‘DISRESPECT­FUL’

Team Canada un­happy with han­dling of Con­tender weight prob­lems

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Rachid Parch­ment/ Sports News Co­or­di­na­tor

PATRICE TRUDEAU, trainer of Team Canada’s Dave ‘Fast and Furious’ Le­blond, says he, and his fighter, find it “disrespect­ful” that Michael ‘Wasp’ Gar­dener did not make weight at yes­ter­day’s weigh-in for their sec­ond-round Wray and Nephew Con­tender bout which was sched­uled to take place at the Chi­nese Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion Au­di­to­rium tonight.

Le­blond pulled out of the fight af­ter Gar­dener reg­is­tered 151lbs on the scale at the weigh-in, four pounds more than the wel­ter­weight class for this sea­son’s com­pe­ti­tion. This was af­ter he and other Cana­dian fight­ers had threat­ened not to com­pete should their op­po­nents con­tinue show­ing up over­weight for fights, as had hap­pened three times in the pre­vi­ous round.

“Team Le­blond al­ways makes all ef­forts in train­ing and di­et­ing to make sure that we meet, al­ways, our op­po­nents at the deter­mined weight class,” Trudeau told The Gleaner. This is a part of pro box­ing – hon­our­ing the na­ture of the sport. It is to meet on com­mon ground. This is so disrespect­ful, for some­body to not make the weight, es­pe­cially when he was pre-weighed even yes­ter­day. This is to­tal dis­re­spect for the sport, to­tal dis­re­spect for his op­po­nent and we’re not gonna fight him. This is a clear state­ment by the Cana­dian team that we will fight ac­cord­ing to terms of the contracts and that re­spect­ing the con­tract is a dis­play of sports­man­ship and we call it the honourable art. It should be a no­brainer – you make the weight.”

NO PRO­FES­SION­AL­ISM

Team Canada pro­moter Tyler Bux­ton also de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “disrespect­ful.”

“It’s un­be­liev­able, the lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism that they’re show­ing this year,” Bux­ton said. “It’s Wasp, it’s Nico Yeyo, it’s Fabian Tucker and the list goes on. Why are th­ese fight­ers al­lowed to con­tinue in the tour­na­ment when they don’t make weight? The tour­na­ment’s at 147lbs. You don’t make weight, you should not be in the tour­na­ment. Tsetsi Davis had the ad­van­tage all last year over his op­po­nents and he was able to con­tinue on. He was bigger than Le­blond (in their bout last year), and he was able to con­tinue on. Why?!”

Bux­ton was not im­pressed by Gar­dener’s de­meanour at the weigh-in.

“Wasp had two hours to make weight and he was done af­ter 15 min­utes. Af­ter 15 min­utes he said he could not make weight,” Bux­ton ex­plained.

He also crit­i­cised Ja­maica Box­ing Board of Con­trol gen­eral sec­re­tary, Leroy Brown, who de­clined to com­ment, for his han­dling of the mat­ter.

“I spoke to Leroy and I said this is the ex­act rea­son why the board should not be in­ter­fer­ing with a box­ing pro­mo­tion,” Bux­ton said. “There’s a con­tract. The con­tract is be­tween the pro­moter and the fighter and they shouldn’t in­ter­fere. Last year, enough is­sues, but not as many as this year. Mainly it was just Tsetsi Davis, last year. But this year it seems to be ev­ery­body, not mak­ing weight.”

Brown, how­ever, said that talks were un­der way to de­ter­mine an al­ter­nate course of ac­tion, to en­sure some ac­tiv­ity takes place tonight.

GLADSTONE TAY­LOR / PHOTOGRAPH­ER

Ja­maica’s Michael Gar­dener watches Team Canada’s Ja­son Kelly fall to the can­vas for the sec­ond time in round one dur­ing their Wray and Nephew con­tender fight at the Chi­nese Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion Au­di­to­rium in Kingston on May 2.

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