Boxing helped his son and now Paul Huber wants to give back to others.
The longtime South Cariboo resident opened a new boxing gym – Paul’s Boxing School – this spring at the old Buffalo Creek Elementary School gymnasium.
“I missed this so much, being a coach. I didn’t have that peace I get when I coach,” Huber, 61, said. “It is my happy place to encourage somebody and watch them become strong and confident in themselves because they’re given an opportunity to learn.”
Boxing holds a special place in Huber’s heart thanks to what it did for his son Ken, who developed a drug habit after the family briefly moved to Alberta in 2001. When they moved to Kamloops in 2004, Ken was looking for something to do and just happened to find a boxing gym. When he started training, Huber said he saw him transform “into a different man.”
“The gym changed his thoughts so I decided I’d go down and check it out with him,” Huber said. “He was in the ring with professional fighters and they beat him hard but he would not quit.
“He rose through the Golden Gloves Boxing league and won almost every fight he got and said ‘ok dad I got this thing figured out, I’m going to go all the way to the pros’ and he did. I got to watch a young, confused drug-addicted young man become a champion, Ken ‘Heavy Hands’ Huber, through having this purpose in the boxing.”
READ MORE: Huber by KO for heavyweight title
Ken rose to become the WBC Western Canadian cruiserweight champion, and Huber began learning how to coach. He has never fought himself but enjoys supporting people through tough times. He and his son bought and ran the Kamloops Boxing Academy for a decade.
In his new endeavour, Huber is keen to mentor youth who need an outlet, but his boxing classes are open to everyone. He’s already had children, young people and even grandmothers come through his door. His lessons involve a 30-minute standard fitness routine followed by an hour of boxing practice including footwork and movement.
Fighting in a ring will come but he wants people to build up their skills on punching bags before they face an opponent.
“Skill in boxing you have to earn and in today’s society where everything is fast, it’s a whole other world. You slow down, take your time, and do that routine again and again, the exact opposite of what society is like right now.”
Huber said Ken has offered to come up from Logan Lake this summer to help coach. Over the summer he plans to move some of the training outside, such as flipping tires and climbing stairs, to build strength.
“I want people to come in here and leave knowing they can defend themselves,” Huber said. “Don’t come in here thinking you’re going to learn how to beat people up. Boxing is about becoming that person who can move so fast you don’t have to throw a punch.”
Huber offers his boxing classes Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. The first class is free with all subsequent classes costing $10 to help cover the rental fee.
“I have always said that if you come in, you survive and you want to come back then we’ll charge you. What usually happens is you’ll either never see folks again or will never be able to get rid of them.”