Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club

Fighting Island Boxing Club hosting show this Saturday night

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Fight fans don’t have to leave Amherstburg this weekend in order to see a night of amateur boxing.

Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club (FIBC) will host “Fight at the Knights” this Saturday night at the Columbus Community Hall (formerly known as the Knights of Columbus Hall) at 190 Richmond St. Barring any last minute changes to the card, there will be about a dozen fights scheduled.

Local fighters will include 11-year-old Brandon French, 12-year-old Jesse Hasson, 11-year-old Carter White, 17-year-old Luca Capola, 14-year-old Spencer Quinn, 23-year-old Matt DiPasquale, 24-year-old Nate DiPasquale, 24-year-old Noram Lachance and 27-year-old Tyson Whalen.

Fighting Island Boxing Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc said a number of gyms from around southwestern Ontario are sending fighters.

“We’ve got gyms coming in from all over the place,” he said, listing Windsor, Kitchener, Waterloo, Chatham-Kent, Brampton, London and Toronto as places were boxers are coming from.

The “Fight at the Knights” show will also be in memory of former FIBC fighter Stevie Wigle, who passed away earlier this year.

“We’re going to do this show in memory of him,” said LeBlanc, adding the music played between fights will be music Wigle enjoyed.

LeBlanc added they are looking at other ways to honour Wigle, including possibly purchasing a memorial bench.

Wigle had been with the FIBC for seven years and was a hero to the younger fighters, LeBlanc said.

“He was their mentor,” said LeBlanc. “They are fighting in his memory.”

Proceeds from Saturday night’s boxing show will help the FIBC with travel and accommodation costs for their trip to the provincial championships in Toronto this December.

“Every penny that comes in is for the kids,” said LeBlanc.

Doors open at 6 p.m., fights start at 7 p.m. There will be a cash bar, 50/50 draw and prize draws. Admission is $15, payable at the door.

 

Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club brings home five gold medals from recent tourney

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Five boxers from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club travelled to Toronto recently and all came home with gold medals.

The fighters went to the Ontario Bronze Gloves tournament at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel May 26-28, a tournament that saw two rings busy with boxing matches most of the weekend, said Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said he didn’t know of any other club that won five gold medals, adding he also didn’t recall another occasion when Fighting Island boxers won five gold medals at a competition.

“It was nice,” said LeBlanc. “There was every gym in the province there. It’s a big deal.”

LeBlanc added there was a 10-count for Stevie Wigle, a fighter from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club who died April 14. The fighters from Amherstburg fought in Wigle’s memory, he said.

Brandon French, who won gold in the Jr. A 42kg weight class, said he went into the ring nervous but “the bell rang and I knew what I had to do.”

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French, Alexander Weaving, Jesse Hasson and Luca Coppola all won gold at the Ontario Bronze Gloves boxing tournament held the last weekend in May in Toronto. All compete out of Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club. (Special to the RTT)

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French, Alexander Weaving, Jesse Hasson and Luca Coppola all won gold at the Ontario Bronze Gloves boxing tournament held the last weekend in May in Toronto. All compete out of Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club. (Special to the RTT)

French said he fought in memory of Wigle, whom he called a friend.

French’s fight lasted all of 40 seconds and he is now 2-0 in his boxing career. He said he trains every night for about three hours.

Spencer Quinn won gold in the Jr. B 70kg category.

“I actually feel pretty good about it,” said Quinn. “It feels good to come home provincial champ.”

Quinn said he was excited to get into the ring and said he wasn’t nervous very much. He admitted to being a bit “rusty” in the third round to the point where he though he lost it, but ended up winning a unanimous decision.

Jesse Hasson, who won in the Jr. A 42kg weight class, said he was confident he was going to win the fight.
“I went in with a good attitude,” said Hasson.

Hasson said he made his opponent have two standing eight counts while he was not the victim of one himself. He said he was excited about his win “and glad I won the gold.”

Alexander Weaving won gold in the Jr. C open 66kg class while Luca Coppola won in the youth 56kg class. Neither was available for comment when the RTT attended the boxing club last Wednesday night.

Local boxers do well at provincials

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A group of fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club returned from the recent provincial tournament with medals.

Moise Cercel lost a split decision in his third fight and came home from Toronto with a bronze medal in the senior 152 lbs. weight class. Caleb Drouillard had two fights and came home with a gold medal in the 132 lbs. weight division.

Jacob Robinson lost his fight in the elite open division but still came home with a bronze medal while James Durocher won silver in the 132 lbs. weight class.

Spencer Quinn won silver in the 64-68 kg. weight class while Brandon French travelled with the group but he was unable to have an opponent located for him.

“It was an exceptional weekend,” said LeBlanc.

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Jacob Robinson were three of the Amherstburg's Fighting Island Boxing Club's medalists at the recent provincials.

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Jacob Robinson were three of the Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club’s medalists at the recent provincials.

LeBlanc said fights went for four days the weekend earlier this month with “hundreds of athletes” on hand competing for medals.

Quinn said it was his second fight and he was pleased with how he performed.

