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Calgary Champions Charity Bash puts Muay Thai, pro wrestling, and boxing in the ring for KidSport

The gloves are coming off this May, as some of the city’s top martial arts and wrestling athletes are joined by VIPs for a full slate of bouts in support of KidSport.

On Saturday, May 20, at the Max Bell Centre, Muay Thai World Cup and Dungeon Wrestling will be holding a day of Muay Thai, pro wrestling, and white collar VIP boxing matches, with proceeds going to support families without equitable access to sport.

The announcement of the charity fundraiser took place at The Hitman Bar, with Bret “Hitman” Hart in attendance promoting the event.

“I just think it’s such a great, great organization, and that there’s so much to give to young kids—especially kids that are underprivileged,” said Hart.

“I had that KidSport when I was a kid, and would have been a blessing for me. I just really appreciate all that they do, and I think it’s a great organization and I’m really happy to just support it every way I can.”

KidSport supports children and their families that are unable to pay for sports registrations and sports equipment, in order to promote social, mental, and physical well-being. Each year the charity serves roughly 6,000 Calgary families and distributed over 13,000 pieces of sporting equipment.

Kieran Keddle, CEO of MTWC Promotions said that the bottom line for the event was to raise awareness and much-needed funding for KidSport.

Three years in the making for a big, big show

He said that the event has been in the planning for three years, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

“I feel especially after Covid to try and put an event together was very difficult, and to try and raise morale was really difficult,” he said.

“If we can do this and get the city together, I think it’s gonna be a big boost for 2023.”

In the next few weeks, MTWC will be revealing the fight cards, and the celebrity VIPs that will be taking part in the boxing match, which promised broadcaster and local sports hall of fame member Rob Kerr, would be among the city’s most prominent.

On top of that, Kerr himself said he was challenging a wrestling legend in his own right, Andy Anderson, in a rematch after his 2022 Bret Hart Hitman Hockey wrestling after-show loss.

“I’m refusing to box. I want this to be a celebrity wrestling match. For the next three months I’m gonna dedicate myself to beating that mammoth, big, bald monkey,” boasted Kerr.

Tickets for the Champions Charity Bash go on sale this week.

Inaugural event in May, but annual event planned

Keddle said that they plan to turn the Champions Charity Bash into an annual event.

That plan to provide long-term support to KidSport, said KidSport Calgary CEO Kevin Webster, would go a long way to addressing the demand for their services in the city.

“Anytime we can say annual, well, when we look at the growth of our organization in terms of the demand that is on us from families—$1.75 million distributed last year, and it’s only going to grow,” Webster said.

Webster said that prior to Covid, 40 per cent of the revenue the organization gained through fundraising came through events. That dwindled significantly throughout the pandemic.

“You see them starting to come back on the map again, and to have some new ones like this one are really at the core of what we’re able to do,” he said.

“Not only in that they raise big dollars for us, but they also introduce us to a huge following of people that can maybe help us help another family, or introduce us to new donors and new partners that want to get behind the cause and support what we do.”

As part of the event, Webster said that they would be working towards providing some free Friday sessions leading up to the main event, and then would be working with their families to get some of them into the main show on Saturday.

“Without a doubt, we want to make sure some families get in into Max Bell and can take part in an event that’s going to be a big part of us helping them,” he said.