Jacob Varga heads to nationals this week.

Jacob Varga heads to nationals this week.

Saanich boxer breaks family tradition

Jacob Varga spent his youth kickboxing and now sees success moving his feet a different way. He trains daily at Olsen's in Colwood.

Most days Jacob Varga trains twice at Olsen’s Gym in Colwood.

Shy of a year in the ring, the Saanich resident is already boxing his way to nationals.

He started training in January, weaning out some habits from his teen years spent kickboxing.

“I stopped when I was 16 because I  got bored with it,” he said, adding his family had continuously encouraged him to return to the sport.  “I always wanted to try boxing, but as a kid everyone I knew was always kickboxing.”

When not training in the gym, Varga runs with his older brother – world champion kickboxer Gabriel Varga –  tackling Mount Doug or doing sprints at the University of Victoria.

It didn’t take long for the younger Varga to get used to being in the same ring, with different rules.

“Boxing is a different sort of style. It’s the same punches but there’s different movement in the ring,” he said.

The fast-tracked boxer – who works with children with autism outside of training – aims to earn silver and placement on the B-team at nationals, said coach Nathan Olsen.

“The important thing with goal-setting is to not set them too high,” Olsen said. “If he wins gold and goes to the final team selections, great.”

The top four boxers at nationals are invited to final team selections for Team Canada in Quebec City next month.

“He’s strong, athletic and he is a good combination puncher,” said Olsen. “He is also really good at controlling the pace of the fight.”

Varga won gold in his division at provincials in May and dominated the ring during the Alberta Golden Gloves in September with a gold medal.

To date Varga has 11 wins in 14 bouts.

Nationals are this week, Oct. 22 to 26, in Regina.