Blake Edwards – Builder
Blake Edwards became involved boxing upon moving to Prince Albert in 1996 joining the K.O. Combinations Club under Bob Tichkowsky and Braddock Koch. He worked hard at training to improve his strength and personal well-being. He thrived under the coaching of the two PA Sports Hall of Fame inductees Tichkowsky and Koch and developed a strong passion for the sport. Often he would be called upon to teach and coach competitors and non-competitors alike.
The Boxing Club fell on difficult times financially and eventually closed in 1999. A few years later, Edwards took the initiative to revive the sport and soon after was in contact with Koch to rekindle boxing in PA. Through hard work and determination with many volunteers, they found and modified a facility, purchased equipment and brought boxing back. Edwards, who trained and coached at the club, was instrumental in fundraising to sustain the sport. With the assistance of volunteers he would host dances to raise money for the club in order to keep the fees low for members.
One of Edward’s greatest fund raising ventures was R U Tuff Enuff. The concept was to have boxers who had no previous competitions, take part in an event for prize money, in 3 male weight divisions and an open women’s division. Edwards knew it was a daunting undertaking, so he approached the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club, which he was a member of, and the idea was developed in 2001 with the first event in 2002. The first two years the event was held in the SIAST Gymnasium with sold out crowds of over 1,000 spectators. The event then moved to the Comuniplex and was a significant fund raiser through 2015, becoming the largest event of its kind in Canada. The budget grew from $600 to $60,000 and provided significant revenues to the coffers of the Boxing Club.
R U Tuff Enuff provided a spike in the interest of boxing. Edwards was the go-to person taking calls from potential fighters, to coaching them, to assisting them in the ring during events. Each event featured between 25 and 32 fighters, many of which were influenced by Edwards.
On the administrative side of the sport, in order for R U Tuff Enuff to operate, a boxing commission was required as the event was deemed professional due to the prize money being awarded. Edwards spearheaded the commission with the assistance of City lawyers and others to make sure the provinces first professional boxing event in decades was hosted in Prince Albert in 2004.
In R U Tuff Enuff’s final year, 2015, the event became a Golden Gloves boxing event due to national regulations. Again Edwards was front and centre hosting over 20 bouts featuring boxers from northern Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He was in the corner for many local boxers helping them win Golden Gloves, one of the most prestigious awards for amateur boxers.
Edwards coached Junior Boxing which has allowed his own children Aiden, Logan and Sara to learn the sport along with many others. He continues to coach a boxing program for 5-14 year olds with many graduating to the main club.