Nate DiPasquale

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” presented by Fighting Island Boxing Club


By Jonathan Martin


Beer, sweat and blood all flowed freely at the Libro Centre last Saturday.

Fighting Island Boxing Club hosted its “Lights Out at the Libro” event, where 20 amateur boxers fought it out in front of professional judges and a screaming crowd.

The card included athletes from a variety of age brackets and one women’s bout.  There was also a 50/50 draw and a raffle for a boxing-themed still-life painting with a handmade frame sculpted by Amherstburg Town Councillor Leo Meloche, who said he had never attended a boxing match before.

According to Fighting Island Boxing Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc, the event went “pretty well.”

LeBlanc said that he had originally scheduled 18 boxers to compete, but lost almost half of them in the days leading up to the event.

“It tends to happen in amateur sports,” he said.  “Either people back out or have other obligations.  It is what it is.”

Nate DiPasquale strikes Quentin Broad in the last bout of the night. DiPasquale walked away victorious.

Those who did compete, though, did “fantastic,” according to LeBlanc.

“It’s not about winning or losing in a club show,” he said.  “It’s all about entertaining the public and getting these young athletes the experience in the ring.”

LeBlanc said that as long as the boxers learned something in this local event they could use in one of the larger travel tournaments, their bout was a win.

Leo Meloche (right) created a frame shaped like a boxing ring with a print he bought a few years ago and donated it back to the Fighting Island Boxing Club. The club raffled it off at the July 14 show.

Nate DiPasquale is an Amherstburg native who finished off the night with a bloodied face, a win and a smile.  He said the night benefited everyone.

“It was really great seeing all these people come out,” he said.  “Getting the community together like this, it’s good for the club and it’s good for the town.”

DiPasquale said fighting in front of his home community was both unique and empowering.  He said seeing the faces and hearing the cheers gave him a boost, but he had to reconcile that emotion with the cold precision of an intense, six-minute bout.

“You have to sort of block it all out and just focus on the other guy, where his hands are and where your head is,” he said.  “(Family and friends) will be there to celebrate with you afterwards.”

The audience’s tickets cost $20 apiece, with all the proceeds going back into Fighting Island’s non-profit programming.