on to win a handful of fights out of the Maple Ridge Club before moving onto to other clubs , winning the bronze, emerald, and silver gloves at different provincial championships between 1983-84.

Seckler thought he would turn pro, but when a friend was injured in the ring, he had second thoughts, envisioning a life of multiple concussions and various other injuries.

So, he joined the army instead in 1985 when he was 17-years-old.

Now the 56-year-old laughs, he went from a sport that was dangerous to a career that was really dangerous.

Seckler did six and a half years of infantry with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment and while he was there his younger brother, Dallas, started boxing at the Maple Ridge Club.

“My dad was trying to get one of us to be the light heavyweight champ of the world,” he laughed.

And now his nephews are both members of the Maple Ridge Boxing Club – Tristan, 12, and Damian, 14.

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About six months ago Seckler started doing some shadow boxing to help bring up his cardio, and thought, why not go back to his first boxing club because, he said, when you enjoy what you are doing it is not work

While he was working out he watched the coaches, Billy Drewitt and Jason Burke, and their interactions with the children.

“I was just blown away because it’s such a selfless act,” explained the 56-year-old of the coaches.

“They’re volunteers, they are not getting paid, they’re there five days a week, they travel. A kid can walk in there with no money and want some help, every kid who comes through the door, and I saw this, they are greeted and helped. They get to use the gloves, the hand wraps, and basically everything. There’s girls, women, men, kids, and everybody is treated the same, and it’s just a really awesome atmosphere,” he continued.

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But, he added, like anything, the club is struggling to get by. Seckler remembered when he was a child at the boxing club, representatives of the legion stopping by with a $350 donation.

Then he came up with the idea to reach out to his buddies whom he served with, at the legion, where he is now a member.

“The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #88 has long been supporting local athletes and youth programs in Maple Ridge,” noted Seckler.

“I thought if we could just give a little bit to help out with some new equipment or refurbish the equipment they have it would be great,” he added.

Branch 88 vice president Dean McPherson brought it up at a meeting, and they quickly agreed to donate $500.

The newly acquired funds will be used to help with equipment and maintenance.

A cutout from a newspaper, date unknown, shows a 14-year-old Bobby Seckler when he was a member of the Maple Ridge Boxing Club, after winning the 106 pound division of the provincial Bronze Gloves championships in Cranbrook, B.C.. (Special to The News)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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