Briefly taking the stage to thank the sponsors and spectators, Otis Grant made clear that public support was critical in his and Howard Grant’s efforts to promote boxing in Montreal and to build and maintain a solid stable of successful pugilists. Judging from the crowd present on Friday night and from the results of the matches, I’d say they are well on their way. The packed house at the Holiday Inn in Pointe-Claire was witness to an extensive and entertaining card. Here it is:
Erik Bazinyan (2-0) vs. Alexandre Bouvier (4-3-1) (Light heavyweight, 4 rounds): Local hero and 18 year-old Armenian prodigy Erik Bazinyan was firing on all cylinders Friday night. Everything he did, he did far better than Bouvier, who looked completely outclassed as Bazinyan’s darting footwork and crisp, punishing combinations rapidly took their toll. A strong Armenian contingent of friends and family gave this fight an undeniable buzz as they greeted Bazinyan’s every move with enthusiastic approval. Bouvier was dropped by a left hook to the body in the first round and by the end of it his skin was already red from being slapped around so much.
The second round saw Bazinyan take even greater control, as he showcased excellent defense and spectacular body/head combos. Despite his neglecting at times to keep his hands up and his head down, he avoided any significant punishment and remained in complete control. In round three a punishing body shot put Bouvier out of commission and grimacing long after the fight had ended. Bazinyan’s jubilant reaction was endearing and no doubt fuelled by the beloved compatriots present. He fought with remarkable technical ability for such a young prospect. A charismatic and enthusiastic performer, his future appears very bright indeed. Result: Bazinyan TKO3 Bouvier.
Lucia Larcinese (5-10) vs. Jackie Trivilino (9-6-3) (Super featherweight, 6 rounds): Montreal’s Lucia Larcinese is an inspiration. A full-time nurse and an experienced boxer, one wonders how, at the age of 41, she continues to excel at both. Larcinese faced Plattsburgh’s Jackie Trivilino in an all-action tilt that gave fans plenty to cheer about. Trivilino was the more technically proficient of the two and her stamina appeared stronger than Larcinese’s, who, though spurting at the start of each round, tired quickly and resorted then to looping shots with little consideration for defense. But, true to form, the self-professed “Italian-style brawler” stuck her impervious chin out and initiated an exciting slugfest with the willing Trivilino. The middle rounds saw Larcinese take the upper hand. I thought it was anybody’s fight going into the last round as both women popped each other at about the same rate, but Larcinese mustered more power than Trivilino throughout the fight, and especially late. Result: Larcinese W6 Trivilino.
Arsen Goulamirian (6-0) vs. Martin Avila (14-13) (Cruiserweight, 6 rounds): First off: I’ve seen Goulamirian train; he’s huge. When I heard this was a cruiserweight fight, I was shocked. Second: Armenia — there must be something in the water. This was a “blink and you miss it” affair and could not have lasted more than thirty seconds. Goulamirian threw a crushing left hook to the body and that’s all she wrote. The Armenian contingent, which had left between fights, returned and now roared with delight as Arsen stood facing them with a knowing grin that said, “What did you expect?” Among his supporters was an excited little girl, no more than 9 or 10, skipping about and screaming his name, in awe of her hero. I couldn’t help but think of how unexcited Martin Avila’s family had to be at that moment. Result: Goulamirian KO1 Avila.
Francis Lafrenière (4-5-2) vs. Roberto McLellan (6-2-9) (Middleweight, 8 rounds): The final match of this quality card was an entertaining though one-sided bout that saw rangy southpaw McLellan put up a good fight in the early rounds before succumbing to the better man. Lafrenière was clearly stronger and had an effective strategy: let McLellan run and tire himself out then trap him on the ropes or in the corner and bang short, crisp punches to the head and body. Meanwhile, the Coteau-du-Lac native’s defense was only getting tighter; he knew exactly when to close up and bide his time.
From the fourth onwards, the action became predictable, as McLellan had no idea what to do in the face of encroaching fatigue; his exhaustion was best evidenced by a hook that Lafrenière seemed to have read five seconds before it was ever thrown. The fight was a masterful display of boxing ability from Lafrenière who impressed by dictating the pace and employing a nigh impregnable defense. One-sided, but entertaining. Result: Lafrenière W8 McLellan.
The amateur portion of the card saw four competitive fights go the distance with Grant Brothers boxers taking three of the decisions. Results (Grant Bros. fighters in bold):
Maxime Labrecque WD Eitan Elmaleh (155 lbs.) (Exhibition)
Charly Nasrallah WD JF Andre (W) (170 lbs.)
Mohammed Elabdoulli WD Golden Garcia (140 lbs.)
Shakeel Phin WD Emanuel Elmaleh (180 lbs.)
The success of the Grant Brothers fighters is a testament to the quality of their training and to the desire these athletes have to make their mark in boxing’s annals. In an era where boxing is often spoken of as a declining sport, an event such as this, and the genuine, commendable passion of its organizers and contributors, is proof to the contrary. A supremely enjoyable evening and I look forward to many more.
— Mathieu Brousseau