Pascal-Kuziemski, Lemieux-Ayrapetyan & Alvarez-McIntosh on Friday, 12/14; IABA

MONTREAL (December 12, 2012) – Only two more days before Laval’s popular Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) finally returns to the ring at the Bell Centre in Montreal, away since his heart-breaking loss 19 months ago to Bernard Hopkins, which cost him his World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight title belt.

Contrary to his normally calm approach to a fight, Pascal feels anxious and nervous over his time away from the ring going into Friday night’s fight against an opponent who also boxed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as Pascal did, 2004 Polish Olympian Aleksy Kuziemski (26-2-1, 16 KOs). It is not the fear of his opponent’s attack – Pascal has never been afraid of another fighter – rather the anxiety of having lost his bearings, not being able to fulfill the expectations of the loyal Quebec public. He is well prepared, as skilled as ever, and he will give his best effort on Friday night.

Pascal’s potential world title fight on HBO against WBC World Champion Chad Dawson, at least for now, remains down the road. All that Pascal is focused on right now is Friday, Dec.14, and his tough European opponent.

Lemieux against Russian Ayrapetyan

As previously announced, Friday evening’s co-feature will showcase relentless Montreal slugger David Lemieux (27-2-1, 26 KOs) in a 10-round fight. His opponent is 31-year-old Russian Alberto Ayrapetyan (20-3-0, 9 KOs), who resides and fights out of Germany. Ayrapetyan has suffered only one defeat before the limit, losing to the great middleweight champion of the world, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, in the 11th round of their WBC Latino Championship fight. Ayrapetyan, as Lemieux, is of Armenian origin. Lemieux speaks French, English, Armenian, Spanish and Arabic; Ayrapetyan is also multilingual, according to his Facebook page, fluent in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian and Russian. These two should find it easy to understand each other the ring.

Alvarez vs. 2011 European champion Danny “The Big Mac” McIntosh

Englishman Danny “Big Mac” McIntosh (13-3-0, 7 KOs), 32, will challenge talented North American Boxing Association (NABA) lightweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (10-0-0, 6 KOs). McIntosh was the Great Britain light heavyweight champion from 2008 to 2009, as well as European titlist in 2011. He lost his last two fights by technical knockout in valiant efforts against aspiring world champions. In May of 2011, he lost his European title in the eighth round to Eduard Gutknect (24-1-0, 9 KOs) in Germany. The judges’ scoring indicated a close fight going into the eighth round. In a similarly contested fight last April in Liverpool, England, McIntosh was stopped in the fifth round by his United Kingdom compatriot, Tony Bellew (19-1-0, 16 KOs). McIntosh’s three career losses (his other defeat was to current World Boxing Organization 175-pound champion Nathan Cleverly) have been to some of the best light heavyweights in the world.

“Storm has so much talent and determination,” said Alvarez’ promoter, GYM president Yvon Michel, “it has been tempting to move him faster. He has demonstrated that, despite having had only 10 professional fights, he can do as good as the best in the light heavyweight division, even against those with twice his experience.”

Bizier, McGuinness and Rivas, confirmed opponent

Quebec favorite Kevin Bizier (18-0-0, 13 KOs) will back into the ring for the second time this year, matched Friday night with welterweight Doel “Amish Guy” Carrasquillo (16-22-1, 14 KOs), of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Toronto’s unbeaten Logan McGuinness (18-0-1, 9 KOs), a protégé of Adam Harris (Hennessy Sports Canada), will defend his NABA super featherweight title against Carlos Manuel Reyes (23-1-1, 15 KOs), from the Dominican Republic.

Quebec heavyweight Oscar Rivas (11-0-0, 6 KOs), who has fully recovered from a recent hand injury, takes on 36-year-old Hungarian invader Lazlo Peczeli (4-2-1, 3 KOs).

