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When the Heart Says No: Getting in shape at the boxing and fitness club in Deline

If you haven’t heard, the Wolf Den Boxing and Fitness Club is open for business in Deline. You can get in shape and/or train for boxing in the ring. And good news — it’s free. Woohoo!
Here’s what Luke Kenny looks like after training at the gym since last April. Photo courtesy of Roy Erasmus

If you haven’t heard, the Wolf Den Boxing and Fitness Club is open for business in Deline. You can get in shape and/or train for boxing in the ring. And good news — it’s free. Woohoo!

There’s usually about 20 people working out and training. But former NHL player Sandy McCarthy is teaching hockey to the youth, so there are about 10 less people until the arena ice melts.

Tyrone Yukon started the club a year ago with financial assistance from Deline Got’ine Government (DGG). They also provided space to train in. Now that’s good government.

Tyrone saw many people were not active enough for various reasons, such as being too into their phones and electronics. Tyrone knows this can lead to people not being active enough and becoming overweight.

So, he ordered equipment with boxing in mind: heavy bags, speed bags, protective gear, gloves, various machines, and a used boxing ring. And he even got some of his boxing friends from Edmonton to come and give seminars.

Tyrone says, “Physical activity helps with lots of things, like better mental and physical health. So, this place is not only for boxing. We take everybody that wants to get into better shape. Many people are intimidated and walking through the door is the hardest part.”

Boxing aspect

Tyrone got into boxing when he was going to high school in Edmonton. He’s 37 now and he’s trained with pros and elite amateurs. His coach was Ben Swanson of the Panther Gym in Edmonton, where he helped Ben train people.

Later as an adult, Tyrone struggled with alcohol, worked out inconsistently and stopped boxing. He ran into his old coach who said he needed to start training again. He said, “The coach was right. I didn’t know the person I saw in the mirror; I thought ‘holy crap, I have to change’.”

Eventually, Tyrone started running and training again. Today, he’s fit and people tell him he’s an inspiration.

When Tyrone bought the boxing ring, he drove south with some guys, then brought part of it back and shipped the rest home. While there, he arranged for the guys to spar in a ring with experienced boxers.

He hopes to get the ring set up soon and have them practice in it before going to Alberta for their first bouts; fight cards start in November. They will start with other guys that have 2 fights or less.

Tyrone says he will need to coordinate with Sandy because hockey season will have started. And hopefully, DGG will help financially to send the guys out to Alberta

Members getting in shape

Luke Kenny started training last April. He was 211 pounds and today he is 186 pounds of blue twisted steel (my description, not his, lol).

Luke says he’s happy that Tyrone convinced him to start and it really helps to train with friends as they encourage and push each other. Well, yaaaaaa!

He says Tyrone said he’s a good boxer, so he’d go south to try it if Tyrone wants him to. They spar with protective head gear and mouth guards as well as other equipment.

Luke says, “One day four of us box with each other. Three rounds each for a total of nine rounds. I work out on the other day I go. There are six stations and we do five cycles at each station. We have treadmills, rowing machine, stationary bikes, and a heavy bag.

“Before I started training, I had a bad back, not like muscle pain from working out. It was so bad that often I missed work and couldn’t travel. The pain has gone away since I started training. I never miss work and I go anywhere I want.

“I would still be overweight, eating junk food and have a sore back if I wasn’t training. People notice I lost weight too and life is so much easier because I’m in shape.”

Bruce Kenny is in his 40s and he is going to join the club in April. He’s getting married this summer and wants to look good in his suit, he says half-jokingly.

He says he wants to get in shape and set a good example for others. His mentality is, “If I can do it, anybody can. And it can’t get any better; it’s free.”

Bruce and his wife Verna gave up pop a year ago and just quit junk food on March 3.

Bruce said, “I’m tired of carrying a keg around — six-pack, here I come. We go on the land hunting and fishing nets, and I play sports. I just have to get more disciplined and this will help. We’re lucky here with a beautiful lake and beautiful land. And the DGG really helps us to do things like this.”

Tyrone hopes other Sahtu communities will follow Deline’s lead. He is willing to help them get started as it would be great to have regional boxing tournaments and they could all go south together.

Tuesday and Thursday is sparring and skill work at the Deline boxing and fitness club; Monday, Wednesday and Friday is conditioning. On weekends, people come and do their own thing. Come and try it out if you can.

This is a great story of one person with a plan to get people off the couch and into the gym and how the community leadership supported this initiative. Way to make your dreams happen, Tyrone.

Here’s what the newly-opened Wolf Den Boxing and Fitness Club looks like in Deline. Everything someone would need to help get in shape. Photo courtesy of Roy Erasmus