In The Ring: Aprons for Gloves Restaurant Rumble 2016

Sarah Costa fighting in last year’s Apron’s for Gloves Restaurant Rumble. All themed photos by Guy Roland. 

By Brittany Tiplady

Wednesday night at the Commodore Ballroom will be the fifth year that local bartenders, baristas, barbers and butchers trade in their aprons for a pair of boxing gloves and raise their dukes for Eastside Boxing Club’s at-risk youth programs.

“Eastside Boxing club is a community focused gym in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We aim to be inclusive to all demographics entering the gym, and offer programs that are flexible to all interests,” said Leigh Carter, the Eastside youth program community coordinator and facilitator.

“Aprons for Gloves came into play when one of the gyms used in the community closed down.Boxing is the most accessible sport in the community for youth in that region, so a few different restaurant owners came in with the [intention] to help raise money to open a new gym,”  she said.

In light of this community void, restaurant owners contacted different hubs in Vancouver to spread the interest in boxing, inspiring service industry workers to give up their aprons and put it all out there in the ring.

To fight, each contender must raise $2,000. Proceeds go towards sustaining the Eastside Boxing Club gym and the community programs attached.

Loose Lips sat down for a Q&A with four of Apron’s for Gloves’ hopeful lady-contenders to chat about the upcoming Restaurant Rumble.


Sarah Costa 2

Boxer: Sarah Costa, 31
Day job: Imperial Vancouver
Favourite pump up tune: Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1 – Run the Jewels

Q: Any motivational mantras?
A: Whenever I don’t feel up to working out, I remind myself that right before I go out to fight, I’ll need every minute of training I had the opportunity to use, so I shouldn’t cheat myself now.

 Q: Biggest fear in the ring?
A: Running out of energy before the final bell and not being able to defend myself and deliver those punches when it counts.

Q: This is your second year in the ring. What are you hoping to achieve, challenge or change this year?
A: Last year I was very afraid of sparring, I actively avoided it and just tried to live through my time in the ring. This year, my fear has subsided enough that I am trying to work on my technique rather than just surviving until I hear the bell. I’m also trying to spar as much as I can so that when fight day comes I feel ready and confident, and not terrified. I think I’ll still be terrified.

Q: Biggest challenge in training?
A: I am a production manager for festivals and live events, and my job is busiest in the summer. Last year while training for Restaurant Rumble, I also worked on FVDED in the Park, Pemberton Festival, Jazzfest, Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Gone Country and FIFA World Cup. I had to squeeze two hours of training a day, four to five times a week, into grueling 14 to 18 hour work days. [That] involves dragging my big sweaty gym bag with me wherever I go, and dropping down to do some push-ups in the most obscure places (like backstage at Pemberton).

I also have Type 1 Diabetes, which requires round-the-clock management. In February of 2016 I switched from injections to an insulin pump, which is worn on my body in conjunction with a continuous glucose monitor 24/7. From what I’ve seen so far most serious boxers with diabetes don’t use an insulin pump as it interferes with their training. As this is not my full-time profession I need to find compromises with my diabetes management: I’ve had to re-learn how my body reacts to boxing training while on a pump, as well as how to place my insulin pump so it doesn’t get punched off during sparring. It’s an added layer of complexity to an already challenging three months. Boxing training has definitely motivated me to get in better shape and take better care of myself overall.

lauren maxwell1

Boxer: Lauren “Smashwell” Maxwell, 27
Day job: Chambar

Q: What inspired you to sign up for Aprons for Gloves?
A: While working at Chambar in 2013, my friend and co-worker Yacine Sylla (a now three-time AFG title fight champ, no big deal, ) was thinking of joining and I offered to help him with his fundraiser.

Also that year, if a fighter brought someone to be a ring girl, that fighter would get extra money donated to their fundraiser page. So of course I said yes.

Q: What are the highlights from your previous AFGBA years?
A: My first year training and fighting was 2014, that year I fought and won in an under card fight against a tough girl named Nicola [also known as] “Juice Truck 2.0”.  It was also my second year as a ring girl for the title fights. Instead of high heels, I wore my boxing boots and the medal I had just won.

In 2015, I was matched up to fight  a lovely lady named Rachenda in an under-card bout. After a tough three, one minute rounds I won, but she didn’t make it easy that’s for sure. Yacine fought and won all three of those years and I got to give him his belt back, which was pretty cool because he was the inspiration that got me into boxing.

Q: What has training for Aprons for Gloves changed about your day to day?
A: I’m now a morning dove and not just a night owl. I like to train in the morning because I’m usually working at night. Getting up super early and being on time are my new favourite things. Also I eat like a horse, pretty much all the time.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve, challenge or change in this year’s fight?
A: Every year gets better and I definitely feel stronger. Some days are amazing and others are really tough, but you just have to keep getting up and going to the gym. This year I’m trying to be a smarter boxer and move more, make longer combos or to even land a really nice left hook would be awesome.


Hanna Jane Price

Boxer: Hanna Jane Price, 36
Day job: Foodee Canada
Favourite pump up tune: Dire Straits, Money for Nothing

Q: Any motivational mantras?
A: “I can do anything for three minutes.”

Q: Where are you at in your fundraising goals?
A:  I’ve just met my minimum of $2,000 but I’m gunning for as much as I can.  Eastside Boxing’s youth programming directly addresses so many of the social issues we see in Downtown Vancouver by giving kids the opportunity to develop self-respect, fitness, community focus and drive.  Give us all your money!

Q: What has training for Aprons for Gloves changed about your day to day?
A:  I wear a lot more Lycra. On a practical level, I eat better, I sleep better, and I look forward to (almost) every training session.  And I never shut up about boxing.  Sorry, friends – at least it’s not CrossFit?

Q: This is your second year fighting, what are you hoping to achieve, challenge or change this year?
A: Last year’s goal was just getting to the ring. Sparring for the first time, overcoming the social conditioning to actually punch someone in the face – that was huge. I think my familiarity with the sport, the gym and the community eliminated a lot of the butterflies I felt last year, and I’ve been able to focus on conditioning, improving my skills, and providing support to other contenders the way alumni did for me in my first year.  The sense of family at Eastside is incredible.

emily ziff

Name: Emily Ziff (Holmes), 39
Day Job: Ask for Luigi
Favourite pump up tune: “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” by Of Montreal – mostly for running.

Q: What inspired you to sign up for Aprons for Gloves?
A: I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for a long time, and was really intrigued with the event. I started as a spectator, supporting workmates, to supporting my husband though the process last year. I really wanted to challenge myself, to see if I had it in me to commit to the training, plus the added bonus (and really the whole point) of fundraising for something that can really affect change in my neighbourhood.

 Q: How has your fitness level changed?
A: I have strength and endurance that I didn’t have before. When I miss a week of training, I’m still able to pick up almost where I left off.

Q: Before signing up for Aprons for Gloves did you ever picture yourself training for a boxing match?
A: No. Truly. It never was something I was drawn to. But it’s been so much fun. I love Coach Brian’s description of boxing as physical chess. It’s so much about strategy. While being punched in the face. What’s not to love?

Tickets for the 2016 Restaurant Rumble at the Commodore Ballroom are still available online. The Undercard fight takes place 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, and the Title Fights later that day at 7 p.m. You can donate to Aprons for Gloves and support the cause here



brittany photo

Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, and a full-time goat cheese enthusiast. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine.