WORKING WITH JOHN KOVAK: by Brian Zelley
in more than two worlds
in 1973. I was involved
with the early years of the
Nanaimo boxing Club and
taking time out to fight
Clark MacLellan in the
semi-main event of a club
card, but at the same time trying to get the London boxing
club boxing program re-activated. So it was Nanaimo
on weekends, and Victoria during the week.
I met with former coach Harry Morris, Stan Richardson
and former boxer Gary Van Buskirk to review the status.
The old gym on Broad street was still there but there was
no boxing program, so I got the okay from Harry to start
training nights in the old unused gym. One of the first
to show up to help with the training was JOHN KOVAK.
Due to internal politics at the London Boxing Club, the
boxing program from training to competition would never
see the light of day in the months of 1973, but over time
I along with Dan Wright and Ian Weir would join up
with Mike Caird and Gordie McGaw with training at
the Victoria boy's club, and in due course, the new
directors of the London boxing club would come calling.
Years later, I would meet JOHN KOVAC again and
found out he was running a great boxing club close
to the Rocky Mountains in Sparwood called the
Elk Valley boxing club. Back in 1973, I was pleased
with John's involvement for the short time that we
worked together, and was not surprised that he would
have a good boxing program with his share of champs.
During my few years being the editor of the
"BC Amateur Boxing News, John would become
one of the regular folks like Dick St. Louis, Bert Lowes
and founding pres. of Boxing Canada, Jerry Shields to
be good and reliable folks to help with articles and news
along with many others including many of the clubs on
It was in May 1984 issue of the news that featured the
BC Junior Boxing team of 1983. John appeared with
coach Wally Hill and the boxing team that consisted of
Alan Brown, Willy Curry, Deep butter, Manny Sobral,
Paul Deluca, Aaron Wolfe, Mike Wood, tony Francis
and Scott Bannink.
Re. the Mike Caird part of the story:
In 2009, Mike mentioned that some of his most fun days in boxing
were in those crazy years in 1973 to 1975. In 1973 and 1974, Dan and
I were still bouncing around with boxing in Victoria during the week days
and training in Nanaimo on saturday and sundays. To make thinks more
interesting, Dan also spent time in North Vancouver.
Mike Caird - 1963