Canadian boxer Dave Leblond has set his sights on a possible rematch with Jamaican rival Tsetsi Davis.
Leblond defeated professional debutant Nico Yeyo in what many described as a disappointing “hugging match” in their Wray and Nephew Contender Series bout last Wednesday and is now hoping to meet Davis by the luck of the draw in the next round.
Leblond had lost controversially to Davis in the second match of the season and, after losing an “egregious judging” appeal, was recalled to the competition in place of countryman Ryan Wagner, who was not medically cleared to face Yeyo.
His trainer, Patrice Trudeau, said that he believes the public would be interested in seeing a rematch with Davis. He said their first encounter felt similar to the events of the movie Rocky 4, where Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) was able to win over the support of hostile Russian fans who were cheering for the hometown favourite, Ivan Drago.
Trudeau compared Leblond to Balboa.
“We see it as a love story with the Jamaican fans,” Trudeau told The Gleaner. “Before the fight, we were live on Facebook telling Canadians that Tsetsi is a crowd favourite in Jamaica and we were comparing Rocky 4 with Tsetsi being Drago.”
Trudeau said moments before the fight with Davis, they faced direct hostility from fans but said that had changed during the course of the match.
“We had a guy come into the dressing room and tell Dave to his face: ‘You’re gonna get a whipping’, so we saw how much he was a favourite,” he said.
“But in the live video, I said ‘You know what? We’re gonna do just like in Rocky 4. Maybe we’ll make people start cheering for the underdog, the guy that’s a new fighter and has the fire in him to prove he’s a good boxer.’
“It was an underdog story. People were cheering for Dave more than Tsetsi at the end of the fight. We’re blessed, we’re really loved.”
The Gleaner reached out to Davis to get a response on how he would feel about a possible rematch, but he declined to speak.
Leblond said that if he does not get to face Davis in the competition, he would still welcome a chance to have a match later this year, even in Canada.
He continued that he hopes not to face another fighter like Yeyo, whom he described as “frustrating”, because of how much time he spent holding him to prevent being hit.
“It was impossible to have a plan against Yeyo,” Leblond said through translator Trudeau. “Everything we had set up was impossible to do because that guy just held on. That threw us off and, of course, it was frustrating.”
Trudeau said they have to now make a game plan in case they encounter another match like last week’s.
“We’re gonna work on something else. This fight was harder than Tsetsi. Tsetsi knows how to fight. This guy (Yeyo) was very difficult and unorthodox because he’s a young boxer.”