Monday, January 20, 2014

Top Canada boxers Pascal, Stevenson, Stiverne, Jean have Haitian connection

MONTREAL - Four fighters who represent the elite of Canadian pro boxing have one thing in common — all of them were born in Haiti.

With the top rank of the Canadian fight game now centred almost entirely in Quebec, it is that province's largest source of immigrants that has produced most of its recent boxing champions.

Adonis Stevenson is the reigning WBC light heavyweight champion, a title previously held by Jean Pascal, who will face Romanian-born Lucian Bute before an expected crowd of 20,000 in a non-title bout Saturday at the Bell Centre.

Dierry Jean is to face Lamont Peterson for the IBF light welterweight title on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C., while Birmane Stiverne is waiting for a date and site to be announced for his clash with Chris Arreola for the WBC heavyweight title recently vacated by Vitali Klitschko.

All four were born in Haiti and moved with their families as young children to Montreal, where they took up boxing and were developed into world class fighters.

"Maybe their community was not high on hockey and other sports and was more focused on boxing," fight promoter Yvon Michel said Tuesday. "So we were privileged to get the people with the best genes for fighting.

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