Pianos to punches: Okanagan musician boxes for charity

Neville Bowman is stepping into the ring as a “three-round hero” in Kelowna on July 6

A Kelowna musician is adding boxer to his personal resumé.

Neville Bowman is a talented musician and has recently challenged himself to shed his instruments in favour of gloves and step into the boxing ring in support of local charities.

Fight for the Community III is a local charity boxing match where “three-round heroes” train and fundraise to support local outreach programs and recovery homes for addicts in the community.

“I think it’s about getting people to focus on their physical health as well as their mental health,” Bowman said.

“Addiction recovery is about learning about yourself I think, and boxing is like that too. Fighting might be the dumbest thing for a piano player to do, but it’s the most insane, awesome thing I’ve done in a long time.”

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Put on by local boxing gym Los Gatos Locos, the “three-round heroes” are tasked with raising $1,500 during their months of training with coach Geoff Lawrence. The money is put back into the community and donated to Okanagan recovery houses Ozanam House, Karis Support Society and Freedom’s Door. The money helps keep the doors open and allows those living in the programs to then join the boxing gym.

Bowman, who’s also a personal trainer, said boxing provides a physical distraction to the recovery home residents that take part in the boxing training.

“It’s a really good way to get people something other than the usual go-to, whether it’s drugs or alcohol. This a very real issue in Kelowna, and to just throw money at people, doesn’t necessarily help them,” he said.

“Boxing offers something else and a different focus in life.”

The fight takes over Rutland Centenniel Hall July 6.

READ MORE: Fighting for charity with local boxing club

With his fundraising complete, training all but wrapped up and his fight booked for Saturday night, Bowman is drawing confidence from his experiences as a performing musician before his first ever fight. Bowman said there are many comparable traits when going from pianos to punches.

“The parallels to music are there, to go through the motions to rehearse or train, you have to trust that process. The discipline it takes to be good at both (music and boxing) is very similar.”

He’s performed live before, but when the starting bell dings in a entirely new arena, he hopes he’s ready.

“All the stuff you learned, unless it’s really drilled into you, it will go out with the first punch,” Bowman said.

READ MORE: NHLer packed charity game raises $212,000 for Kelowna’s JoeAnna’s House

Bowman is careful to which charitable endeavors he chooses to as he needs to be 100 per cent committed. When he heard from friends that more “three-round heroes” were needed, he made the jump. Supporting the growing issue of addiction and mental health in Kelowna while promoting physical fitness through boxing was something he felt he could help with.

“I would recommend the training to anyone, it’s wonderful. And the self learning and mental fitness is really valuable to everyone and addiction recovery is about self learning,” Bowman said.

But as for the actual stepping in the ring to fight, Bowman said he’ll comment on that afterwards.

More of Bowman’s story can be found here.

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