Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club

Amherstburg Firefighters Association donates to boxing club



By Ron Giofu


Members of the Amherstburg Fighting Island Boxing Club pour their blood and sweat into every training night and every fight.

Now, they need a new mat in their sparring ring because of that blood and sweat, as well as the rips and tears.

The Amherstburg Professional Firefighters Association was at the boxing club last Wednesday night and donated $500 towards the new mat. The current mat has been there the entire ten years that the boxing club has been located in the former Scout Hall at the corner of Victoria St. S. and Simcoe St.

Firefighter association members B.J. Wilder and John Bondy were at the boxing club last Wednesday making the presentation to Joe LeBlanc and Ken French. Wilder said the association fundraises all year and makes donations to causes and people in order to give back to the community.

Amherstburg Firefighters Association members John Bondy and B.J. Wilder (left) present a $500 cheque to Joe LeBlanc and Ken French of the Fighting Island Boxing Club. The money will be put towards replacing the canvas and mat in the boxing ring at the club.

“We’re contributing to them getting a new apron,” said Wilder, whose daughter boxes out of the club.

LeBlanc, who owns the club as well as coaches the fighters, was thrilled with the donation.

“We’re ecstatic,” he said. “This is a nice chunk of change. We’re in need a new canvas. We’re in desperate need.”

The current canvas is ripped and patched with duct tape with LeBlanc adding there is “a lot of blood and sweat, for sure” on it.

“It’s kind of rotting away on us,” he said.

Once the club raises enough money – total cost is about $1,800 – for the mat and the canvas, members of the Fighting Island Boxing Club will install it themselves.

The Fighting Island Boxing Club invites members of the community to like its Facebook page or join its group.

Local boxers excel at Ontario Bronze Gloves tournament



By Ron Giofu


A quartet of local boxers went to the Ontario Bronze Gloves tournament and did well for their club and for themselves.

The tournament, held June 1-3 in Etobicoke, saw fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club come home with one gold medal and three silver medals.

Nathan DiPasquale returned to the ring and fought in the 69kg weight class, winning a silver medal. He fought once.

“I hadn’t fought competitively for eight years but I fought good, losing a split decision,” said DiPasquale. “I could have won, but I was a little anxious, a little nervous.”

DiPasquale said school and work were reasons he stepped away from the ring and had only been training for about six months prior to his fight.

“I really want to get in there and see where I was at,” said DiPasquale. “It was a good test and one judge thought I won the fight.”

DiPasquale thanked the coaches as well as the young boxers at the club.

“They are really inspirational. They work hard day in and day out,” he said.

Fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club brought home one gold and three silvers from the recent Ontario Bronze Gloves tournament. From left: Nathan DiPasquale, Brandon French, Carter White and Neo Mulder.

Brandon French captured gold in the 40kg weight class.

“I am the two-time Bronze Gloves champion,” French pointed out. “I fought pretty well.”

One of his wins was by split decision so French knows he has room to get better. It was his eighth and ninth fights overall.

“It was another fight to put under my belt,” he said.

Carter White lost a split decision in his only boxing match of the tournament.

“I got the wind knockout of me in the first round,” White acknowledged.

White believes he is improving in the ring.

“It was probably my best fight so far,” he said. “I’m more used to it now. It’s getting a little easier. I’m not as nervous.”
White added “once it’s done, it’s done” and he is ready to move on. He fought out of the 54kg weight class.

Neo Mulder fought in his first boxing match and came away with silver in the 40kg weight class. He knows what he needs to do to get better.

“It was fun,” said Mulder. “I should have punched more – a lot more.”

Matt DiPasquale coached the fighters at the Bronze Gloves tournament.

“I thought they represented our gym well. They fought with heart and determination,” he said.

Noting that Fighting Island Boxing Club members have a reputation of being tough to fight against, Matt DiPasquale said they held true to their reputation at the Bronze Gloves tournament.

Local boxers do well at Ontario championship



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club (FIBC) sent six fighters to the Ontario Provincial Championships earlier this month and all six came home with medals.

The haul included four gold medals and two silver medals. FIBC owner/coach Joe LeBlanc noted the fights were at the Don Valley Centre in Toronto and featured fighters from all different weight classes.

“We had two rings going twice a day for a few days,” said LeBlanc. “We did exceptionally well.”

Spencer Quinn stopped his opponent, Riley Moore from the KAYO boxing club in Chatham in the first round for his gold medal in the 150-pound class while Jesse Hasson defeated Jackson Cook out of Cabbagetown Boxing Club in Toronto by unanimous decision for his gold in the 95 pound class.

Tiago Baltiero boxed out of the 175 pound weight class and defeated Andrew Wrzeszlz from the Dewith boxing club out of Brampton via second round referee stoppage.

Luca Cappola also won gold, beating Justin Marquez in the 120 pound weight class by unanimous decision. Marquez was out of Waterloo.

Local fighters did well at the recent Ontario championships. From left: coach Ken Quinn, Brandon French, Spencer Quinn, Carter White, Jesse Hasson and coach Joe LeBlanc. Tiago Baltiero and Luca Cappola are absent.

Brandon French took home a silver medal, losing a split decision in the 88 pound weight class to Dimitrious Maumous of Cabbagetown. Carter White lost a split decision to Luca Radan of the Bam Niagara club in the 108 lbs. class.

“All in all, they did exceptionally well,” said LeBlanc.

French said his fight was a learning experience.

“I lost but I’m not going to let it get to me,” said French. “I fought my fight and I’m going to train hard and get fired up for the next time.”

White said “unlike my first fight, this one last all three rounds.” He said there were two standing eight counts “and that’s why I lost” but remains confident and will work hard towards his next fight as well.

Quinn he was nervous going into his gold medal fight but that helped him keep his edge and win.

“I stopped the kid in the first round,” he said. “I was pretty nervous but I stayed calm all the way.”

Hasson said he stepped in the ring with a good attitude and that helped him win.

“The person I fought was a pretty good fighter but not as good as me,” he said. “I won all three rounds. I was glad with the way that I fought.”

Baltiero and Cappola were unavailable for comment.

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.