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Hechler fighting his way to the top

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Apr 03, 2014 - 1:42 PM |
Training with the Top Glove Boxing Academy, Nicholas Hechler recently captured a gold medal at the Ontario Winter Games in Huntsville. Photo by Randy Pascal.

Training with the Top Glove Boxing Academy, Nicholas Hechler recently captured a gold medal at the Ontario Winter Games in Huntsville. Photo by Randy Pascal.

It is, admittedly, way too early to tell if Nicholas Hechler can make a name for himself in boxing. The early signs, however, are encouraging.

Training with the Top Glove Boxing Academy, Hechler recently captured a gold medal at the Ontario Winter Games in Huntsville, defeating Adam Villeneuve of Ottawa in the 60kg/132lbs weight class.

The local product avenged a split decision loss to Villeneuve at the Brampton Cup sustained roughly one month earlier.

"We prepared Nicholas for this bout by specifically training to what the judges want to see in the ring," said coach Gord Apolloni.

"Some tweaking in the right direction worked," he said.

The adjustments created a nice step forward for the 15-year-old who wandered over to the Top Glove Academy initially as an option for some dryland cardio cross-training to help him in hockey.

Apolloni, however, immediately spotted the potential advantages inherent in the physical make-up of his new recruit.

"The natural length of my arms and my height provide a definite advantage," said Hechler.

Still, there were some very natural reactions that must be overcome if Hechler was going to get comfortable in the ring.

"No matter how hard you train, you are going to get punched," Hechler said with a laugh.

"It's boxing, it's what happens, so you have to be prepared. Every so often, you'll get your bell rung."

With only a small handful of fights on his resumé, Hechler understands full well that time in the ring, facing worthy opponents, is what is most needed to start fine-tuning his technique.

That said, he has begun to notice certain preferences, even as he prepares to celebrate his one-year anniversary as a boxer.

"I usually fight people that are a lot shorter than me," he explained.
"I'll get in close, throw my jab, throw my right and then go for something open."

By his own admission, Hechler is not the ultra-aggressive type, the angry young man in need of an outlet. He can easily empathize with those who feel a certain apprehension in the face of combat.

"You're outside the ring, you see your opponent and you just feel those butterflies," he said. "It's a little scary."

Maybe a little less scary thanks to good coaching.

"You come to Gord and he'll teach you how to block, and you won't have to worry, as much, about getting punched."

And even to a young, relatively inexperienced fighter, that is a good thing.
Local fans will hopefully get the chance to see Hechler in action on May 10, with Apolloni planning a Saturday evening card at the new location of the Top Glove Academy.

The group now runs their training sessions out of 19 Regent St., the old Navy League Hall directly across from Queen's Athletic Field. For more information, interested parties are welcome to contact Apolloni directly at 705-561-7215.

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