A Catamount Knockout

UVM sophomore Stephanie Steeves proved that hard work and dedication truly do pay off, gaining the title of New England boxing champion in the novice division at 132 pounds this past month.Joining Steeves at the New England championships were two other boxers from her gym, Bantam Boxing in Winooski. While her fellow fighters and Bantam Boxing members Chad Garfield and Shane Kimber didn’t leave Lowell, Mass. victorious, it was a feat just to make it that far. “I lost to a better boxer,” Garfield, the New England novice runner up in the 165 pound division, said. “I did a lot better than I thought I was going to do.” After losing one of his Golden Gloves fights and finishing as the second runnerup in the Vermont heavyweight division, Kimber traveled to Lowell intending to assist Vermont champions Steeves and Garfield.However, after the Vermont state heavyweight champ didn’t show up for his fight, Lowell officials asked Kimber to step into the ring. Kimber gladly accepted the challenge.While he lost by technical knockout in the first round, Kimber became the New England runner-up, and since the fight marked the tenth of his career, he, along with Garfield, will move up into the open division, featuring four rounds of two minutes each rather than three rounds.Along with Kimber, Steeves faced a bit of a surprise when it was time for her to fight at Lowell, as her opponent in the 132 pound division didn’t show up. Luckily for Steeves, however, one of the 141 pound championship fighters didn’t show up either, leaving the 141 pound champ, Sara Cochran, without an opponent. Steeves then stepped up and defeated Cochran in a special bout, bringing the New England champion’s career record to 2-1.”It feels great, but it definitely took a little bit to sink in,” Steeves said. Following the triumphant trip to Lowell, Steeves will have little time to rest, as she has five fights lined upthroughout the spring. A busy schedule is something Steeves is accustomed to, though, as she is at the Bantam Boxing gym seven days a week, all the while being enrolled in UVM’s honors college and taking 17 credits this semester.”It can be tiring at times, but I love doing this, so it’s worth it,” Steeves said. All three of the boxers were grateful to their trainer and founder of the Bantam Boxing Gym, Billy Lefebvre. “I’ve been here 18 months and Billy made me a state champ,” Garfield said. With a successful gym and a pair of New England champions, local fans around the state now have somewhere to look for all of their boxing needs.