BRIAN ZELLEY - 1972 - NANAIMO, BC
BRIAN ZELLEY, A BOXING STORY 1963 to 2011
As I look back throughout the decades, I still remember some of those
early years and my own boxing journey. But, it is not only my story
but the story of the many persons that I came into contact through
the sport of amateur boxing.
The official beginning came in 1963 in Nanaimo, BC, but my first
unofficial bout took place before at a Sea Cadet camp in Comox, BC
when I had an opportunity to box a sea cadet from Alberta.
NEWCASTLE BOXING CLUB (1963 to 1967)
My first boxing club was the Newcastle
Boxing Club in Nanaimo, BC
(Nanaimo Daily Free Press photo - 1964)
Following a fight card in Victoria, B.C
hosted by the London Boxing Club.
Host coach - Harry Morris.
Prior to the formation of the Newcastle Boxing Club
by GEORGE NEPPER, Mr. Nepper used to take
the Nepper brothers to Chemainus and train with
boxers such as Skimp Williams and Danny Daniels
by 1963, George decided to form a club in Nanaimo.
The first training site was in the basement of the
Newcastle Hotel main coaches included Nepper,
Harry Pollitt, Skimp Willaims with help
from Rene Nepper and others.
George Nepper and boxers
Terry Lewis and Bob Lewis
VANCOUVER ISLAND CHAMPIONS
At the end of the 1963/1964 season a
Vancouver Island Boxing Championship
took place in Victoria and included a
number of clubs including members
of the Royal Canadian Navy under
the direction of TAYLOR GORDON.
All of the divisions featured two boxers
except the featherweight division with
Roger Nepper, Don White and Brian Zelley
The expected victor was the older
and heavy punching White of the
Royal Canadian Navy, Esquimalt.
Through effective training with
boxer Mike Lazare and coaching
by Skimp and Harry, and strategy planned by
Williams, and corner work by Williams and
Mike Lazare, I was able to box the heavy
hitting Navy battler and win the decison
to face Roger Nepper who was a good
technical boxer with fast hands and
a good left jab. Therefore, it was
a case of adjusting strategy to face
Roger for the Island title
of featherweight champion.
The strategy used was to attack with two-fisted
body punches in the first round This strategy
not only won the title, but resulted in a
special award as the
MOST AGGRESSIVE BOXER
considering there were many excellent
boxers and punchers in that tournament
such as Fred Desrosiers, Tommy Black,
Wayne Powell, Mike Caird and Rifleman Walsh
it was a big deal to win that special award.
BRIAN ZELLEY - MOST AGGRESSIVE
1964 Vancouver Island Championships
THE SECRET WEAPON
it was no accident that I outboxed the
puncher and out-punched the boxer in that
tournament. It was a result of days of training
with Mike Lazare on defensive skills and
counter punching including body punching and
moving inside and avoiding the heavy hitters with
footwork, movement, defensive skills and an effective jab.
Mike Lazare went on to win two back-to-back
Post 1964 - Due to the Navy and Army boxers
not competing there would be no further
Vancouver Island Golden Gloves or
Championships until the Seventies.
However, there were plenty of
club shows and provincial tournaments.
For Vancouver Island between 1965 and 1967
the club shows took place in Victoria
and Port Alberni, but that would
all change in the Seventies.
1964/1965 A NEW DAY
For 1964/65 season it would be a new location
for the training facilities, with some new faces
including boxer Ken Stant and another coach
by the name of Gerry Sorensen and a brief
time period training with MARIJAN KOLAR
who would win a bronze medal in
an International Boxing Tournament.
Two of my key opponents would be
BOB KACER and BARRY LOWE.
1965/1966 - A Year To Remember
This would be the year to step-up and
face two capable boxers by the names of
JIMMY MACMILLAN and DEL DEUGAU
Jimmy was an excellent boxer and a Canadian
champion and Del was a capable boxer that
would be a 1967 Seattle Golden Gloves champion.
The bout with DEUGAU was interesting. It
took place in Port Alberni and included a
cross-section of boxers from Victoria,
Nanaimo, Port Alberni and the
Vancouver Firefighters of which
Deugau was a member and Bert Lowes
and Pat West were the two key coaches.
Brian Zelley training for the Del Deugau bout
in Port Alberni - 1966
Three key boxers that helped me were
Ken Stant, Gilles and Roger Nepper.
But, when I watched a prelim bout
with Victoria's Lou Bujdoso, I decided
on my opening strategy that would be
the key to victory and the award for
the BEST FIGHTER, but without the
hard work preparing with Roger, Gilles
and Ken there would be no need for
strategy, as it was the defensive skills,
and movement that won the day and that
was done in the boxing school house
better known as the gym.
