BEYOND THE SETBACK OF 1980 and THE GLORY OF 1984
THE NEW BEGINNING OF CHAMPIONS: by brian zelley
For the champions of 1980, missing the 1980 Olympics was a
great setback that could never be resolved, but beyond 1980
there would be a new beginning with some new faces and some
of those stars of the late Seventies and 1980 would fight on.
THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONS 1981 to 1983
With the arrival of 1981, no one could guess where the
Canadian amateur story would play-out in the subsequent years.
There was hope, but nobody could guess what would happen
between 1984 and 1996 and beyond in International
tournaments such as
the Olympic Games or the Commonwealth Games.
This is their story and who would be there for action in
1984 and beyond.
Stephen Nolan was one of the stars of 1980 that would continue
to shine for several years. But, in 1984, there was a possibility
that he would not be on the 1984 Olympic boxing team. His fate was
decided at the second senior box-off competition that took place
in Burnaby British Columbia. It would be STEVE PAGENDAM that
would be Ontario featherweight that would be on the Olympic team.
1981: The arrival of KALBHENN, O'SULLIVAN and DEWITT
Nobody could have planned the boxing journey of John, Shawn
and Willie. But, they would fight their way through three
years of action to prepare for their place on the '84 Team.
As early as 1983, there were some heavy expectations for
both Shawn and Willie in the news media, but it would take
action in the ring that would earn the prize of Olympic silver.
JOHN KALBHENN's march to the 1984 LA Olympics
As we look at all of the champions and the team members
throughout the early '80's. Champion John would not be
denied. He would be the Canadian champion for the years
before 1984. Then came some setback that gave the appearance
that he could miss what he had been working for over the
last three years.
It was in the 1984 Senior National that John would have a
quick setback in the prelim action he would be on the short
end of a split decision to boxer GREG GAYLE. Greg would
then defeat Manitob's TOM BARON BC's ROGER LAFLAME.
to face Quebec's SYLVAIN THIBEAULT which Sylvain won.
KALBHENN would attempt to make the A team at the Box-off.
The first box-off competition took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia
where Gayle had to defeat Brad Hortie before facing John.
John won over Greg by another split decision. A couple of weeks
later JOHN KALBHENN would travel to Burnaby, BC for the
the last chance against the then champion THIBEAULT. this time
when it counted, John would not be satisfied with a split or unanimous
decision. He would take to the then champion and in the third round
Kahlbhnn would connect with a serious of head shots that forced the
referee to stop the bout resulting in his advance to the Olympic team.
DALE WALTER, The Pride of Burnaby follow a path
For Dale Walters, there are likely many folks in BC that
would have guessed that Dale would be a senior open star.
Going back to his early days in the Seventies, he was marked
as a star and was recognized as early as 1972 when as a junior
he was allowed to participate in an exhibition match on a card
that included the likes of MUHAMMAD ALI. Also, the Walters
name was well known in British Columbia and beyond since the
Forties with LENNIE WALTERS.
Lennie would have an important
role in the shaping the skills of Dale for his boxing journey
throughout the Seventies and into the Eighties.
In 1983, Wayne Gordon would earn a title that would stake his path
to a spot on the 1984 Olympic team. But, for Wayne, we need to
step back to Vancouver Island in the Sixties where the Gordon story
would take shape. If we flashback to the 1963 BV Golden Gloves,
one of the boxers was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy that
always produced a good team of boxers. The boxer was named
Taylor Gordon. But, it wasn't his performance
in the ring that would earn Taylor, International recognition.
Taylor would become a coach and trainer, and would go back to
Nova Scotia and begin his climb up the ranks of many coaches
throughout Canada. In his own club, one of the boxers would
be his son Wayne who would also climb up as a boxing champion
and win a spot on the '84 team.
BILLY DUNLOP, from Verdun to Calgary
Of all the Olympic team members, the story of Billy Dunlop
takes us from Verdun, Quebec to Calgary, Alberta. In 1982,
Billy moved from Quebec to Alberta, but it does not appear
boxing was a high priority. He had competed in Quebec and
had won a few titles then he moved to Calgary and would be
pulled back into boxing with various victories and a shot
at the National title. In 1984, he defeated two boxers
Gaetan Leclerc and Rick Rannelli. In box-off he faced
Quebec's Leclerc in Halifax and stopped him in one round
to earn a place on the '84 Olympic team.
THE TREASURE CHEST OF GOLDEN MEMORIES:
*Each of the many boxers that engaged in activity
between 1981 to 1983 and the 1984 moments likely have
some key memories that stand out. This area is set
aside to add any memories or thoughts by any of the