“I did pretty well,” he said. “I was nervous going in. I learned I can’t be nervous and to put my hands up.”

The 13-year-old looks forward to his next fight in Ajax in a couple of weeks as does Robinson. Robinson said it was his first fight in the elite open division but noted “I’m fighting the best fighters in the province.”

Even though he lost, Robinson saw the positives.

“You learn more from losses than you do from wins,” said Robinson.

Robinson was happy with how the weekend went, noting he learned about moving his head more, standing on his toes and keeping his hands up.

French, who couldn’t get a fight in his 70 lbs. weight class, said it was still a worthwhile weekend for him.

“It was fun. I saw new things from other people that I’d like to try in the ring,” he said. “It helped me out. It was a great learning experience. I was really happy I went.”

LeBlanc pointed out he doesn’t have close to the talent pool to draw from as clubs in the larger cities like Toronto do, but he said his fighters still did very well.

“It speaks volumes for the community,” he said. “It speaks volumes for the kids and their heart and determination. You need to have heart first. You can’t teach heart.”

Local boxers win medals at national championships

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club came home with medals from the last month’s Canadian National Boxing Championships.

Ricardo Siwak and Steve Wigle won gold and bronze respectively at the tournament in Quebec City. Siwak’s gold came in the junior division as he defeated Gabriel Tremblay from Quebec in the finals. Wigle landing a bronze medal after a loss in the semi-finals to Derek Pomereau from Quebec, the latter going on to win the gold medal.

Joe LeBlanc, owner and coach at Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club, said they arrived at the tournament Easter Sunday with fights starting the next day. Wigle, a 118 lbs. fighter, beat the number one seed before losing to the Quebec southpaw. Siwak, a 225 lbs. boxer, won both of his fights.

Both fighters are 16-years-old.

Ricardo Siwak (left) and Steve Wigle won gold and bronze respectively at the recent Canadian National Boxing Championships.

Ricardo Siwak (left) and Steve Wigle won gold and bronze respectively at the recent Canadian National Boxing Championships.

“It was a great tournament for the kids,” said LeBlanc. “It was a good experience for them.”

Wigle said he was “pretty excited” to come home with a bronze medal.

“I’m proud that I got a medal, even if it was a bronze,” said Wigle.

Pomereau’s style was “tricky” to fight against, he said, but added it just wasn’t his day to begin with.

“I wasn’t feeling my best that day and I let that go to my head,” said Wigle. “I lost because of that.”

Wigle added he will become hungrier and go after the gold medal next year at the national competition. He is still pleased with the bronze, however.

“I’m excited and happy to be ranked that high,” he said.

Siwak was thrilled with his performance at the tournament and the fact he came home with the gold.

“It’s a feeling you can’t describe,” said Siwak. “It’s crazy. It’s the best of the best there.”

Siwak added that everyone is out to win and “it’s hard to believe” that he came out on top. In the gold medal bout, he said he felt good during it.

“I felt I was winning,” he said. “I felt I was dominating the fight.”

Noting that he will try to continuously improve, he wants to get as many fights as he can get but is still thrilled by his gold medal.

“It was crazy to finally achieve something you have worked for your whole life. It’s unbelievable,” said Siwak.

Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club is holding its own show April 23 at the Libro Centre. Tickets will be available at the door and will be $15 each. The fights start at 7 p.m.

Local fighters do well at Ontario Bronze Gloves, two moving on to nationals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Fighters out of Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club are headed to the nationals in Quebec later this month while others did well at the recent Ontario Bronze Gloves competition.

Steve Wigle and Ricardo Siwack are going to the Canadian National Championships in Quebec City March 28-April 2, with them fighting in the 54kg and 81kg weight classes respectively.

Among the fighters experiencing success recently include (from left): Steve Wigle, Jacob Robinson and Moise Cercel.

Among the fighters experiencing success recently include (from left): Steve Wigle, Jacob Robinson and Moise Cercel.

Several others went to Toronto last month and won medals at the Ontario Bronze Gloves. Alexander Weaving won a silver in 51kg, losing only to the Canadian National Champion. Jacob Robinson also brought home a silver medal in the 60kg class, though coach/club owner Joe LeBlanc questioned the decision.

Moise Cercel won a gold medal as he won in the 69kg weight class. Cercel stopped his opponent with a second round TKO.

The fights were held in the Don Valley Centre in Toronto. LeBlanc added it was the final way to see fighters and whether they qualify for the nationals.

LeBlanc added it’s been a good year for the local club, adding a lot of young fighters are just getting started as well.

Wigle said he is excited about heading to nationals and is confident in his ability to win it. He said he is training four times per week to prepare for it.

Robinson said he is happy with his silver.

“It wasn’t too bad but there’s always room for improvement,” he said of his performance at the Bronze Gloves tournament.

Robinson said he has to work on his defense and his angles in order to improve.

Cercel said he felt good about his performance and that defense was something he would like to improve as well.

“I need to keep my hands up more and work on my defense,” he said.

Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club is holding its own show April 23 at the Libro Centre. Tickets will be available at the door and will be $15 each. The fights start at 7 p.m.