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Tsleil-Waututh Nation boxer hits backyard ring to train for pro debut

Jacob George, great nephew of Chief Dan George, makes his pro boxing debut April 23

A Tsleil-Waututh Nation boxer has gone back to nature to train for his first professional fight.

Jacob George, the great-grandnephew of famed actor, activist and leader Chief Dan George, will make his professional debut tomorrow (April 23) in a pay-per-view-only event being held at North Vancouver’s Griffins Boxing Club.

COVID-19 concerns have made finding training space tricky, but George has found an amazing outdoor space that has allowed him to keep up his work with trainer Manny Sobral while following all health protocols. There’s a backyard ring tucked away on Tsleil-Waututh Nation land where George has been hitting his training hard for the past year while surrounded by stunning views of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains.

“It’s really good, especially with this COVID thing going on,” George told the North Shore News. “I think the fresh air is better than being inside a small gym.”

He’s got another old-school outdoor trick up his sleeve as well, as George gets up early nearly every morning to complete a solo canoe course. George gets his father to time him every morning while paddling approximately two miles. It takes him about 13 minutes, and it’s a great workout for a boxer, he said.

“It’s kind of like running with your arms, so it helps with the punching,” he said.

The 27-year-old will be taking on Langley’s Scott Woodward in the bout, two Lower Mainland fighters who both will be making their pro debuts.

“I’ve sparred against him so I know he’s no slouch and he’s going to bring his A-game,” said George, who has taken part in approximately 40 fights as an amateur. “I know we’re going to put on a show for everybody.”   

Boxing fans who tune in to the pay-per-view event can expect to see George working hard and putting up a good fight, said Sobral, his longtime trainer.

“He’s a rugged, tough guy,” said Sobrol. “He’s a south paw, unconventional. He’s awkward, but he never runs out of steam because the guy trains like a beast. … He’s just a hard worker, a grinder. I’m really proud of him, I’ll put it that way.

"He didn’t have the most talent in the world, he’s won some and lost some, but his persistence and work ethic is unbelievable.”  

When asked what his ancestors – including his great-grandfather and hereditary chief Henry George, as well as his famous great-granduncle Dan – would think of him making his pro boxing debut, Jacob said he thinks they’d be proud.

“They were canoe champions, so they knew what it took to put in hard work to win a sport,” he said.

The Back in Business fight card, presented by Three Lions Promotions, will feature Ryan Rozicki (12-0, 12 KOs) vs. former Canadian cruiserweight champion Sylvester “Sly” Louis (8-6-0, 4 KOs) in the main event. Visit the event’s webpage on Eventbrite for pay-per-view information.