From fan to fighter: Dunlop ready for his debut

A longtime fan of the sport of boxing, Trent Dunlop decided just over a year ago to give the sport a try.

A longtime fan of the sport of boxing, Trent Dunlop decided just over a year ago to give the sport a try. Now, at the age of 15, he’s gearing up for his debut bout.

“I always liked the sport, and I wanted to try it out,” said the Ladysmith teen, who trains at Black Box MMA in Duncan. “When I watched it on TV, I always liked the atmosphere. I liked the whole idea of the sport.”

So far, it has lived up to his expectations.

“I like training really hard before fights, and the feeling of glory afterward,” Dunlop said.

In April, when he was still 14, Dunlop won gold at the Be First tournament in Victoria. There was no one his age competing, so he challenged the adult 160lb division, despite weighing just 137 pounds, and cleaned up.

On Aug. 6, Dunlop will step into the ring at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria for his first amateur fight, taking on fellow 15-year-old Nicholas Tilkin, who has fought once.

Black Box owner Shane Jung has high expectations for Dunlop’s first bout.

“I’ve owned the gym for three and a half years, and been in martial arts for 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything like him,” Jung said.

According to Jung, what separates Dunlop from the pack is his defensive prowess.

“Everyone knows how to punch,” he said. “It’s about knowing how to protect yourself.”

Dunlop has lofty long-term ambitions in boxing, hoping to rise to the top levels of the sport.

“I’d like to go into Olympic boxing and bring home gold, then go pro,” he said.

The potential, and the confidence required to go all the way, are there.

“My trainer, Blake [McVittie] said he sees it in me,” Dunlop said. “And I see it in myself.”