SHAWINIGAN | It’s really curious. The six boxers are locked up and confined to the Auberge des Gouverneurs. They have not stepped outside since their arrival in Shawinigan.
The people from the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux are there. They too observed personal confinement.
The journalists, apart from a humble columnist, have not yet arrived.
In other words, the boxing gala tonight in a Gervais Autos center transformed into a television studio should be lived in complete anonymity.
And yet, Tout-Shawinigan is feverish. It may be the fault of Jean-Charles Lajoie and his interview with David Lemieux and Francy Ntetu …
Or maybe it’s hosting the first professional boxing gala in Canada since March 12, a date that history will remember. The onset of COVID-19. It’s still a thrill for a regional city to beat the pawn to a metropolis like Montreal or a capital like Quebec.
One thing is certain, the journalist there was excited to find his world. Even though everything was different.
10 IN ONE ROOM
The weighing had nothing to do with the usual weighings. We brought in a boxer. His trainer was admitted with him. There was Doctor Gagné in the great room as well as the promoter Camille
Estephan. The six other living beings tolerated were employees of the Régie.
The reporter was leaving the room when the boxer entered. And the routine resumed as soon as an athlete, an official or a coach showed up. Had to be 10 max and wear his mask at all times.
Except when Francy Ntetu climbed onto the scale. He pushed the needle three ounces too high. So we gave him 15 minutes to lose the damn three ounces.
“I went to run to sweat,” Ntetu said after his adventure.
STILL TOO HEAVY
In addition to running, he went to pee. The officials of the Régie did not appreciate having to watch the entrance to the toilets. The bubble had to be well protected!
Ntetu has returned. Still too heavy. He then asked his trainer to wipe off all the sweat that was stuck on his body.
Still too heavy. He took off his underwear. Not enough. COVID or not COVID, Ntetu has removed his mask. Damn, was still a few grams missing.
“Against David Benavitez, I had used something. I got off the scale and then completely squeezed out all the air I had in my lungs. I got back on it and bingo, I made the weight: 168 pounds typing, ”said Ntetu returning to his bubble.
Everyone else, including Lexson Mathieu, made the cut.
So people won’t have a choice to watch the fights. It will be Indigo or Punching Grace. It is not because Roger Lavergne, Mr. Cataractes from Shawinigan, will not have tried everything.
At the beginning, we were to invite 250 spectators to the sports center. Then, Public Health lowered the number to 50 people. Finally, we found ourselves in a closed-door bubble. Not a cat, not a mouse.
“We thought about setting up in the parking lot of the Gervais Autos Center, but the configuration was not suitable. We would have liked to install 250 cars and offer the battles on a giant screen, ”explained Roger Lavergne, overseeing the weighing … from the corridor.
He then turned to the owners of the drive-in, which worked well this summer. It’s part of the city ski complex.
“But when Public Health started talking that the city might go red, the owners of the drive-in feared there was a COVID outbreak that could have affected their season. A few days ago, they warned us that it wouldn’t work, ”Lavergne said.
So that apart from LP Guy and Ariane Fortin for the radio, Mathieu Boulay, undoubtedly Jean-Luc Legendre and two or three other journalists to which the promoters will join, we will hear each other sniffing in the sports center.
It’s already that…
Michel Hamelin at forced rest
With COVID-19, nothing is the same. But it is not the COVID which was “directly” responsible for the absence of Michel Hamelin yesterday in Shawinigan.
The boss of boxing at the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Quebec is on the floor for six weeks. Mr Hamelin had been feeling tired for a few weeks already and an examination by his doctors prompted the decision. Complete rest.
“Michel Hamelin is a hard worker,” said Me Joyce Tremblay, vice-president at the Régie. Containment and the various protocols that had to be prepared required a lot of effort. Michel Hamelin is dedicated to combat sports, for which he is responsible. He could receive emergency calls at 5:30 in the morning or a call from a promoter in the region at 10 in the evening. We want him to rest to get back in shape for the rest of things, ”said Mr. Tremblay.
There was also the stress caused by the wars between the developers. Michel Hamelin constantly found himself in the midst of whining and pressure tactics.
Despite the work and the stress, Michel Hamelin remained a role model for those responsible for combat sports in North America. Things were often best managed in Montreal and Quebec.