A glove af­fair for 61-year-old

Af­ter two kid­ney surg­eries, Charles Wil­lis likes noth­ing bet­ter than punch­ing out his frus­tra­tions

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS - BY FRAM DINSHAW

Charles Wil­lis first donned box­ing gloves when he was 12.

Now 61, with kid­ney surgery be­hind him, Wil­lis is ready to let his fists fly again.

But since step­ping into the ring against an­other boxer could put his kid­neys in jeop­ardy, his work­outs will be on Be­yond Box­ing Fit­ness Stu­dio’s punch­ing bag.

“I just want to get back into shape and do the things I en­joy do­ing. I still have a lot of life left,” said Wil­lis. “I get a thrill out of watch­ing other peo­ple do­ing it, hit­ting the bags, I just love it and some­times you have to beat out your frus­tra­tions. How bet­ter than to hit the bag?”

As a young­ster, Wil­lis had plenty of ring fights with the Truro Po­lice Boys Club, now the Boys and Girls Club of Truro and Colch­ester.

It was 1969, and Wil­lis had just moved back home to Truro with his fam­ily from New York. While he en­joyed street hockey and bas­ket­ball, Wil­lis quickly fol­lowed his friends into ama­teur box­ing.

“I love com­pe­ti­tion,” he said. “All my friends who be­longed to the Boys Club also started box- ing. We’d all travel to Monc­ton, down to the Truro Le­gion Sta­dium; the Boys Club used to put on fight cards there. This was all ama­teur. I was just a sports jock at a very young age.”

To­day at Be­yond Box­ing in Truro, Wil­lis trains and re­ceives reg­u­lar in­struc­tion, drop­ping into the club’s Es­planade Street stu­dio for week night ses­sions. He joined the club when it opened in Septem­ber.

Wil­lis is the club’s old­est mem­ber and at­tends with his 23-year-old son Tyrel Best, who he lives with in Truro.

While Wil­lis can­not box in the ring, he says the club is a good way for him to meet peo­ple and so­cial­ize, while keep­ing his fit­ness lev­els up.

When he’s not hit­ting the punch­ing bag, Wil­lis fo­cuses on car­dio train­ing and body­work to keep his mus­cles toned.

“It does ev­ery­thing for you. It will get you and your friends out, makes you feel good,” said Wil­lis. Out­side the club, Wil­lis has three other sons.

Twenty-two-year-old Taeshon shares his fa­ther’s sport­ing pas­sion, hav­ing pre­vi­ously at­tended high school in Ver­mont to pur­sue his bas­ket­ball ca­reer.

Mean­time, 26- year- old Trevon is an army of­fi­cer based in Ed­mon­ton and his old­est son Charles Chase, 41, is cur­rently re­lo­cat­ing from Win­nipeg to Toronto.

FRAM DINSHAW/TRURO NEWS

Charles Wil­lis is in his six­ties and still dons his box­ing gloves and swings his arms at the punch­ing bags. While a re­cent op­er­a­tion on his kid­neys means that he can­not box com­pet­i­tively as he did in his younger days, he still at­tends train­ing ses­sions at the Be­yond Box­ing Fit­ness Stu­dio on Truro’s Es­planade Street on week­day evenings.

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