Phoenix rising up boxing ranks
Phoenix Young-Lazo was an instant convert to the sport of boxing.
“I liked it right away,” the 13-year-old St. Catharines resident said. “I am not entirely sure why but I just like hitting people. I have always been in contact sports.”
He used to compete in jiu jitsu and had 14 wins in the sport, including a 2-1 record at the 2022 Ontario Open International Jiu Jitsu Championship.
“I moved on to just boxing recently,” he said.
He was brought to the St. Catharines Boxing Club about three and a half years ago by his grandfather, Bill Young, who knew St. Catharines Boxing Club coach Joe Corrigan.
The Grade 8 student at Assumption Catholic School has had four exhibition fights and four ‘actual’ fights.
“I did well in all my exhibitions since they were all younger than me but for my actual record, it is 2-2 so far.”
His highlight to date was winning his division at the Brampton Cup in 2022.
“It was a big deal winning it in front of a lot of people. It was a good fight.”
It also gave him motivation to take the sport more seriously.
“I got a lot of congratulations after the fight and being in front of everyone made me feel good. If you lose, you learn something and if you win it motivates you to keep going.”
He feels he has made progress in the sport.
“I have gained a lot more slipping (ability) and speed in general,” he said.“I have to keep grinding and working on stuff like harder punches.”
Coach Paul Zahra likes the progress he has seen from Young-Lazo.
“He is really becoming part of the team and he is going out with the guys now. He is hanging out with the older guys, training with them and going on runs. When he was a little bit younger, it was a thing for him and it was kind of a neat thing to do but now he is more dedicated, he is training more and he is taking it a lot more seriously.”
Those efforts are evident.
“Phoenix has got a lot of heart and he is developing. He started off young and he is getting bigger and stronger and he is transferring that into the ring,” Zahra said.
Young-Lazo will be fighting on the club’s Celtic Gloves Boxing Show on Friday, June 9 at the Optimist Club on Napier Street in St. Catharines.
“I am very excited for that fight. I really like being around the crowd and all the people. It’s a really fun show and it is great to be a part of it.”
He admits there is a little added pressure when fighting in front of a hometown crowd.
“It is always going to be a little nerve-wracking when you are around other people but you get used to it. I don’t think about it while I warm up before the fight.
Young-Lazo is looking forward to a long career in boxing.
“I think about doing amateur boxing as an adult and I am hoping I can do it for life.”
Young-Lazo and clubmates Gavin Freel and Alex Lindsay were recently presented with Optimist Youth Awards.
Other club boxers competing on the June 9 card are Dylan Maissoneuve, (Irish) Gavin Freel, Riley Willis, Aashir Raja, Alex Lindsay, Rami Mahrouse and North Toms.
Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the boxing starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 905-988-1244.