By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada will be the host site for an HBO Triple Header to take place on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The opening bout will be between Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Yves Ulysse, Jr. in the junior welterweight division. The second bout of the night will be between Antoine Douglas and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in the middleweight division. The main event of the night will be between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight title.
Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier/Eye of the Tiger Management
This fight card will help lend some clarity to the middleweight division behind the two current kingpins of the middleweights, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. This card will also feature Cletus Seldin, a popular Jewish fighter that HBO seems keen on featuring in the future.
The following is a preview of all three bouts.
Cletus Seldin (21-0) vs. Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night is between the Hebrew Hammer Cletus Seldin and Yves Ulysse.
Seldin is a compact power puncher who has seventeen stoppage victories on his record. He’s thirty one years old and needs to make a serious run now if he ever wants to fight for a legitimate world title.
He’ll be about the same height as Ulysse as both are 5’7”. Seldin is also the more powerful puncher of the two. Ulysse only has nine stoppage victories to his credit. However, Ulysse is two years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Ulysse fought four times in 2017 and once in 2016, while Seldin has fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Neither boxer had a notable amateur career, but Seldin appears to have had more success than Ulysse. Seldin was a Long Island Amateur Champion and lost in the finals of the New York State Golden Gloves.
Seldin has defeated the likes of Robert Ortiz, Renald Garrido, Jesus Selig, Orlando Vazquez, and Bayan Jargal.
Ulysse has defeated the likes of Ricky Sismundo and Zachary Ochoa. His lone loss was in his last fight to Steve Claggett.
Seldin fights a style that leaves him open to counters but puts on an exciting fight for his fans. Ulysse has a good record, but is the underdog going into the fight.
However, Ulysse was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will have the support of the fans in attendance.
Antoine Douglas (22-1-1) vs. Gary O’Sullivan (26-2); WBO Inter-Continental Middleweight Title
Antoine Douglas is a good middleweight prospect who’s rise to the top was briefly derailed when he faced and lost to Avtandil Khurtsidze. He has since won three fights in a row and looks to reclaim his spot as a can’t miss prospect.
Douglas is still young and is in the middle of his prime at twenty five years old. O’Sullivan is getting near the end of his prime and is currently thirty three years old.
O’Sullivan and Douglas have similar knockout power. Douglas has stopped sixteen of his opponents and has one stoppage loss. O’Sullivan has stopped eighteen of his opponents and also has one stoppage loss.
Both boxers fought once in 2016 and three times in 2017.
Douglas has defeated the likes of Juan De Angel, Istvan Szili, and Thomas Lamanna. His lone loss was to Avtandil Khurtsidze and he drew with Micahel Soro.
O’Sullivan has defeated the likes of Nick Quigley, Melvin Betancourt, Milton Nunez, and Matthew Hall. The two times he faced good opposition, Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders, he lost.
Douglas has quick hands and is willing to throw combinations and take risky exchanges. But his opponent is a veteran with knockout power.
This fight should be a tense and close fight, but it’s a fight that Douglas should be considered a close favorite.
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0) vs. David Lemieux (38-3): WBO Middleweight World Title
The main event of the evening is between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight Title. The winner of this bout may set himself up for a future fight with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Both boxers are twenty eight years old and are in the midst of their prime. Saunders will have a slight inch and a half height advantage on Lemieux, but Lemieux has thirty three stoppage victories to his credit while Saunders only has twelve stoppage victories.
This will be Saunders first fight outside of the United Kingdom, but he doesn’t seem bothered by it. He recently stated, “I’m used to fight outside the UK, I’m a traveler of the world. I don’t care if there’s a million people. It’s just me and him in that ring, end of the story. As for the rest, I don’t care.”
Saunders does have a better amateur resume than Lemieux. He is a former Commonwealth Champion and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Lemieux was the Canadian Junior National Champion in 2006.
However, Lemieux does seem confident in his power and his ability to hurt Saunders with his power. He stated, “I’ve never said that I doubted his chin. Regardless he will hit the floor. And whether I win by knock out or go 12 rounds, it’s no matter. But I will drop him and I will hurt him”
Saunders has defeated the likes of Willie Monroe Jr., Artur Akavov, Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr., Gary O’Sullivan, Matthew Hall, and Jarrod Fletcher.