OBSERVATION 1966 BC GOLDEN GLOVES
Part of the learning experience is also watching
a tope open class tournament without having to
spend time in a dressing room getting ready.
So, Nanaimo boxer Murray Glover and Brian
decided to take in the 1966 Golden Gloves action
I watching the parrying skills of boxer
(year later I would join Mike as a coach
with the Victoria Jaycees Boxing Club in Victoria.)
1967 THE CENTENNIAL YEAR
Aside from club shows or exhibitions the
real deal in 1967 were two tournaments.
1967 Centennial Golden Gloves and
1967 International Centennial
Diamond Belt championships.
Brian Zelley - 1967 Centennial Action
Golden Gloves and Diamond Belt
Nanaimo's Newcastle Boxing Club.
1967 Centenniual Golden Gloves
i had three bouts against
Vern Fouth, Steve Flajole and Wayne Boyce.
1967 International Centennial
Diamond Belt Championships
In prelim action I defeated Brian Gray and in the
semi-finals it was a win over Ted Webb of Oregon.
1967/1968 THE OLYMPIC YEAR
A year of living dangerously on
a merry-go-round and a roller coaster
Nanaimo Boxer 1963 to 1968
These are the names that I remember
Chris Balatti, Ted "Spider" Balatti,
Ken Barker, Wayne Barnes, Kelly Barrows,
Gerry Budzinski, Joe Buxton, Murray Glover,
Tony James, Rick Johnson, Bob Lewis, Terry Lewis,
Mike Lazare, Keith McPherson,
Ken Maughan, Giles Nepper, Jules Nepper, Leon Nepper,
Roger Nepper, Al Ranger, Leo Rock, Ken Stant, Gene Tait,
Rick Tait, Alan Windecker and Brian Zelley
Also, training with us for awhile was Marijon Koler
In September 1967, I moved to Vancouver
to join the Vancouver Firefighters.
I had faced two of the Firefighters; in 1966
Jimmy MacMillan and Del Deugau
and had fought on many club shows from
Victoria to Port Alberni where some
excellent Vancouver boxers had fought such as
Dave Wylie and Kalman Santosi so I knew it
would be an important and rewarding experience.
Some of the boxers at the club were Wylie,
Frank Scott, Larry Sinitsin, Eddie Ostapovich,
Freddy Fuller, Nicky MacDonald, and young
ones like Alf Cool, Jack Snaith, John Gamble and Gordie Lawson
but nobody could guess what a wild ride it would be
for boxers from North Vancouver, Hastings, Astoria,
Langley and East Vancouver Optimists and the Firefighters
Brian Zelley and Ray Lampkin
Wayne Boyce and Frank Scott
(Ray turned pro and faced Roberto Duran
in a lightweight title fight in Panama)
Brian Zelley vs Neil Knight
All Star Boxing Card, Seattle 1968
Fraser Scott, Fred Fuller and Neil Knight
had earlier won the 1968 Seattle Golden Gloves.
(Fraser turned pro and faced middleweight
champion Nino Benvenuti in a title fight in Italy)
THE END OF 1967/1968
(action December 1967 to May 1/68)
When all is said and done in this six month time period,
I had about 15 fights in
club shows and five tournaments, but it all
boiled down to four boxers at the top of their game
Ray Lampkin, Frank Scott, Wayne Boyce, Neil Knight.
One of the important tournaments was the
1968 Seattle Golden Gloves/ Northwest AAU Championships
(a correction on one name - GLENN MCGEE)
nineteen of us BC boxers made that trip, each one form Billy Taylor
to Wayne Boyce have their own story, but at the end of that
tournament was over Freddy Fuller made the AAU Championships
but Dick Findlay would make the 1968 Olympic team along
with Donato Paduano and Walter Henry.
Beyond the Sixties there would be more fights, coaching and
officiating and various positions, but likely the first official
role in coaching was assisting Bert Lowes in the corner for
a bout that young JOHN GAMBLE won in Seattle.
Also, it was great helping the likes of
Gordie Lawson and Dan Wright
Alf Cool and Jack Snaith.
This would be the opening round of joining
Dan Wright to revive boxing in Nanaimo
with the formation of the
Nanaimo Boxing Club
Gord was just a young one in September 1967
but he learned a few lessons from the many
open senior boxers in the gym.
NANAIMO BOXING CLUB
founded in 1971
by Dan Wright and Brian Zelley
assisted by George Nepper and John Ormandy.
