Sports

McLellan gets Canadian title shot

Williams Lake’s Roberto McLellan (right) trains for his upcoming Canadian light middleweight title fight with brother Stuart McLellan Tuesday at the Williams Lake Boxing Club. Roberto will fight for the title on March 10 in Calgary against Edmonton’s Anthony Lessard. - Greg Sabatino photo
Williams Lake’s Roberto McLellan (right) trains for his upcoming Canadian light middleweight title fight with brother Stuart McLellan Tuesday at the Williams Lake Boxing Club. Roberto will fight for the title on March 10 in Calgary against Edmonton’s Anthony Lessard.
— image credit: Greg Sabatino photo

For Canadian boxers — especially those from small towns — the opportunity to fight for a Canadian title doesn’t often present itself.

But on March 10 at the Hyatt Hotel in Calgary, Williams Lake’s Roberto McLellan will attempt to become the Canadian Professional Boxing Council’s (CPBC) first 154-pound light middleweight champion.

Roberto, 26, will take on Edmonton’s Anthony ‘Hard Hittin’ Lessard for the 10-round vacant title fight.

The CPBC was recently re-established due to increased nation-wide participation in the sport and now sits alongside the Canadian Boxing Federation (CBF) as one of two governing bodies for professional boxing in Canada.

“I’m going to be ready for anything and we’ll train hard for that,” said Roberto who, along with training with his brother, Stuart McLellan, will travel to work with Canadian light heavyweight champion Junior Moar of Vanvouver, Quesnel’s Matt O’Brien and Kamloops’ Tye McDougall in preparation for the bout.

“We know he [Lessard] hits hard, but he can be out-boxed. But he’s a dangerous guy.”

Originally, Stuart was scheduled to fight Lessard for the title but that fight fell through, Roberto said.

“I would have liked to have had a tune up before this but the opportunity is too good to pass up,” he said.

Roberto (5-1-1, 2 KOs) is coming off the first loss of his professional career — a first-round knockout in September at the hands of Calgary’s Janks Trotter — but said he’s already forgotten about the loss.

Lessard (8-6-2, 5 KOs) has fought twice for the CBF’s light middleweight title but was beaten both times by Edmonton’s Kris Andrews via unanimous decision.

This will be Roberto’s first title fight as a professional and both fighters will be looking to capture their first national title.

“I’ve never gone 10 rounds before, so I’m training double what I usually do,” Roberto said.

“He’s gone 10 rounds twice. But as long as I prepare my mind I can go as many rounds as I need to. Then I can get everything else in shape [on top of that].”

In preparation for the title fight Roberto has been training six days a week for three to four hours a day.

“We’re working on defence a lot more,” he said, and noted much of his focus in training has looked at keeping things simple inside the ring.

“I’ll be ready.”

The March 10 pro/am card, being put on by Impact Boxing Promotions in co-operation with Teofista Boxing, is being used as a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

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