Sports

Fighters take a few swings in the battle against breast cancer

Saturday’s boxing fundraiser at the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club for the National Breast Cancer Foundation will feature top draws such as  Dustin Praxedes. The benefit event begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20. Tickets start at $20 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets or at the club.    - Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club
Saturday’s boxing fundraiser at the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club for the National Breast Cancer Foundation will feature top draws such as Dustin Praxedes. The benefit event begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20. Tickets start at $20 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets or at the club.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club

Sixteen athletes will step into the ring at the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club this Saturday to fight against breast cancer in a “Fight for Life.

It’s the second fundraiser the boxing club has held since opening in 2011. Last year, all proceeds were donated to the Kitsap Humane Society, but this year the fight will benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

One of the fighters, 2012 Bainbridge High School graduate Keenan Barrow, is a local islander. The rest of the fighters hail from boxing gyms around Kitsap County, including Bremerton’s Full Circle Gym, the Hybrid Gym and Ivan Salaverry MMA.

Barrow has been at the island boxing club for about a year, and this will be his second fight. Last year, he fought a police officer from Seattle.

“He was a seasoned fighter, and Keenan did really well,” said trainer Ben Little. “Keenan will definitely become a well-known fighter.”

Barrow is looking forward to his fight this year, especially because he will be supporting a worthy cause.

Local teenagers Cole Lake and Anisa Ashabi were also supposed to participate in the Fight for Life, but due to illness and difficulty in finding a suitable partner, they are unable to do so.

“It is really unfortunate that we couldn’t find anyone to fight Anisa,” Little said.

“She has sparred with pro fighters, and each one said ... she hits like a full-grown man. To watch her fight would be amazing, but finding 14-year-old girls to fight against her is not easy,” he said.

Lake, a 2013 graduate of BHS, has trained consistently for the last two years, and he also teaches classes at the local boxing club. This was to be his debut fight, but due to illness, he will postpone it until the “Battle for the Beast” fight in late September.

“Cole is ridiculously good,” Little said. “He is probably one of the best up-and-coming kickboxers around right now.”

Though Barrow will be the only local fighter, boxing club members Laura Swanson and Molly Dwyer from Bainbridge will do an exhibition between fights to demonstrate different fighting skills.

Little decided to use this fight to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation because cancer affected his family growing up, and because it is a cause for which many are willing to fight passionately.

“You realize in a fight at some point that you have a choice to succumb or fight hard, and cancer patients have the same choice,” Little said. “It’s our duty to at least make people think about it, and if we can raise money in the process for a great cause, then we’ll have done our part.”

The event is 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club, 563 Madison Ave. Tickets begin at $20 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets or at the club.

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