Corey Gower is named Havoc bantamweight champion following his title fight in Red Deer on Nov. 16. (Submitted)

Corey Gower is named Havoc bantamweight champion following his title fight in Red Deer on Nov. 16. (Submitted)

Title in hand, Duncan’s Corey Gower makes plans to give back

Having accomplished one of his biggest goals inside the ring, Duncan mixed martial arts fighter Corey (The Hatchet) Gower is now setting his sights on inspiring a new generation.

Gower won the Havoc Fighting Championship bantamweight title on Nov. 16, with a second-round submission victory over Rick Pfeifer in Red Deer, Alberta. It was the first career title bout for Gower, who improved to 7-6 overall in addition to claiming his first belt.

“Winning the Havoc bantamweight title means to me that anything is possible when you set your mind to it and apply hard work, determination, persistence, perseverance and patience,” Gower said. “Many times I wanted to stop and move on to something else, but not achieving my goal of being a champion was consuming, and I know I couldn’t stop until it happened, so I kept trying despite facing setbacks.”

Nicknamed “The Ginger with Intent to Injure,” Pfeifer entered the bout with a reputation as a first-round fighter. Gower knew, from talking to other fighters who had trained with both of them, that he had advantages in both strength and fitness, and went in with a plan to exploit that.

Gower found himself caught in an arm bar midway through the first round, but he kept his composure and worked his way out only to win by submission in the second round.

Gower took his title belt to Alex Aitken Elementary School last Monday to speak to Grade 4-6 students, including the class taught by his cousin, Angela Carpenter. Sharing his achievements with kids is important to Gower, who wants to use what he has learned over the years to help them reach their own accomplishments.

“My dream beyond competing is giving back to the community and sharing my knowledge I have gained over the years training, and help the next generation reach their goals in whatever they set their mind to,” Gower explained. “One of my goals is to create a fitness program for children — as well as adults, but my main focus is the kids — in the Cowichan Valley, and one day in the near future creating an after-school fitness program to help parents who are working when their kids are off school, encourage and motivate them to work hard and set goals as well as provide supervision.

“I wanted to tell the kids my story because I didn’t have the easiest life, and despite the challenges, was able to reach my goals, and now am working on a new set of goals to reach for. It’s a difficult age we live in due to the advancements in technology, and it’s easier to sit on an iPad than it is to work hard at a goal that seems unattainable. Just wanted to remind them it’s possible.”

Stay tuned for more information about Gower’s future plans.

The 32-year-old Gower didn’t get his start in MMA until he was 19, but he did engage in many other sports in his youth, and shared the importance of that with the Alex Aitken students.

“I wish I would have started younger, but I did a lot of other sports as a kid,” he said, in response to a student’s question. “I did soccer, track and field, long-distance running. All the stuff that I did, I put all my energy into that and got good at those sports, then moved on to the next thing when I was finished.”

Always grateful to those who have helped him in his journey, Gower expressed his thanks to the many coaches who he has trained with, including Wally Petrovic, Josh Spong, John Valkov, Blake McVittie, Nick Zuback, Henry Panek, Jason Heit, Stan Peterec, Adam Zugec, Mitch Clarke, Guy Lefebvre, Sheldon Westcott, Cam Yallits, Shane Jung, Andrew Mcinnes, Atilla Vári and Justin Sander, among others, and to sponsors, including Dave Smith, Rick Dey, Ray Little, Justin Weir, Brett Tichkowski, John McVittie, Justin Quintel and Shara Vigeant.

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