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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The first local fight event in more than three years has Fivestar Boxing & MMA coach Justin Donally preparing more than ever.

Fight Night 24 is set for April 16th, 2022, at the Fort St. John Curling rink, and as the announcement says, “yes, we have a backup plan in case of restrictions.”

Donally says he’s had this event in the works for months, but he’s just trying to temper expectations after being burned before in 2020.

“I just sat on it. I should have probably sat on it until the end of the month because of these COVID-19 restrictions, but I’ve got high hopes that we’ll be able to plow through on it now,” said Donally.

Because the event would impact boxers’ rankings, Donally believes they should be in the clear.

“From what I understand from Boxing BC, anything that can affect rankings towards national championships or Olympic goals can continue, so the event is good. I did go with the curling rink because of the high capacity.”

If the restrictions limit capacity at indoor events, Donally says 50 per cent at the curling rink would be between 400 and 500 people.

“We can probably get 400 to 450 spectators in there at 50 per cent capacity restrictions, so that was kind of the idea of going to the rink to begin with.”

The curling rink hosted the first ever event in Fort St. John, and Donally says it drew a huge crowd.

“The very first MMA show that we ever did in Fort St. John was at the curling rink, and I think we broke BC attendance records. There were something like 1,600 people.”

Fight Night 24 will be mainly a boxing card, with the possibility of some fan favourites returning for a kickboxing exhibition.

“A couple of my old MMA guys that were really big fan favourites in town here want to come back and maybe do a boxing or kickboxing match, so that’s kind of fun.”

Having planned an event in 2020 and having it cancelled due to restrictions three weeks out, Donally says he’s learned a thing or two about how to prepare.

“Instead of having the exact date on my trophies and stuff, I’m just going to do the year, things like that because we know things could change.”

Even if they have to delay it, the curling rink plans to accommodate the event. If that falls through, Donally says they’ll do it outside.

“If we have to move it a few weeks or something, worst case scenario, if things don’t go over well, I’ll do it at the start of June, and I’ll do it outside.”

According to the post, tickets will be on sale in February.

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