Four local fighters come home with medals from recent Silver Gloves boxing tournament



By Ron Giofu


Four local fighters that train out of the Fighting Island Boxing Club travelled to the recent Silver Gloves tournament and came home with medals.

Tyler Fraser and Jesse Carter each won gold medals, Eric Leardi captured a silver medal and Nate DiPasquale won a bronze medal.

Leardi said it was his first experience at a boxing tournament and the super-heavyweight spent six months training.

“We’ve got a good team here. We get along well and we push each other,” said Leardi.

The Silver Gloves tournament was a “phenomenal experience” and that he “can’t say enough” about how good it was. He said boxing has a perception of being a barbaric sport are not the case, praising the sportsmanship that goes into it.

“It’s a team sport. It’s very humbling,” he said. “You really get a different level of competitive bonding.”

DiPasquale said the experience at the Silver Gloves tournament was fun, stating he had a good game plan going in.

Four fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club won medals recently at the Silver Glovers tournament. From left: Tyler Fraser, Nate DiPasquale, coach  Matt DiPasquale, Eric Leardi, Jesse Carter.

“I thought I fought well,” he said. “I felt I fought well with one of the elite guys in my division.”

DiPasquale, who fought in the 152 lbs. weight class, said it was definitely one of his bigger fights and wanted to use it as a measuring stick to see how far he has progressed. He believes his progress is due to his teammates at the Fighting Island Boxing Club as well as the coaches.

“It feels good,” Carter said of his gold medal.

Carter fought twice with his weight class being 132 lbs. He said when you walk out of the ring as the best in the province at your age and weight class, “it shows how far you’ve come.”

This is one of the bigger fights he’s been in, said Carter, who trains at the Fighting Island Boxing Club about three nights per week.

Fraser said “it feels pretty good. I worked pretty hard for it so I’m glad I got the win.”

The gold medal was one of Fraser’s bigger accomplishments and was his third fight. He said it was “pretty special” to come home with a gold medal.

“I train every day (the boxing club) is open,” he said. “Then I go to the gym and then I also work out at home.”

Fraser added he likes seeing the results of what can happen when you train hard.

Coach Matt DiPasquale said “it was an amazing experience” and that he was proud to be their coach. He said the fighters definitely exceeded expectations.

“We definitely have a name for ourselves,” Matt added, of the Fighting Island boxers. “We show up and we last. It’s always a hard fight when you fight someone from Fighting Island.”

Anyone who wishes to make a donation or sponsor the club can visit the club, located at the corner of Simcoe St. and Victoria St. S. between 6-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

“Lights Out at the Libro” coming this Saturday



By Ron Giofu


A full night of amateur boxing is coming to Amherstburg this Saturday.

The Fighting Island Boxing Club is hosting “Lights Out at the Libro” with a full card of fighters scheduled to compete in Rink A at the Libro Centre. As of press time, there were 16 boxing matches on the card.

“We’ve got six local kids fighting on the show,” said FIBC owner/coach Joe LeBlanc. “We’ve got gyms coming in from Brampton, Brantford, Toronto, Sarnia, Burlington, Windsor and Michigan. We’ve got several fighters coming from Detroit.”

Among the local fighters will be Brandon French (88 lbs. weight class), Jesse Carter (130 lbs.), Eric Leardi (200 lbs.), Tyson Whalen (165 lbs.), Carter White (117 lbs.) and Nate DiPasquale (150 lbs.).

“It will be a good show,” said LeBlanc.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the fights begin at 7 p.m. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Tickets are $20 and will be available at the door.

There will be a 50/50 draw, door prizes, food and a cash bar as well.

“Come early, get seated and enjoy a beer,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc added that it is a chance to highlight local talent. He said everyone is excited and looking forward to Saturday night’s show.

“It’s to showcase kids from our community,” he said.

Any money raised will go right back into the Fighting Island Boxing Club, LeBlanc added. Money is used to help fund out-of-town trips to tournaments and other fights.

One such out-of-town trip was last weekend when French fought the Irish national champion in Toronto. Though he didn’t win, French was happy for the experience.

