Joe LeBlanc

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.”

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.

“Fights at the Knights” showcases area boxers



By Jolene Perron


“I wish more people understood what amateur Olympic boxing was all about. It’s seeing the child that had low self-esteem glow, the kid who got bullied realize that he will not stand for it. Seeing quiet kids become leaders helping other quiet ones. Just ask a parent, and hear what they say.”

President of Fighting Island Boxing Club Joe LeBlanc said while most people believe what they see in the movies and on television, that’s not what true amateur Olympic boxing is.

LeBlanc said they try to hold shows once or twice a year to help fund other tournaments and shows they attend throughout the year, and to showcase their young up and coming fighters.

Brandon French connects with a punch versus Owen Will during their matchup Nov. 18. It was one of the boxing matches at “Fights at the Knights.”

“Every athlete that wants to fight can, providing that they are ready mentally and physically,” said LeBlanc. “All competitors are matched according to their age, weight and experience. When they are in a competition judges determine the outcome, as to who wins. All is done on points. There are three judges and a referee determining the fight.”

During the Nov. 18 event at the Columbus Community Hall, gyms from Toronto, Waterloo, London, Chatham, Sarnia and Windsor all came out. All the fighters who participated Nov. 18 will be participating in the provincials in Toronto Dec. 7-10. The event also served as a tribute to a fallen member.

Rebecca D’Adostin (right) makes
contact with her opponent Bridget Doyle during their matchup.

“Stevie Wigle started at the gym when he was 10-years-old and competed continually until his accident,” said LeBlanc. “Stevie was principal champ and attended the national championships representing Ontario two times, medalling both times. He was starting the process of becoming a new coach, and was a mentor to all the young fighters in the club.”

Fighting Island Boxing Club winners of the night included Brandon French, Jesse Hasson, who was also named boxer of the night, Lucca Capola and Spencer Quinn. LeBlanc said “Stevie Wigle was smiling down on all of his club mates.”

For more information on Fighting Island Boxing Club, visit them at 300 Victoria St. S. or give them a call at 519-962-5186.

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.