Those early years were very interesting.
Some of the early boxers were
Dan Wright, Brian Zelley, Jack Snaith,
Darren Lussier, Wayne Peace and Bob Pegues.
Many others would follow such as
Mickey Griffin, Barry Creswell and Kevin Maughan.
Manny made me a complete fighter in 1972
when I learned how to move by inches
instead of feet or yards.
(note one of his great wins was in a
non-title fight with Emile Griffith
in the mid-Sixties)
Now in 2011, who would of guessed that the
club would be recognizing the 40th. Anniversary
and as of September 2011 it starts year 41.
(Note there is more detailed history of
the Nanaimo Boxing Club through
the decades, so no detail will be
covered in this story)
1974 Boxing Revival in Victoria, BC
Ian Weir - Mike Caird - Brian Zelley
Three others involved in the revival were
Gordie McGaw, Larry Montgomery and Dan Wright.
Also, Island Commissioner appointd by
BCABA president Walter Boyce was Howard Curling.
1976 An End and a New Beginning
1976 - Certificates received by
Mike Caird - Brian Zelley and Howard Curling
It was the end of the beginning of a revival in Victoria and
the prelude for greater events on Vancouver Island in the Eighties.
August 1976, the formation of the VAA
Mike Caird, Brian Zelley, Lou Bujdoso
VAA - FOUNDING DIRECTORS
The VAA would sponsor numerous sports teams
COACHES CORNER 1975
Brian Zelley coaching Danny O'Sullivan
preparing him for his first tournament
focus on stance, form and footwork
Getting the hands and feet working together
Brian Zelley and two boxers shadow boxing
and make believe sparring working on form
and basic moves but studying the opponent
Victoria, BC in the mid- Seventies
VICTORIA JAYCEES BOXING CLUB
in the late Seventies, Lou Bujdoso left the
Victoria Athletic Association
to form the Victoria Jaycees
Although I would still be a director
of the VAA until the end of the
1980/1981 fiscal year, I joined
Lou to help with the coaching of
all the new novice trainees. I
would do this until 1985 and the last
official boxer that I trained was to
prepare him for the 1985
BC DIAMOND BELT TOURNAMENT
that took place in Victoria.
It was apleasure working to
get RON OGDEN ready fir his
In 1980, I indicated to Bert Lowes that I would
like to start officiating and began judging under
the direction of Rick Brough and Bert Lowes.
I was selected to be one of the officials at the
1983 BC Winter Games in Revelstoke
1984 BC Winter Games in Fort St. John
i also officiated in numerous club shows on the
Island and one of the Nanaimo Bathtub
Capital Golden Gloves tournaments
1984 Vancouver Island Amateur Boxing
Championships and various Provincial
1984 JUNIOR NATIONALS
My role at the Nationals that took place
in Burnaby was to serve as one of the
three members of the committee
to select the Best Junior Boxer
we picked Eric Grenier with Scotty Olson
and Stewart Hilton a close second and third.
The three commitee members
Tommy Yule, Glynn Jones and Brian Zelley
Alan Brown, Vic Murdoch, Brian Zelley
at the Canadian 1984 Olympic Gamez
boxing team at the training centre
THE VANCOUVER ISLAND CONNECTION
In 1979, ring official RICK BROUGH
replaced Howard Curling as the
Vancouver Island Amateur Boxing
Rick called a joint meeting of officials and coaches.
By 1983, I convinced members at a meeting to
support the Vancouver Island Amateur Boxing
News which resulted in a spring and fall 1983
issues, but then was elected to the Board of
Boxing BC as the news editor of the
BC Amateur Boxing News and
did copies from November 1983 to January 1986
in all of the issues, I made it a point of
having flashbacks which covered a lot of
amateur boxing history in British Columbia.
BC WINTER GAMES - 1983 and 1984
My involvement in the BC Winter Games took place
in 1983 and 1984 at Revelstoke and Fort St. John
1984 BC WINTER GAMES' Officials and Coaches
1985 BC WINTER GAMES
Although I did not participate in the Games in '85
as the editor of the BC AMATEUR BOXING NEWs
I did prepare a report for a coup.le of the issues in '85
REVIVAL OF THE ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS
Rick, Howard and myself discussed the issue in one
of our trips to a fight card, and at a formal meeting
with other officials and coaches it was decided
to revive the Championships 20 years after
the 1964 tournament in Victoria.
It was agreed that Art Smith and Brian Sacho
of the Parksville - Qualicum Boxing Club
would be the host club due in part to
the central location and partly to
recognize the club for some good work
over the last few years.
