by Hans Olson
Boxing in the province of Quebec will end the year with a bang this Saturday in Quebec City, the final major fight card of 2011 taking place at the Pepsi Coliseum as part of Groupe Yvon Michel’s “Fast and Furious” series.
In the featured bout of the evening, Laval’s Antonin Decarie (25-1) will battle Toronto’s Victor Lupo (19-1-2) for the WBC’s vacant International welterweight title. Decarie, who was originally scheduled to fight Jose Luis Castillo in October before an injury sidelined him, looks forward to Saturday’s challenge.
“The preparation was awesome,” Antonin told Boxing Insider on Wednesday. “I’m very confident, very happy with myself. Now I’d just like to deliver it in the ring. All the hard work is behind me and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
That his injury happened at the time it did was frustrating for Antonin, who had been itching to get back in the ring since his win over Shamone Alvarez in February.
“It was nothing serious, just very bad timing,” continued Decarie. “I pulled something while I was stretching. The doctor asked me to take a week completely off, but you know…taking a week completely off before a fight—it would have been very stupid. If the fight was only like one or two weeks postponed, I would have been fine because I was still able to run and everything, I just couldn’t throw punches for one week. We decided it was too risky to fight even though I would have been fine physically. It was more of a matter of preparation, and being sharp. Not being able to throw punches a week before the fight was too much of a concern, so we decided to pull out. But it was a matter of bad timing because ten days after, it was perfect.”
Decarie feels that the cancellation may have been a blessing in disguise.
“When I look at it, I was very upset the fight was cancelled with Castillo. At the same time, now that I look at it, I think maybe it was a good thing because I was off for such a long period of time. Just getting ready for Castilllo…it’s almost like I fought, you know what I mean? I did everything. The fight never came, but I was very intense at the gym. I did my sparring, I did all my sprints—and then the fight was cancelled. It’s kind of like if I fought, and now it’s almost like my second fight since my last one. I feel a lot better. You have things that are going not so perfect when you take a long period off, and I could feel that. I mean I was perfect condition wise—I was there; ready. But my timing and some stuff was missing. This time, I could feel the game plan was a lot more easy to execute and everything [in training]…so I felt a lot better.”
In Victor Lupo, Antonin faces a stiff test. Lupo has been hot as of late, having beaten former champion Junior Witter back in February. “You have to respect the guy,” said Antonin. “He’s a tough guy. I think he has a lot of willpower. When he came in the ring with Junior Witter, he was definitely not favored in there—he was the underdog. And even though he lost the first few rounds, he turned the fight around just by applying pressure, and by really wanting to win. If he comes to fight, for sure he’s going to be ready. For sure he’s going to give his all on Saturday night. I cannot underestimate him. Definitely not. I think it’s good, the fact that he beat Junior Witter in his last fight. It will give me more credit for my win on Saturday night.”
Also fighting Saturday will be Kevin Bizier, the undefeated Saint-Emile native who looks to win his first title when he faces veteran Lanardo Tyner for the vacant NABA welterweight title. Bizier was last seen in action right here in Quebec City back in November on the undercard of Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson, a fight in which he made quick work of Denmark’s Christian Bladt, knocking him out in three rounds.
After his win, Bizier joined trainer Pedro Diaz (his co-trainer alongside Marc Ramsay) in Orlando to train and spar with Miguel Cotto. “He came back with a lot of confidence,” said promoter Yvon Michel when I spoke to him shortly after Kevin returned from Orlando. “So I’m expecting Kevin Bizier to shine, and to show he belongs with the top fighters of the welterweight division.”
Other bouts scheduled are Lionell Thompson vs. Christian Cruz; Eric Martel Bahoeli vs. Sylvera Louis; Didier Bence vs. Stephane Tessier; Baha Laham vs. Dave Aucoin; Sebastien Bouchard vs. Patrick Tessier; and Steven Denis vs. Dean Storey.
Michael Oliveira, who was also slated to appear on the card, pulled out his scheduled bout earlier this week due to illness. “Michael still wanted to fight but he will be too weak,” said Oliveira’s father/promoter Carlos Oliveira in a press release. “We plan for his return to the ring in late January.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson