Two Canadians, 34 year-old Phil Rose and 23 year-old David Leblond, will battle each other for semi-final places in the 2017 Wray and Nephew 2017 Junior middleweight Contender series tonight, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium, Old Hope Road St. Andrew. The programme starts at 8.30 p.m. with two amateur bouts, and the main bout over five rounds, will follow at 9.30.
It will be third appearance in the show for Leblond. He lost his first fight to Tsetsi Davis by split decision on April 19, but got a second chance when another fighter dropped out because of illness. He defeated Jamaican Nico Yeyo again by split decision on May 10, and this has earned him the right to a quarter- final spot . Rose won his preliminary bout against Ricardo Planter on April 12.
Tonight’s fight promises to be another close and action-packed encounter. Rose, who has a 7-4-1 record, is one of the top-rated Canadians, and said from the outset of the competition, that his plan was first to make the finals of the competition, and then to emerge the champion. His fight against Planter was a roller- coaster ride, but he managed to exert enough pressure on his opponent to get the decision of the judges.
He said yesterday, that despite the fact that Leblond has had only three professional fights for a 2-1 record, he is taking him very seriously. “I never underestimate
an opponent, and I regard Leblond to be a dangerous competitor. He has fought very well so far, and I expect another good fight from him tonight.
We have worked out a game plan to win tonight, and all I have to do now is execute.”
He will also have his own Jamaican cheering section tonight, as his parents are Jamaican, and as in his first bout, a sizable delegation of family and friends will be on
hard to cheer him on. “Having family on hand is a blessing” he said, and this will be added incentive for him to win tonight.
When asked about the fact that he is going up against another Canadian instead of a Jamaican, he said that it did not matter. “I have been fighting Canadians all along, so it does not matter, and whoever is in my way to the title will have to go, in this case it is Leblond”.
Leblond, who only speaks French, said through his trainer Patrice Trudeau, that he has been enjoying the competition so far, and is happy that he is still on track to take the top prize of $2-million. He has been training hard for the fight and is in much better condition than when he fought Davis.
” I am working hard and fighting better, and my plan is to win this fight and move to the semis,” he added.