Saunders though has not been very active the past two years. He only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
It should be noted that his win against Andy Lee was a majority decision and his win against Eubank was a split decision.
Lemieux has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Glen Tapia, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Marco Antonio Rubio, Joachim Alcine, and Gennady Golovkin.
The biggest intangible of this fight is the fact it takes place in Quebec, Canada and Lemieux is Canadian. The fans will be backing Lemieux in this fight and that kind of support has been known to influence the judges.
Saunders two biggest victories were close decisions in the United Kingdom. It’s unlikely he’ll get a close decision in Canada.
As long as Lemieux can keep up his energy and pressure for all twelve rounds it’s a fight that he can and should win.
New Toronto Promoter Hoping to Follow Quebec’s Lead
By: Ed Hitchins
When Ryan Frazer talks about boxing in Canada, he points to one place known for its resounding success.
“Quebec has winners,” Frazer says. “David Lemieux has been around the world and back. Otis and Howard Grant. Their commission supports them.
Trainer DeWith Frazer (second from left) is hoping his network, which includes stars such as (from left) Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis and Roy Jones, will launch his son Ryan’s forte in promoting to a high level.
“Their amateur shows are bigger than ours. Guys like myself and other promoters need to show up at these amateur shows and help these kids,” he says.
It’s part of the 23-year-old’s motivation to start North Corner Promotions in Toronto, Ont. Fresh out of St. Lawrence College in with a degree in marketing, Frazer says couldn’t see himself in a long-term, 9-to-5 situation.
“I came home from college and I see the boxing scene in Toronto isn’t that great,” Frazer says. “I felt I could really spice things up around here. My father told me if I pursue it, I can really make a difference for boxing in Ontario.”
His dad would know a thing or two about that.
Trainer Dewith Frazer has been involved in boxing for the better part of 30 years, and some of his notable clients including 1988 Olympic silver medalist Egerton Marcus, as well as former IBF champion Steve Molitor.
The elder Frazer says Ontario has lagged in boxing for a generation for a multitude of reasons, finances being a major problem.
“What we’ve been suffering from here is something called ‘not-to-many-action,’” Dewith says. “You may see a fighter fight in June. But you won’t see him until the next June.
“That can’t work. Especially with a young guy coming up, they need to be active. Not only to get publicity, but also to grow,” says Dewith at his studio in Mississauga, Ont.
He says that during the past three decades, most promoters in Ontario aren’t boxing promoters.
“They don’t know the environment,” Dewith argues. “Boxing is a very small business. If they don’t know you, they won’t do business with you. There hasn’t been anyone here that has been known to the boxing community.
“We see Lennox [Lewis] come into the mix,” he says. “He could make a difference, because he is a known commodity.”
Dewith believes his experience and networks linking top people will be able to help his son’s endeavour create a fan base in order to harness and nurture developing talent.
“When I need a fighter that we’re having a problem, we could call Roy Jones,” he says. “Bob Arum and Top Rank do sign fighters from here. I know about Zsolt [Daranyi Jr] who’s contract was recently bought by Cameron Duncan from Top Rank. We have local fighters from here that Top Rank or Golden Boy have no problem allowing us to promote them in our city.
“It is a huge asset to know that,” Dewith says.
However, in a congested sports market that includes teams in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL, the Frazers face an uphill climb promoting in the Canada’s largest city.
Dewith however is not deterred by that.
“The thing is, we have talent here,” he says. “Talent sells. We have kids that have the talent.
“We have to teach them how to speak to the media, how to dress, how to do charity work. We also have to teach the value of our sport,” Dewith says. “That’s what people are looking for right now, a leader.”
Hoping to put together their first show later this summer, Ryan has very lofty expectations. And he hopes to host the regular shows that are the norm in La Belle Province in just a few years.
“I want to make Casino Rama (in Rama, Ont.) the spot within five years,” Ryan says. “That’s the only resort we have like Vegas around here. I feel if I can make it there, I can possibly do Fallsview Casino (In Niagara Falls) as well.
“The boxing community is here, we just have to work together,” Ryan says.