The family that boxes together stays together – in the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association Hall of Fame.
The Boyce family – dad Walter along with sons Tommy, Wayne and Gerald – were among the 2011 inductees welcomed to the sweet science shrine on July 31.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard the Boyce family was inducted. It’s quite an honour,” said Tommy, who lives in Courtenay. “I only wish my brothers and my father were alive to receive the honours. We are the first family to be inducted and although I am the only member still living, I am proud to be part of the family’s induction.”
Boyce (who was profiled in the Feb. 25 Record) is awaiting word on if there will be an induction ceremony, and he is also standing by for confirmation that he has been made an honorary director of the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association (BCABA). “It is my understanding that the honorary directorship will take effect immediately. I am waiting for confirmation. I am ready to get involved right away now that I am retired and have some extra time on my hands.”
The Boyce brothers developed their boxing skills under their dad’s watchful eye. “My father founded the Astoria Boxing Club (in 1966). He managed it for many years and that was where my brothers and I learned to box. He also taught the younger kids coming in how to box and it kept them off the street,” Boyce recalled.
“My dad never asked for fees for the kids that couldn’t afford to join the boxing club and there was no charge for mouth guards and skipping ropes or T-shirts for kids that came from less fortunate families.”
While Gerald (aka “Tubby”) was perhaps the lesser known of the three siblings, Tommy and Wayne fought at the international amateur level (Tommy attended the Olympic trials and Wayne went to the Pan-Am Games), won Canadian championships and racked up numerous Golden Glove honours during their heydays in the 1960s. Tommy also had a brief career as a pro.
“Tommy and Wayne Boyce will always be thought of as spokes that drove the wheel of amateur boxing,” Stanley F. Smith, a respected, longtime member of the BCABC, told B.C. amateur boxing historian Brian Zelley.
Al Principe, who helped establish the BCABA and was honoured by them in 1976 for Outstanding Achievement, shared his memories of the Boyces with Zelley.
“Tommy’s open senior tenure included garnering the Triple Crown (Tacoma, Portland, Seattle Golden Gloves), representing Canada at the AAU nationals and a Canadian title.
“In Canada’s Centennial Year, Wayne brought honour to B.C. amateur boxing from Golden Gloves tournaments. Gold was also Wayne’s in the Canadian championships in 1967,” Principe recalled.
Noting that none of the Boyces are in the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, Zelley is forwarding news of the family’s induction into the BCABA hall to them and is renewing the nomination of Tommy and Wayne in hopes that the Sports hall doors will also swing open to members of the famed fighting family.
“My father and brother Gerald were never nominated to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame but Wayne and myself were both nominated and never inducted,” said Boyce. “Our case of trophies and medals is still archived there.
“Both Wayne and I are nominated to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and I really hope that we are both inducted this time around. It would be an incredible honour at this time in my life. It would be nice to know that we had made a mark and would go down in history. Kind of like the final curtain – it’s a little late for a comeback,” Boyce quipped.
Former Canadian pro boxer Gord Racette is among those who have come out swinging on behalf of Boyce’s inclusion in the B.C. Sports hall.
“I understand Tommy was nominated for the Sports Hall of Fame, and if he wasn’t he should be!” Racette (who fought Travor Berbick for the Canadian heavyweight championship in Nanaimo in 1982) told Zelley.
“I worked out with him many times and he and his family were fantastic putting in their time teaching kids and adults alike. Tough area of town and they made a difference in many lives,” Racette said.
Jason Beck, curator of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fames, notes the final decision for induction to the hall rests with a 13-member panel which meets every November after considering nominations separately and votes on the various categories by secret ballot.
“The public can submit nominations and letters of support, but the final vote rests with our independent selection committee consisting of members of the media, B.C. Sports Hall of Fame
trustees, and members of the sports community. Members are chosen from around B.C. and are rotated annually,” Beck noted.
While he awaits news from the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, Boyce is enjoying life with his wife Joy (“She’s kept me together for the last six years.”) and his faithful canine companion Rocky – named after heavyweight champ Marciano, not the film character.