This past Thursday (Nov. 17) marked the ninth full year since the inception of the Sweet Science column in the Miramichi Leader. With Canadian boxing history being so vibrant, it has been pretty easy to write about some of the ring greats that have called this country their home.
One doesn’t have to look too far to come up with names of exciting fighters who have shaped ring history, not just in Canada but as well as on the world boxing scene.
Whenever boxing discussions take place, it’s a sure bet that the name Yvon Durelle, the “Fighting Fisherman”, will be one of the first to come up. Durelle, a native of Baie-Ste- Anne, N.B., would fight a total of 114 bouts, taking on many of the world’s best during a career that saw the pride of the Miramichi win 88 times, scoring 49 knockouts.
Yvon would win both the Canadian Middleweight and Light-heavyweight crowns, as well as the British Empire Light-heavyweight title. He’d lose in a bid at the Canadian Heavyweight crown in the 12th round, facing George Chuvalo in challenging the latter for his title, the bout against the iron-chinned Chuvalo taking place on Nov. 17, 1959, at Toronto’s famed Maple Leaf Gardens.
Previously, Durelle had shocked the boxing world on Dec. 10, 1958, at which time he had sent World Light-heavyweight champion, Archie Moore to the canvas four times before being stopped in round 11 of the scheduled 15-round world title bout held in the Montreal Forum. (The two would fight again on Aug. 12, 1959 with Moore scoring a 3rd round KO.)
Yvon Durelle “The Fighting Fisherman” In his illustrious career, Durelle would score wins over the likes of Mike Holt, Clarence Hinnant, Willie Bemanoff, Gord Wallace, and Billy Fifield. He would also battle the number one contender for the world crown, Tony Anthony to a ten-round draw.
A true boxing legend, Durelle passed away at the age of 77 on Jan. 6, 2007.
Other members of the Durelle family who left their mark on the Sport of Champions were Ernie, Rene, Rosaire (“Tiger-Lo”) and Joey. These boxers were more than willing to take on all comers and never backed down from anyone.
Gary “The Kid” McIntyre also thrilled fans during his ring career and proved himself to be another tough guy from the Baie.
LeBlanc would fight a total of 36 pro bouts and never be knocked off his feet and is remembered with thrilling fans with his great boxing skills. Had he had a little more punching power, he could very well have gone on to become a world champion.
The Maritimes produced a number of world-class fighters with Nova Scotia’s Dave Downey, Ricky Anderson, Darrell Flint, as well as brothers Chris and Allen Clarke, boxers who faced some of the world’s best over the years.
Stellarton’s Art Hafey would fight a total of 65 bouts and beat former world champs Ruben Olivares (K0 5) and Alfredo Marcano (K0 4) as well as facing ring greats Alexis Arguello and Danny Lopez. Hafey wold score 36 knockouts in his 53 career wins.
More recently, N.B. has seen several of its exciting fighters capturing Canadian titles.
St-Anne- de-Madawaska’s Eric Roy scored a stunning 2nd round KO over Moncton’s smooth-boxing Jonah Arbuckle to win the Canadian 168-pound title in 2011. Boiestown’s Chris Norrad beat Ont. veteran Frank “The Hammer” White by decision on March 10, 2012 to win the Canadian Cruiserweight title and is still undefeated at 14-0.
Fredericton’s Brandon Brewer, known as “L-Jack”, is undefeated at 20-0-1 and could be just a few fights away from challenging for a world title. The huge fan favorite Brewer is coming off a pair of exciting KO wins in front of his home-town fans and he’s getting better each time out. Look for big things for “L-Jack” in 2017!
Richibucto’s Dominic “The Dominator” Babineau has been called the next Yvon Durelle by a lot of people. The recently-turned 25-year old is riding a perfect 6-0 record (4 K0s) and he’s scheduled to take the next step in his career on Dec. 2nd when he faces fellow prospect Justin Hocko in Edmonton, Alberta. Look for the “Dominator” to capture a Canadian title in the next 12 to 18 months.
Boxing has never been as hot as it is in Canada right now.
The past nine years have seen promoters right across the country doing their parts in helping with the re-birth of the sport.
Hats off to Tyler Buxton, KO Boxing, Victory Promotion, Dwayne Storey, Last Round Boxer, Elmer Martin and L-Jack Promotions for all the work they have done to make sure that fight fans got their money’s worth while turning out in large numbers to fight cards right across Canada.
Fight fans can look forward to seeing the likes of Nathan Millier and Annie Mazerolle, along with a number of other exciting fighters giving it their all over the next while, as more fight cards ensue. Indeed, the ride is going to get even better over the next few years. Hang on to your seats, folks!
*This article was authored by Paul Doiron*