For over seven years, pro boxing was an entertainment staple at the Cabaret in the Casino de Montreal but, for various reasons, the fights stopped. Considering that championship talents such as Otis Grant, Adonis Stevenson, Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal all gained valuable exposure in the Cabaret series, this was a serious loss to the boxing scene in Montreal. Yesterday Groupe Yvon Michel formally announced that the “GYM Boxing Series” is back and will resume in the new year.
The last time GYM showcased talent at the Cabaret was in 2012 and it had become a well-established and popular part of the entertainment offered by the casino. Three dates are now confirmed for 2016, the first being January 21, with cards also slated for March and May, all on Thursday nights. In a press release, Yvon Michel states that boxing fans will have “a unique experience” in the intimate Cabaret venue which can seat around 700 people, all of whom will have a close view of the action.
Present at yesterday’s press conference were two outstanding prospects, Erik Bazinyan (10-0) and Custio Clayton (5-0), both of whom will compete on the January card. Super-welterweight Clayton, a six-time Canadian amateur champion who missed by a single point a chance to win an Olympic medal, will be the headliner that night, with super-middleweight Bazinyan the co-main event fighter. Clayton is a full-fledged member of the Groupe Yvon Michel stable, while Bazinyan, who is trained by Howard and Otis Grant, is now co-promoted by GYM and Rixa Promotions.
Also slated for January 21 is a heavyweight brawl between tough Eric Barrak and current Canadian heavyweight champ Dillon Carman. Former world title challenger Lucia Larcinese will take on Olivia Gerula while undefeated prospect Marie-Eve Dicaire will also appear in a rematch with rival Christina Barry. Other fighters to appear include Vislan Dalkhaev, Yoni Sherbatov, Dario Bredicean and Oleksandr Teslenko.
With big fights happening regularly at the Bell Centre, a new downtown boxing series starting up at The Metropolis from Eye of the Tiger Management, and regular shows from Grant Brothers Boxing and Rixa Promotions, the news that pro boxing will also return to Casino de Montreal is just further proof that boxing is bigger than ever in The Fight City. Boxing fans can look forward to even more live events in one of the world’s most active cities for combat sports. — Robert Portis