The opening fights on the stacked “Fast & Furious” card pits spectacular featherweight prospect Marc “Gwapo” Pagcaliwangan (1-0-0, 1 KO), fighting for the second time straight time in Montreal, against Hungarian boxer Richard Voros (4 -10-0, 1 KO), followed by heavyweight battle between Ottawa favorite Andrew Gardiner (5-0-0, 2 KOs) and Attila Nagy Tibor (4-5-0, 3 KOs), of Budapest, Hungary.

Friday night’s event will be available for viewing by fans in the comfort of their homes via Canal Indigo, Bell TV, Shaw TV in Canada, as well as on WealthTV in the United States.

Tickets for the Dec. 14 event at the Bell Centre are on sale now, as well as for the three remaining GYM boxing series shows this season, the innovative and popular “Fast and Furious.” Tickets, starting at $36.00, are available to purchase at the Bell Centre, or at evenko.ca, or by calling GYM at (514) 383.0666. Despite the magnitude of The Return of Jean Pascal, GYM resisted the urge to raise ticket prices.

IABA UPDATE (MIXED FORTUNES AT EUROPEAN U/23 CHAMPIONSHIPS)

Irish Amateur Boxing Association

Waterford’s Rohan Date bowed out of the European U/23 Championships following a narrow loss to Oleg Nekludov of the Ukraine in Russia today.

The 2010 and 2009 AIBA World Youth and Junior champion edged the three-rounder 10-9 to deny Date a place in Friday’s quarter-finals at the Sports Palace in Kaliningrad.

It was tied at 3-3 at the end of the first and 6-6 all at the end of the second, but Nekludov snatched victory from the jaws of a countback going down the home stretch of a see-saw final frame.

“Mark boxed well today and Rohan was up against it against a double World champion, said Irish team manager and coach John Finn.

“It was very even after the first two rounds and there was nothing in it. It could have gone either way in the end.”

Earlier today, Mark O’Hara advanced to the last-eight following victory over Aleko Chadashvili of Georgia.

The Belfast lightweight was one point up after the first, held that advantage to the end of the second, and added two points to his tally in the third to seal a 12-9 decision.

O’Hara will now meet Maksim Shmiglev in the quarter-finals. The Russian emerged from a full-blooded affair with Dmitry Chernyk of the Ukraine today.

Dublin’s Declan Geraghty, the 2009 Irish Elite champion, and Donegal’s Jason Quigley, the 2009 European Youth champion, will be in action tomorrow.

European U/23 Championships Kaliningrad, Russia

December 11th

Last 16

69kg: Thurles Moran (Ireland) beat Tubhi Taha Amara (Israel) 14-10

Last 32

75kg: Jason Quigley (Ireland) beat Adam Grabecz (Hungary) 16-3

December 12th

Last-16

60kg: Mark O’Hara (Ireland) beat Aleko Chadashvili (Georgia) 12-9

64kg: Rohan Date (Ireland) lost to Oleg Nekludov (Ukraine) 9-10

December 13th

Last -16

56kg: Declan Geraghty (Ireland) v Erik Sokolov (Germany)

75kg: Jason Quigley (Ireland) v Deniss Kormilin (Estonia)

December 14th

Quarter-finals

49kg: Hugh Myres (Ireland) v Ory Georges (France)

60kg: Mark O’Hara (ireland v Maksim Shmiglev (Russia)

69kg: Thurlus Moran (Ireland) v Pavel Kostromin (Belarus)

91kg: Christy Joyce (Ireland) v Gevory Manukyn (Ukraine)

Irish squad

49kg: Hugh Myres (Ryston)

56kg: Declan Geraghty (Corinthians)

60kg: Mark O’Hara (Holy Trinity)

64kg: Rohan Date (St Pauls)

69kg: Thurles Moran (Phibsboro)

75kg: Jason Quigley (Finn Valley)

91kg: Christy Joyce (St Michael’s Athy)

Coach/Team Manager: John Finn

Coach: Zuar Antia

Physio: Conor McCarthy


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