“What are the odds? Here we are: both of us undefeated, pursuing our careers, together, in a great gym and with great people and in a great city like Montreal. It’s amazing.”
The words spill out of Dario Bredicean, the older of two boxing brothers, the pair a study in contrasts, at least on the surface: 23-year-old Dario outspoken and animated, Bruno, younger by 14 months, more reserved and contemplative. But both share equally in the sentiment Dario expresses with such passion, and both are determined to take full advantage of their good fortune. Training and fighting in a city enamoured with boxing, and surrounded by a deep team of support, the Bredicean brothers have journeyed from Cape Coral, Florida in pursuit of glory and success. Tomorrow they take another major step on that journey when, for the first time, they compete on the same pro boxing card.
Saturday afternoon the Montreal Casino once again hosts a line-up of impressive fight talent, the show staged by Yvon Michel and his team, with the main event a tune-up for top light heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez. On Tuesday it was announced that Alarez will next battle Lucian Bute on February 24 in Quebec City, provided of course that he defeats Norbert Drabrowski tomorrow.
But while “Storm” Alvarez may be the headliner, focus will also be on the young talent gaining valuable experience and exposure. In addition to the Bredicean brothers, Francis Lafreniere, Shakeel Phinn, Marie Eve Dicaire, Alex Dilmaghani and Patrice Volny are all competing. Dario and Bruno recognize that Saturday is a chance for both of them to shine, and the fact they are on the same card only provides extra motivation to impress.
“This is different,” says Dario. “Usually we just focus on which guy is fighting and offer as much help as we can. This time, we both have to take care of business and we both have to be confident. We have to motivate ourselves and can’t depend on the other guy because we both have a job to do. So let’s get it done.”
The words express a serious attitude befitting two prospects who have, for years, worked with seasoned professionals. It was former heavyweight world title challenger Axel Schulz who helped the young brothers advance their careers and start thinking seriously about turning pro. Dario even travelled to Germany to train with Schulz and win his first six professional bouts. But when Bruno also decided to make the leap and join the punch-for-pay ranks, Dario returned stateside.
Since 2014 the brothers have been managed by Chris Ganescu and thus are stablemates of former champion Lucian Bute and title challenger Jo Jo Dan. They are trained by former world champion Otis Grant and former Olympian Howard Grant, and they share a gym with other talented prospects including Erik Bazinyan, Dwayne Durel and Golden Garcia. Needless to say, it’s a greater wealth of knowledge, talent and experience than most young prospects ever have working for them. Bute in particular has inspired Bruno and Dario to up their game when it comes to serious training and the necessary discipline.
“He’s a great mentor,” says Dario. “Lucian teaches us about all the stuff you need to pay attention to outside of the ring. Plus, we thought we trained hard, you know? But then we watched him. Wow. The work he puts in is amazing. He’s in his mid-thirties, but we had to catch up to him, had to push ourselves to reach his level.”
The Grant Brothers provide inspiration of a kind that is no less important and profound as Dario and Bruno watch two brothers, also very close in age, work and help each other, day in and day out, at their gym in Dorval.
“We take motivation from Howard and Otis, no question,” says Dario. “They let no one separate them. They see each other every day, work together, started up their gym together. They got each other’s backs and been doing it for years. Bruno and I see that and it inspires us.”
But might it not drive one crazy sometimes, living and training with one’s brother while away from home, constantly being watched and judged by someone who knows you better than almost anyone else? Does sibling rivalry ever rear its ugly head and undermine all the positives of the situation?
“Boxing is a lonely sport,” observes Bruno. “The truth is, having your brother always around, doing the same thing you’re doing, it keeps you motivated and keeps you positive. We push each other to keep getting better. If he has a great day in the gym and I don’t, then I’m even more motivated to make up for it, to match him. We both want to succeed and, just as important, we want each other to succeed.”
“Sometimes we take hits at each other, get on each other’s case,” admits Dario. “But if we take it too far, then we’re in a bad situation. Who am I gonna talk to or hang out with? Who else is gonna put up with my crap? Thank god I have Bruno here, or else I’d be a hermit.”
That fraternal bond no doubt becomes even more important on those occasions when one or both long for palm trees and flip-flops, for hanging out on the beach and eating Cuban food, not to mention wiping sand away instead of snow. But Bruno is quick to point out that any bouts of home-sickness don’t last very long.
“Whatever we are missing from there, the people here make up for it. The Grant Brothers gym is like our second home and the people here are like our second family.”
But what about the cultural and social differences between here and the U.S., a country which has just survived a long and corrosive election campaign that appears to have only raised greater fears and uncertainty? Do the young Brediceans notice a big difference?
“I love home and never want to put it down,” says Dario. “But there’s so much tension and division. Here, the attitude is different. I notice people don’t pay much attention to race or accents or anything. It’s live and let live. There’s more respect. Everyone here remembers that we all come from somewhere.”
“In the U.S., people are more reluctant to speak their mind,” adds Bruno, “because you’re always afraid you might offend someone. But here, you can have a difference of opinion, even an argument, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. It’s just more relaxed and comfortable here.”
Has this admiration for the more open and easy-going ways north of the border ever prompted the two brothers to think about becoming Canadian citizens? Their gym, manager, and trainers are here; why not make the move?
“Yeah, we think about it,” says Dario. “Why not? We have a real blessing here in Montreal.”
“And the work for boxing is great,” adds Bruno. “We get consistent, high-level work with some of the top pros and we really can’t get that in Florida.”
“Florida is sleepy, for the old people,” says Dario, his voice rising with agitation. “And here’s another big contrast between the U.S. and Montreal. How about all of the coaches and gyms working together? Even if they do have differences. Why? Because they’re thinking of the fighters and not themselves. Back home? Forget it. We got like five gyms that don’t talk to each other. And when we go workout, we have to keep it quiet because we don’t want to piss off anyone. Here, we work with everybody and anybody. What’s wrong with that? It benefits us.”
Keenly aware of their good fortune and the support they enjoy, including parents who want their sons to see how far their boxing talent can take them, Bruno and Dario have some added motivation to be at their very best tomorrow. Both young pugilists, while posting solid decision wins in September and October respectively, were not satisfied with their most recent performances and feel they have something to prove. While people like the Grants and Lucian Bute already expect nothing less, Dario and Bruno both want to be sharper and more efficient tomorrow and to demonstrate their full abilities. As if they really needed any extra motivation.
Thus, there’s every reason to expect the Brediceans to remain undefeated after tomorrow afternoon’s stacked card at Casino de Montreal. Nothing has been left to chance thanks to their outstanding team, the attention they receive from former champions, and the sparring they’ve done with top professionals. As their proud parents from Florida watch at ringside, tomorrow the young Bredicean brothers will both take the next step on their pugilistic pilgrimage, this time in the same ring and on the same day. Which is only fitting really. After all, they are on this journey together.
— Michael Carbert