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Province honours Barry Sponagle


TRENTON?- "Keep your chin down!"
If you're in the ring when Barry Sponagle is around, expect to hear those words.
A man who has traded his fair share of punches, when he speaks boxers listen.
The Trenton man is a two-time Canadian boxing champion.
"The kids have a senior person who has a history to be able to say 'I've walked the walk ,'and he can talk the talk because he's walked the walk," said Nova Scotia boxing coach Wayne Gordon.
Sponagle's start into boxing was an abrupt one. He didn't have an amateur career opting instead to go strait to pro.
"I kind of stumbled upon it," Sponagle says. "I didn't start boxing successfully until I was 21 pretty well."
His first fights were mostly losses, but gradually he got better and made a name for himself when he beat the Canadian Bantamweight Champion Jackie Burke twice in 1971. He would go on to win the two Canadian Championships and defeat some of the world's best in the ring.
He didn't go far from the ring though.
Since retiring from his own career, Sponagle has made it a point to coach young boxers with dreams of reaching his level of success.
For the last few years, that coaching has been at the Albion Boxing Club in Westville.
"His contributions here are huge," says the club coach Jim Worthen. "We have a great amount of respect for Barry and we consider him a very important part of the Albion Boxing Club."
Not to mention he's a friend, he added.
Last week the club took some time to recognize Sponagle by making public a resolution that passed in the Legislature honouring his years of contributions.
"It was passed unanimously," Worthen said.
Sponagle said he was pleased to be honoured this way.
"It feels pretty good," he said.
For him coaching provides a chance to do what he loves.
"I just love the sport and I always got along with kids," he said. "I enjoy teaching what I think I know."

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