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Imperial Collision Centre
Eddies Restaurant
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018
Sudbury boxing crew ready for the Bronze Gloves
by Randy Pascal

With Valley East Boxing Club teammates Noah Snowden, Justin Labelle, Brett Huard and Matin Abianah all on hand for the 2017 Bronze Gloves later this week in Toronto, 10 year old Cain Savage will have no lack of referral points as he steps into the ring for his very first official bout.

Not that he seems the least bit concerned.

"I'm excited, I'm just really excited about my first fight," said the youngster at a club training session earlier this week. And beyond the helpful advice of his fellow boxers comes the years of experience in his corner with coaches Peter Yannacoureas and Bill Ranelli.

"I'm not sure what advice they will give me, but when we're in the ring doing the hand pads, they try and simulate a real fight," said Savage. At this age, the natural tendency is to jump quickly on the attack. To his credit, Savage has been sure to also absorb the key lessons of proper defence.

"Slipping the punches, ducking the punches, blocking the punches - it really depends on what punch the other person is going to be throwing," said Savage. "And counter-punching is important too."

Though he is roughly seven years older than Savage, Justin Labelle is not all that much further ahead of the VEBC newcomers in terms of appearances in the rings, with only two fights to his credit to date. Still, he understands all too well the value that his young teammate will draw from the Bronze Gloves.

"The more you practice, the more you fight, the more it comes to you naturally and the more you know what you're doing," stated Labelle. "My first fight, I didn't know what I was doing, and I was nervous."

The 17 year-old left-hander was one of three Valley East boxers who took part in the 2016 Ontario Summer Games. He is confident that the headway he has made in refining his skill-set, over the past 10-12 months, leaves him far more ready for the upcoming event.

"My defence and my footwork are both a lot better, I've improved on that," said Labelle. "I'm a southpaw, so I try and always stay on the outside of my opponent's foot, trying to time his punches and stuff."

Beyond the technical advancement he has shown, Labelle just feels more physically prepared for the third fight of his young career. "Cardio is really important," he said. "If you don't have cardio, you won't make it through three two minute rounds."

"My first fight, I was dead after the second round. Now, I've been sparring a lot, so I feel much better, cardio-wise." Finally, Labelle is convinced that he now has a much better plan of attack, right from the start of the bout, that he will carry with him in Toronto.

"I have to think, just think of what you're throwing, stay calm, move around and breathe." Advice that he might well pass along to Cain Savage and others at some point during the course of the three day competition being hosted at the Don Valley Hotel.

Joining the VEBC quintet, in terms of local representation, will be Nicholas Greasley, Caleb Gregory, Daniel Schmidt, Aden Souleiman Djama, Bruno Desrochers and Trist Teale, all from ONTC Top Glove Boxing.

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