April 02, 2010

Boxer connects with young Natives

Boxer has a message for First Nations youth

By Kent GilchristIn a couple of nights Junior Moar will be escorted into the River Rock theatre boxing ring by Aboriginal drummers and dancers in ancestral headdresses and warrior regalia.

The Canadian light heavyweight boxing champion believes the symbolic and entertaining entry serves a couple of purposes. It celebrates his belief in his heritage and his hope other First Nations young people will be swayed, and he thinks the drum gives him strength for the bout that will follow.

Saturday night, Moar will be the headliner of a West Coast Promotions card in a 10-rounder against American Billy Bailey, a former WBC U.S. boxing champion. And it will be Moar's first fight in nearly a year since he won the Canadian championship.

But this story is about connecting with young people. "I think it's better when I speak to these kids than hearing it from a teacher or policeman," says Moar, who took some time off after his wife Robin gave birth to their daughter Miller, now four months old.

"I'm more believable. I've done it"--meaning he's been in jail and turned his life around.

During the recent Paralympic Games the phrase "the strength of sport" was heard several times in the context of what sport can do for athletes with disabilities. Moar, former Vancouver Canucks tough guy Gino Odjick and before him Ron Delorme, now a Canucks scout, are using their high profiles in boxing and hockey to help influence young people away from taking a wrong path.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Comanche Boxer Does War Dance and Native Athletes Who Do Good.

Below:  "Junior Moar (left) readies a punch during a 2009 bout at River Rock Casino." (Nick Procaylo. PNG Files, The Province)

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