The Hammonds Plains boxer has golden dreams for the Canada Games
Jullian Wilson, 17, is training to represent Nova Scotia at the Canada Games, one of seven boxers fighting for the province when the games begin February 18 in Prince Edward Island.
His amateur career has seen him travel from his home in Hammonds Plains, NS to fights around the world. His 25-3 record includes important wins at the Brampton Cup in Ontario and the European Monkstown International Boxing Cup in Ireland.
“When I had my first fight, I knew I wanted to do this,” Wilson said during a break from studying for the winter trials. He will graduate from high school later this year.
Boxing at a high level comes at a price. Wilson trains six days a week year-round.
“Sometimes when my friends do something, I either miss it or I’m late,” he said. “But you have to make sacrifices.”
When he’s not in school or training, he works for his father, who owns a refrigeration company.
Wilson credits part of his love for boxing to his family. His great-uncle was Canadian middleweight champion Ralph Hollett and his father Jerome Wilson boxed when he was younger.
His longtime trainer, Peter Martell of Titans Martial Arts and Fitness in Halifax, has helped hone his natural talent.
“He’s a good boxer, he has a lot of potential,” Martell said.
“Sometimes I think things are almost a little too easy for him. The challenge is to keep him hungry.”
Before boxing, Martell Wilson taught jiu-jitsu.
“He’s basically won every tournament he’s played in by submission,” Martell said.
“And then one day [he] said, ‘I just want to focus on boxing.'”
Wilson was coached, traveled and fought by former Olympic boxer Wayne Gordon for a time before returning to Martell’s gym.
“There are a few benchmarks in the sport,” Martell said. “If you can represent your province, that’s pretty impressive and desirable.”
Provincial coach Brad Ross values Wilson’s chances at the Canada Games.
“He’s a very intelligent boxer,” Ross said. “He uses his head a lot. His defense is very good, he moves well in the ring, he really knows where he is in the ring. Ring Generalship, we call it.”
Ross noted that Nova Scotia has always been known for having some pretty talented boxers for a small province.
“We’re quite good at national level and we’re just trying to develop our youth,” he said.
There are five male and two female weight classes at the Canada Games. Nova Scotia will compete in every class. Wilson will compete in the 63.5 kg category. All participants are 18 and under.
“We have a strong team. I think Jullian is probably our best shot at a gold medal right now,” said Ross. “He won gold at the Brampton Cup last year and has been very competitive over the past year, even through COVID.”
Wilson is focused on bringing home gold for his home province. But he expects to be tested. An Ontario fighter named Owen Paquette, who will be in his category, provided one of Wilson’s three in-ring losses.
“It’s kind of a grudge game,” Ross said of a possible fight between Paquette and Wilson.
The two may or may not compete depending on the draw of the tournament match.
“Hopefully I can avenge my loss,” Wilson said.
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