I’m a huge boxing fan. Always have been. I absolutely love the sport, and you’ll find me in Las Vegas anytime my favourite boxer and idol Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring. I know I may be a little old to have an “idol”, but when a person can be that good at something, that wealthy, yet maintain a level of humility whereby they focus most of their spare time on philanthropy – that’s special.
It’s been a few decades since my longtime friend and business partner Dan Armstrong and I started Beanfield. Ever since those early days, Dan and I have been so busy running and growing the company that it left little time for exercise, or for that matter – anything at all. However, towards the end of 2012 I finally decided it was time to get out from behind my desk and be active. A traditional gym offered little appeal, so I decided to give boxing a shot. I figured I might as well be active doing something I love, and I also knew that training for boxing is extremely demanding and difficult to do. My personality is such that I need a challenge or I get bored, so the level of commitment and dedication required by boxing was something I needed, otherwise my entrepreneurial mind would wonder.
Ever since the first day I stepped into the boxing gym (and almost threw up from exhaustion), I’ve been hooked. I love the physical and technical aspects of it, and I also love sparring and how it feels to get punched, but I really like to be able to punch someone without getting into any trouble whatsoever. As a kid, I frequently got into fights so maybe I should have said I was boxing when someone yelled at me for hitting another kid. Truth is, in the moment you don’t feel the pain, because your adrenaline is going crazy – it’s a hard feeling to describe. I will be honest though, I do have one concern, breaking my pretty nose.
In 2014, I started training with Dewith Frazer. We clicked right away. Dewith is a former Canadian Olympic boxer and owner of Dewith’s Boxing Studio in Mississauga. He’s an overall amazing guy who truly has a passion for the sport like I’ve never seen. Dewith told me about his former charity event called “The Fight For The Girls”, which raised money for breast cancer, and how after 3 years he had to discontinue the event due to a lack of resources. I found that very sad. I was at a point in my life where I really wanted to give back and help people. I loved the concept of the event, and wanted to help him do it again. I knew that with my business contacts, and the great staff I have behind me, together we could do something incredible. After a few quick discussions, we co-founded the Victory Charity Ball.
The event is black-tie and will feature unlimited premium cocktails all night, a five course dinner, live entertainment, tons of amazing prizes, and of course the main event – boxing. There will be five fully sanctioned boxing matches, followed by an after party that goes until 2 AM. I’m big on production, so I insisted on a Las Vegas style production (of course). Rethink Breast Cancer is a charity with personal meaning, as well as a cause worth fighting for. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 18 years old. As a result of my mom passing, my dad committed suicide a year later. With both my parents gone, I wasn’t able to finish high school and was left on my own to fend for myself. The experience shaped my attitude: don’t EVER give up on anything, and don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. It also made me a fighter.
In November I continue my fight, but this time to help beat cancer. I’m stepping into the ring as the main event at this year’s Victory Charity Ball. Dewith is helping me train and quickly whipping me into shape. I’m overwhelmed with the support I’m receiving from colleagues and friends who are buying tickets and tables. However, I’m not 100% sure if they’re doing it to support me or to see me get hit. Hmmmmmm.
I’d really like to think my mom will be watching from somewhere up there, but if by chance my nose does get broken – I hope she misses that part.
Note: The Victory Charity Ball takes place Friday, November 21st at Heritage Court in the Direct Energy Centre. For tickets and event details, visit victorycharityball.com.