Fight For the Community III

Kelowna musician Neville Bowman, right, became an amateur boxer to prepare for Fight For the Community III on Saturday at Rutland Centennial Hall. It was a boxing event that helped raise funds for three local charitable organizations. Bowman prepared for the fight with Geoff Lawrence, left, at Los Gatos Locos/Madkats Fitness and Boxing Centre.

Neville Bowman is a musician, an actor and an advocate for solitude.

Now, he is also an amateur boxer.

The Kelowna pianist and trumpet player could not turn down an opportunity to pick up the gloves to participate in Fight For the Community III on Saturday at Rutland Centennial Hall. It was a boxing event that helped raise funds for three local charitable organizations: Ozanam House, Karis Support Society and Freedom’s Door, which offer exercise and rehabilitative programs for recovering addicts in this community.

Organizers were still tallying the results on Monday but already had $10,000 in hand and expected to exceed $15,000.

“The event raised money (via Elevation Outdoors) for a couple of houses that help people primarily with substance addiction and recovery, something those of us in the entertainment world seem to see a lot of, unfortunately,” explained Bowman.

“Fight went decently, no serious injury and, most importantly, we raised the money we wanted, plus a little more. People really stepped up to back me. Now, back to being a musician again,” he said after the event.

“It’s a new role, a challenge I could not turn down — testing my fitness in the boxing ring against a younger opponent, all for a good cause. Not many musicians are very active, let alone taking on a challenge that goes directly against protecting their resources. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch me battle it out in the ring,” he added with a laugh.

“As a pianist and trumpet player, the very real risk of damage is always there in the back of my mind. . . . But I have always been a person who couldn’t be content with a job that’s solely cerebral. I need physical work to balance out the intellectual.

“One surprise for me in all the training has been to discover how much thinking is required to box well, and how many very applicable parallels to life there are in training to fight. A person can discover a lot about themselves and ways to overcome weaknesses. I recommend the training to anyone for both physical and mental fitness.”

This marked the third year of Fight For the Community, with more than $30,000 raised in the first two years for local recovery homes. This year’s fight card featured nine charity fights and eight Boxing BC-sanctioned matches. Each Three-Round Hero had a fundraising goal of $1,500 and three months of boxing training at the Los Gatos Locos/Madkats Fitness and Boxing Centre.

“It was the third sold-out crowd, with 377 people,” said organizer Geoff Lawrence on Monday. “The show was awesome; the crowd was awesome.”

He’s planning to be even more creative with the Three-Round Hero matches next year: media representatives versus media, firefighters from different Central Okanagan fire departments and RCMP facing off, lawyers versus lawyers and perhaps even a custom home builder versus a home inspector.

The three charities are:

— Ozanam Recovery House: a 19-bed transition home located in Kelowna for adult men who are struggling with addictions, mental-health issues or both. On the web: recoverykelowna.ca.

— Karis Support Society: a home for women struggling with addictions and mental-health challenges. On the web: karis-society.org/.

— Freedom’s Door Kelowna: a non-profit addiction-recovery program for men, dedicated to helping them find hope, healing and wholeness in a safe and secure environment. On the web: freedomsdoorkelowna.com/.

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