With the Ontario Championships only weeks away, Nolan Evans knows his boxing heritage and strong family support and will be just as important as time spent in the gym.
For Evans, boxing is a family tradition.
“I love it. (The) feeling of being in the ring, adrenaline, It’s in my blood.”
And that bloodline runs deep.
In the 1980s, his father Chuck Evans was a Sarnia lightweight making waves in the national boxing ring, while his grandfather was a coach. Chuck Evans was a six-time Canadian champion, making the family name synonymous with Canadian boxing.
Given such a background one would think it was in the stars for Evans to compete in the ring. His mom, however, didn’t see it that way.
Evans is borderline legally blind in one eye.
“She didn’t want me boxing because if anything were to happen to my left eye, I’d be in a pretty bad situation,” he said.
But, with persistence, Evans was able to convince her he was ready, and at age 14 he had his first match. At seeing his son fight for the first time, however, Chuck Evans had to be escorted from the venue.
“He was just so excited,” Evans said.
At 17, Evans finished third and won a bronze medal at the 2010 Canadian Championships.
And now, after a six-year hiatus, the 24-year-old Evans is making a comeback.
I met up with him and his girlfriend Justine at the end of a workout, on the upper floor of downtown Sarnia’s Bluewater Tae Kwan Do.
He doesn’t train with his dad much anymore, but rather with new coach Wade Fleming. He’s back in the gym, training four hours a day for the Ontario Bronze Gloves. The province’s best amateur fighters square off in Toronto Feb. 25-28.
And this time Evans will have two additional “coaches” ringside – Justine and their 3-year-old daughter, Maia.
Nolan met Justine Honsinger through boxing. She’s a competitive amateur boxer herself and also training for the Bronze Gloves.
Together, Evans and Honsinger will both be chasing a podium spot at the end of the month.
Regardless of the outcome, Evans and his young family have found success in boxing. By continuing to train, compete and support boxing in Sarnia, Evans has produced a strong tribute to the family name – past, present and future.