Joe LeBlanc

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.

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.”

Local boxers do well at Ontario Summer Games

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A trio of local boxers came home with medals after competing at the recent Ontario Summer Games (OSG).

Kaleob Drouillard and Jacob Robinson each captured gold medals in their respective age categories while Payton Holan brought home a silver medal. The OSG was held Aug. 11-14 in Mississauga.

The local boxers came from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club with owner/coach Joe LeBlanc stating there were 3,400 athletes overall. He compared it to a “mini-Olympics” complete with opening ceremonies where athletes coming in under the banners of the sport they were competing in.

“It was really cool,” said LeBlanc.

Robinson fought in the defending Ontario champion in his weight class, Louie Reyes out of Toronto, and came away with a split decision victory. It was a measure of revenge for Robinson, who lost to Reyes in the Ontario finals.

“It was definitely redemption,” said Robinson. “I definitely didn’t want to leave it to another close decision. I wanted to make sure that I won and I did what I had to do.”

Kaleob Drouillard (left) and Jacob Robinson won gold medals at the recent Ontario Summer Games in Mississauga. Payton Holan (absent from picture) won a silver medal.

Kaleob Drouillard (left) and Jacob Robinson won gold medals at the recent Ontario Summer Games in Mississauga. Payton Holan (absent from picture) won a silver medal.

For Drouillard, it was his first tournament but he clearly got off to a good start. He defeated Unan Carcaro of Brampton by unanimous decision.

“At first, I was very nervous,” he said.

Once the fight started, he felt good and winning his age group gave him a boost of confidence going forward.

“It was my first tournament and I got my first gold medal,” said Drouillard. “I’ve got visions of getting more and more and to get better and better.”

Holan won his first fight against Brecken Lavallee from Sarnia but lost in the gold medal match against Christian Freitas of Toronto.

LeBlanc said many of the other clubs the Amherstburg Fighting Island Boxing Club was competing against have a lot more people to draw from, so he was pleased with how his fighters did.

“We continue to go to provincial competitions and come home with gold medals,” said LeBlanc. “We go to these places with millions of people to draw from. It speaks volumes of the kids in this community. It really does.”