“I lost my fight to the best in Europe,” said French. “I thought I did really well. It was a good experience overall. I got to meet a lot of people from a different country.”

French said he was proud of how he fought and “I’m proud of the end result.”

Whether it be in Amherstburg or elsewhere, French added he enjoys getting into the ring.

“I happy to just fight,” he said. “A fight is a fight. Win or lose, I’ll take it.”

Three local boxers bring home gold medals from Ontario Winter Games



By Ron Giofu


A trio of fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club won gold medals at the recent Ontario Winter Games.

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Tiago Balteiro participated in the March 1-4 competition and all took the top spot in their weight categories. Quinn won in the 69 kg category.

“I feel great about it,” he said. “I won the Ontario Winter Games. I was confident the whole way. I trained hard for this competition and it paid off.”

Quinn said it is the second biggest win of his career next to the provincial title he won. He does not know when his next fight is.

French also has this accomplishment near the top of his list, as he won gold in the 38 kg division.

“My fight only lasted one round,” he said, adding it was a 53-second TKO.

French started the fight fast and caused a standing eight-count to be administered to his opponent before finishing the fight off.

“’Just keep throwing’ is what I was telling myself,” said French.

Three fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club won gold at the recent Ontario Winter Games. They include (from left): Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Tiego Balteiro.

French trains daily at the Amherstburg gym and is not sure when his next fight is either, but thinks it could be in the next few weeks in London.

Balteiro fought in the 80 kg class and said it was against a tough opponent.

“It was a hard fight,” he said. “I fought well.”

Balteiro said he gave his opponent a standing eight-count in the third round.

“I thought it was one of my best fights,” he said, calling it his biggest win. “I fought older fighters.”

Noting he was relaxed in the ring, Balteiro added “it felt like another day at the office.”

Balteiro said his next fight will be in London March 24.

Fighting Island Boxing Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc said the Ontario Winter Games was based in Orillia but the boxing matches were held in Midland. There were 3,500 athletes in all with participants marching in under banners for their respective sports.

LeBlanc was pleased with how things went for his fighters.

“I was very happy, very pleased,” he said. “The kids worked hard. It proves when you work hard, things happen. It was a great experience for the kids. It was like a mini-Olympics.”

Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club does well at Brampton Cup



By Ron Giofu


A group of seven fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club all came home with medals from the recent Brampton Cup competition.

Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc called the Brampton Cup one of the biggest tournaments in Canada, noting it has been running for over 30 years and drew fighters from Nova Scotia, Quebec, British Columbia and New York.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” he said, noting it uses three rings for three days.

According to LeBlanc, local results saw Brandon French win gold, Jesse Hassen winning bronze, Kaelob Drouillard taking silver, Alex Weaving winning gold, Moise Cercel winning bronze, Luca Coppola winning gold and Tyler St. John Worth winning bronze. Age divisions of the local fighters ranged from 11-years-old to senior fighters in their early 20’s.

“That’s pretty good,” said LeBlanc. “Everybody medalled.”

Brandon French, Jesse Hassen and Moise Cercel were three of the local fighters that did well at the recent Brampton Cup tournament.

Brandon French, Jesse Hassen and Moise Cercel were three of the local fighters that did well at the recent Brampton Cup tournament.

French, Hassen and Cercel were on hand last Monday night training and felt good about how they did.

French said he was nervous heading into his first fight but those nerves went away once he stepped into the ring.

“I knew after I got into the ring that all the hard work paid off,” he said. “I feel that I did pretty well.”

“I think I did pretty well for my first fight,” added Hassen.

Hassen said he is “pretty happy with how I did” though said there is room for improvement. He believes he could have got the gold in his division if he trained a little harder.

“I’m not proud of how I did. I could have done better,” said Cercel. “I should have taken it more seriously and trained harder.”

Cercel said “there’s always another fight” and plans on working harder to ensure he achieves the success he feels he is capable of. He said he enjoys boxing but needs to remember there are other skilled fighters across the ring from him too.

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.”