Wheelchair Boxing, in Dartmouth

[swoosh] ANNOUNCER: Here is an AMI This Week Shortcut with Laura Bain. [music playing] LAURA BAIN: I’m at Tribal Boxing.

[swoosh] ANNOUNCER: Here is an
AMI This Week Shortcut with Laura Bain. [music playing] LAURA BAIN: I’m at Tribal Boxing
Club in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with wheelchair
boxer Mitch Comeau. Mitch is wrapping
his hands, getting ready for one of his twice
weekly training sessions. Never heard of
wheelchair boxing? You’re not alone. MITCH COMEAU: I
like the response I get from people
when I tell them that I’m a boxer, because
it’s, like, unheard of, wheelchair boxing. They just don’t believe
that I could be a boxer. Just because you have an injury
doesn’t mean you can’t box. AARON KINCH: Right
and reflection. Do that. Hit me right in the chin. That’s your permission. LAURA BAIN: Mitch’s
boxing coach, Aaron Kinch, of the Westfield Boxing
Club says wheelchair boxing is new to Canada. AARON KINCH: Overseas,
it’s really popular. And I’d like to see that
come over this side too. And hopefully, this is the
first step in doing so. LAURA BAIN: When the two men
spar, Aaron sits in a chair, and they use a
boxing workout timer. AARON KINCH: In
wheelchair boxing, you’re pretty much in
front of the other guy, and swinging, and
trying to block what the other guy’s throwing. It’s like a fight
in a phone booth. MITCH COMEAU: Just to keep
going for three minutes, that’s the hardest part of it. It’s the stamina. It’s hard to find your
breath after three minutes of throwing punches. AARON KINCH: Good. Keep it up. Keep it up. MITCH COMEAU: When we
train, we usually start off with what we call Tom
McCloskeys, where you punch and block the punch
that he’s throwing. So we do those with
straights, jab, up shoots, uppercuts, and hooks. And then we go four
rounds of pad work and then two rounds of sparring. LAURA BAIN: Aaron, a
former professional fighter with 170 fights under
his belt, travels over an hour from his home town
of Westfield to train Mitch. AARON KINCH: He’s
a motivational guy. He’s my hardest worker. I got a competitive class
in my own boxing gym down at Westfield. And Mitch works
harder than anybody. And just to see
that in somebody, I’ll travel as far
as they want to go. You know what I mean? MITCH COMEAU: I used to
do a lot of weightlifting and the cross fit. This drains you a lot more. And it gives you a
better workout out of it. And that’s what I like
about it the most. AARON KINCH: Try just one more. LAURA BAIN: Mitch
has been training with Aaron for two years. MITCH COMEAU: I was first
interested in wheelchair boxing in my teens, mostly. But I never really got into it. I was a blue belt in
karate at the age of 12. And when I got into
a chair, I just started looking for boxing. [bell gongs] LAURA BAIN: Last
year, Mitch and Aaron had a public match at Ring
73 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Aaron says, to his knowledge, it
was the first wheelchair boxing match in the country. AARON KINCH: We had a good time. The audience was into it,
and it was the loudest crowd I think I’ve ever heard. It was really cool. MITCH COMEAU: We
went into the ring. I believe we did
two rounds of pads and two rounds of sparring. And the crowd went wild. That was a fun match. Hopefully, in the near future,
we’ll get back in the ring. LAURA BAIN: Until
then, Mitch plans to continue training hard. MITCH COMEAU: I’m just mostly
doing it to stay in shape. But what I’m trying
to do now is just let it be known
that, you know, you can be a boxer no matter
what your condition. AARON KINCH: 2, 1. Good job.

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