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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Francis Lafrenière: "It’s Crucial For Me To Win This Fight, I Want More Significant Bouts Next"

By Daniel Cloutier

MONTRÉAL - The Montrealer Francis Lafrenière will dispute the most significant fight of his pro boxing career Thursday evening in the ring of the Montréal Casino. Ranked nine contender by the WBO in the 160 pounds division, Lafrenière (16-5-2) will face the Nigerian Albert Onolunose (22-1-1) in a NABO middleweight North American championship. Onolunose is living in Calgary, Alberta, since 2001.

It will be the main event of this boxing show organized by the GYM Group. “It’s crucial for me to win this bout, because I want absolutely to improve my situation in the WBO ratings this year,” said Lafrenière Wednesday afternoon at the weight in hold at the Montréal Casino. “I really believe that 2018 will be the most important year of my pro boxing career. I want to dispute more and more significant bouts, and I am sure that my promoter, Yvon Michel, will help me to reach my goal. Obviously, I got to win each time I am going in the ring. I will have it in mind when I will get out of my dressing room to walk to the ring Thursday evening.”

Lafrenière knows what to expect from his opponent. “Onolunose has an impress record in pro boxing, and I know he got an impressive amateur career,” said Lafrenière. “I am taking him very seriously. I know he came in Montréal with the same ambition than me… improve his situation in the ratings.”

Onolunose said he has the weapons to beat the Montrealer. “I saw Lafrenière in action, I know he is an aggressive fighter, but no doubt in my mind, I have the technique to dominate him and beat him. If I see an opportunity to knock him out, I will certainly do it, but the most important thing for me, it’s to get out of the ring in the winning corner.”

Howard and Otis Grant are the Lafrenière’s trainers. Howard said: “Francis got a great preparation and I am positive he will give everything he has in the ring to win this bout. Francis wants to move up in the WBO ratings, then, he knows he got to win Saturday. For sure, his motivation is at the top now.”

The referee for the main bout will be a female, Lee Sparkle, from New York. The three judges will be: Richard Blouin and Benoit Roussel, from Montréal, and Carlos Ortiz, from New York.

At the weight in, supervised by the Québec Athletic Commission (Régie québécoise des sports de combats), Lafrenière posted an official weight of 158.8 pounds, versus 159 for Onolunose.

Just before the fight Lafrenière-Onolunose, the middleweight Christian M’Billi (7-0-0), a fighter from Cameroon, Africa, living in Montréal since a year and a half, will challenge the Mexican Jesus Gurrola (24-12-3).

The super middleweight Canadian champion, the Montréaler Shakeel Phinn (16-2-0) will fight the Polish Remigiusz Woz (11-2-0).

The Montrealer Romanian Dario Bredicean (15-0-0), a super middleweight, will face the Mexican Guillermo Romero (12-4-0).

The Montréaler super middleweight Louisbert Altidor (6-2-0) will meet the Mexican Genaro Ortiz (8-2-1), and the light heavyweight Terry Osias (2-0-0), also a Montréaler, will be opposed to the Mexican Jorge David Vargas (3-1-0).

At the weight in, M’Billi and Gurrola posted identical weights of 159 pounds, Phinn 169, Woz 170, Bredicean 167.8, Romero 168, Altidor 163.8, Ortiz 165, Osias 177.8 and Vargas 180.8


Yvon Michel surprised everybody Wednesday, in saying that he put in the garbage the contract of the Russian heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov (1-0-0).

Few days ago, the promoter of the GYM Group confirmed that Makhmudov was the new acquisition of his organization, but everything changed Tuesday evening. “I finalized a deal with the Makhmudov’s advisor, but Tuesday Makhmudov has decided to break his association with his advisor. I don’t know if Makhmudov was frustrated by my deal with his advisor, but he asked me to destroy his contract and he won’t move in Montréal. However, the advisor involved in this dispute told me he wants to make business with the GYM Group. We should sign others Russian fighters in the months to come.”


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