AMATEUR BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPS
THE SELECT 20 from 1964 and 1984
It was a one year revival only, but there
would be other tournaments and shows.
1989 A NEW JOURNEY BEGINS
BOXING COMMITEE FORMED 1989
members in 1989 were Hassan Sunderani,
Brian Zelley, Mike Sartori and Glynn Jones.
For 1991, I served as the interim chairman
while the Victoria Commonwealth Games
Society and Boxing Canada could select
a replacement, but in the end or in
early 1992 Hassan Sunderani agreed
to serve again after his one-year break.
I was also, able to attend the
1990 GOODWILL GAMES in Seattle
to observe the boxing finals.
Known as "Pud" Smith
Pud would step forward as one of the many
volunteers that would help in some of
the planning and preparation.
which began after the formation of
the Boxing Committee and before the
official resurrection of the
Greater Victoria Amateur Boxing Association.
THE ROAD TO THE
1992 DEFENDING THE SPORT
NO MORE SONGS
After 1992, I was done with boxing or
so I thought, and I am still here
for whatever comes my way.
2009 Recognizing Others
Brian Zelley ready to present awards to Mike Caird
2009 Greater Victoria
Sports Hall of Fame
2009 Looking Back
2009 - Greater Victoria
Sports Hall of Fame Ceremony
Tom Turnbull, Ian Weir, Mike Caird,
Jason Heit, Don Orr, Brian Zelley
More faces including
center Danny O'Sullivan, Gary Robinson,
Brian Zelley and Dan Wright.
white shirt: Mike Caird
BRITISH COLUMBIA AMATEUR BOXING
HALL OF FAME
.established in 2010
A Statement of Why a BCABHOF
(as of September 2011, there have been
Rounding out the 15 of 2010 is FRANK SCOTT
THE TWENTY FIVE - 2010 and 2011
Those that helped compile data on
the 2011 Nominees
Also, thanks to Daniel "Mushroom Mac" McGarvie
for being an administrator for 2010
Daniel is a former amateur boxer and was
a member of the North West Eagles Boxing Club.
Three additional honorary directors
ALAN BROWN, JOHN PAONESSA, TOMMY BOYCE
Meeting Ali in 1972
Stepping back to 1972, it was a chance to see Ali.
It was before his bout with George Chuvalo and
he was staying at the Georgia Hotel.
Dan Wright and I took boxer Manny Gonzalez
and trainer Billy DeFoe back to the hotel and
while there, somebody gave us photos of Ali
and mentioned where he was, so Dan and I
caught the elevator to the penthouse suite
and knocked on his door, he came out into
the hall and spoke, then he invited us in and
we talked about boxing.
On the way out of the hotel, we happened
to see Bundini Brown in the lounge, so we
stopped to say hello and show him the photos.
East Side Boxing, Zelley Buzz, My Boxing Story
FLASHBACKS - SPORTCASTER STORIES
By Brian Zelley
1974 to 1983
Part of the process of assisting in the growth of
Amateur Boxing was to tell the
stories as they happened.
The days and years before the
Vancouver Island Amateur Boxing News
British Columbia Amateur Boxing News
SAMPLE OF THE STORIES
"Ballendine In Canadian Championships"
Sportcaster, May 1981
by brian zelley
The opening line in the story said:
"Cliff Ballendine earned a spot on the
BC junior amateur boxing team to compete
in the 1981 Canadian Championships."
Some of the names included in the
full article were
Cliff Ballendine, Greg Laboucan, Kevin Henney,
Ralph Barth, Asif Dar, Gordon Jones, Larry Adams,
Randy Galler, Alan Brown, Jerry Reddick, Marven Camel,
Gordy Racette, Jimmy Young, Pinklon Thomas,
Willie Shannon and Larry Frazier.
One of many other stories was published
July 2, 1980
"Six Excelled at PEI"
The opening paragraph said:
"A team of BC junior boxers, including
Alan Brown of Gold River and
Cliff Ballendine of Victoria
excelled at the Canadian junior
boxing championship at
O'Leary, PEI, June 26 - 28.
"Seventies Boxing Birth Growth Commendable"
by brian zelley
"Sportcaster" - January 9. 1980
"Amateur boxing in Victoria started the seventies
in a decade of doubt but closes our the 1970's
with a record of growth and achievement.
In the early years, boxing was on the ropes
with limited activity and public exposure.
In the last six years, amateur boxing in
Victoria has made a strong comeback and as
created a new wave of interest. Prior to this
period boxing was in a rebuilding stage as a
result of top amateur boxers in British Columbia
after the 1968 Olympics.
