John Stanley has been involved in combat sports for much of his adult life and has taken several athletes to major competitions around the world.

But his upcoming venture will see him get the chance to mould not only athletes here at home but around the country.

The co-owner of Stanley Boxing and Fitness has been named as one of four individuals that will make up the coaching staff for WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) Canada’s national team program when the next training cycle comes around in January 2022. Stanley received confirmation of his selection on June 2 from WAKO Canada.

Stanley said his selection was an exciting piece of news.

“I had a brief term with Boxing Canada as a coach but this is a big honour for me,” he said. “It’s big for Yellowknife, big for the North overall and hopefully, people will see me as an inspiration and see that just because you’re from the North doesn’t mean you can’t make it.”

Stanley applied to WAKO Canada for the role and he figured he was one of dozens from around Canada who put their name in the hat.

“I don’t know how many people I was up against but there are hundreds of WAKO-affiliated clubs around Canada so I’m sure there were a lot,” he said.

Stanley is familiar with WAKO and what it does, having travelled to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for the World Senior Kickboxing Championships in 2019, serving as coach for Grey Patino.

The Canadian delegation didn’t exactly light it up in Sarajevo that year and Stanley said one of the big reasons was down to hand speed among some fighters.

“One of the things they mentioned to me in their offer was my strong experience with boxing,” he said. “Hand speed is becoming a big thing at the international level and (Grey) did really well with that but we struggled a bit overall with the hand skills. That’s something I’d like to work on improving with whoever I work with.”

With the new position will come travel, both domestically and internationally. Where that will be is still up in the air as training schedules haven’t yet been released.

Stanley said he knows there will be trips to Ontario and most likely in the west for regional camps.

“I will have to attend national camps in Ontario and out west, it will probably be Alberta,” he said. “There are also lots of regional competitions, there’s events in the Americas, some in Europe, some in Africa. I don’t know where yet because of Covid-19 but we’ll wait to see what happens. All I know is that I will be making multiple trips to wherever they need me to be.”

Stanley’s term will be for three years, wrapping up in December 2024, and he said he plans on making sure everyone knows that he was the right choice for the job.

“I felt I had a good chance of being selected and this solidifies the fact that I’m at that upper level,” he said. “It’s exciting and I’m going to make the most of it.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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