From 1970 to 1973 boxing was kept alive through
the efforts of Mike Caird, Gordie McGaw and
Larry Montgomery. At this time, the local boxers
were competing in club shows on the Island with
several boxers entering tournaments in Vancouver.
In 1974, three veteran boxers moved to Victoria to
assist in a rebuilding program. With the help of
Brian Zelley, Dan Wright and Ian Weir, we
were able to expand the boxing program.
The first boxer to receive National attention
under this new plan was Wayne Crowe who
was a silver medalist in the 1974 Canadian
Amateur Boxing Championships,
In 1975, the boxing program received a boost
when the London Boxing Club helped with
financial assistance to aid in increased travelling
to tournaments on the mainland. On June 6, 1976
the club hosted and English schoolboy vs BC juniors
Tournament at the Quadra Recreation Centre.
On August 31, 1976 the Victoria Athletic Association
was formed...as a result Victoria boxers won
many BC tournaments.
The top three junior boxers to emerge in the last
several years include Gary Robinson, Cliff Ballendine
and Matt Montgomery.
(details of Robinson and Ballendine victories)
Boxing in Victoria expanded in 1978 when
Lou Bujdoso, a former coach with the
VAA received support from the Victoria Jaycees
to form a club in the Lakehill area.
The combined boxing programs in Victoria
join together in 1980 to jointly sponsor the
BC Diamond Belt Championships.
(Note - the host club was the Victoria Jaycees)
THE NEXT ROUND is an UNKNOWN JOURNEY
THE NEXT ROUND - LONDON BOXING CLUB
had the recent opportunity to sponsor the
1974/75 London Boxing Club SOCCER TEAM
for their induction into the
Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame
One of the persons sitting at our table was former
Victoria boxer Tom Turnbull. Tom is prsently still a teacher.
LONDON BOXING CLUB - 1974/75 soccer team
Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame - 2011
VANCOUVER ISLAND BOXING
Fifties to Seventies Highlights
^THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMATEUR BOXING
Recently started a story on the golden age of
amateur boxing in British Columbia
(1939 to 1968)
NEW PROJECT - MARCH 2012
*BEYOND THE GOLDEN YEARS,
THE ROAD TO GLORY
1969 to 1984
This is about the beginning that started
with the formation of Boxing Canada
and it winds through the many years
from the new beginning to Olympic Glory
THE LAST FIGHT - 1973
Brian Zelley vs Clark MacLellan
The final bell and the post fight
photos tell the end of the story
but the opening round strategy
began in 1972
Brian Zelley wins bout in 1973
(post fight photo: Zelley vs MacLellan)
*part of the story is told when discussing
boxer Manuel (Manny) Gonzalez
REMEMBERING HARRY POLLITT
Harry fought some pro fights but his name
was spelled incorrectly in the Box Rec site
which lists some of his bouts with the name
Harry's first listed pro fight was a victory
over Johnny Woods in November 1925.
BRITISH COLUMBIA AMATEUR BOXING
HALL OF FAME
Presently working on the 2013 nomination process for the BVABHOF.
Also, was involved in the start of the
ONTARIO AMATEUR BOXING HALL OF FAME
Also, started a First Nations and Metis Boxing site
and also trying to form a
CANADIAN AMATEUR BOXING
HISTORY and WALL of FAME
There is some progress with various committees
from The Maritimes to British Columbia
This is not going to be an easy ride or journey
Too many passed outstanding and excellent
boxers, officials and coaches
but there must be a beginning
and who knows how far we can all travel.
BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN:
No matter how far we travel, we need to take it back to where it all began,
and I try to document it in another story with additional detail.
Sample of BCABHOF
Canadian Boxing Wall of Fame
Canadian Amateur BoxingHall of Fame
Others were added in 2014
BC Amateur Boxing
Hall of FameVideos by Brian Zelley
2016 and 2017
Flashbacks 2010 to 2017
2017 Club inductee The Firefighters
Brian Zelley, Bob Decker, Clarke McLellan,
Dave Wylie and Wayne Boyce
nominated for 2018
BC Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame.
"Roll of the dice"
Nanaimo Boxing - The Eventies
January 2018 Update: Inductee of BCABHOF Pleased tobe one of eight inew inductees into the BC Amateur Boxng Hall of Fame. The other seven include Barry Krangle, Bob Decker, Clake McLellan, Dav Wylie, Rudy Bianco, WayneBoyce and the 2 Rivers Boxing Club as approvedby Alf. Cool and Mehran Hotstuff.