Boxing | The “R” word for the GYM Group

Like the Canadian a few years ago, Yvon Michel dared to pronounce the “R” word. When celebrating your 20the birthday – and the promoter, his 71e –, the GYM Group announces a reconstruction for the next three years.

“We are not hiding: Groupe Yvon Michel is being rebuilt,” said its CEO, beginning a press briefing on Tuesday morning to support its 173e and 174e galas, April 4 and May 16, at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal.

“We are therefore looking for new talents. We are very happy with the core of our organization, which we have here in addition to a few other boxers, but, as you know, we have never supervised many boxers at the same time. This is why we can focus on the talent we have and develop it quickly, with our resources and our capabilities. »

Microphone in hand, in front of the pugilists seated, Yvon Michel brought on stage some of the aspirants he wishes to introduce in the coming months. Their names are Theo Owusu (3-0, 2 KOs), Bondo Winner and Reid Twohey and they were recommended to him by trusted coaches, Howard Grant, Stéphan Larouche and Ian McKillop. Lots of will, little or no notoriety.

Hence the “R” word which caused ex-DG Marc Bergevin to have pimples, who preferred another, namely the “on the go” reset. “We can’t hide it from you either,” Yvon Michel conceded in an exchange with journalists. You are able to see where we are, what we are doing. It gives us the opportunity to work and return to our roots. »

Pomerleau in the footsteps of Ouellet?

The promoter also delved into his video library to rewatch old fights by Stéphane Ouellet, his former protégé who filled the Molson Center in the late 1990s and early 2000 during his trilogy against Dave Hilton Jr. On the internet, he came across the 12e duel of the poet from Jonquière, who defeated the American James Hughes in Chicoutimi in 1994.

In the eyes of Yvon Michel, Derek Pomerleau (7-0, 5 KOs), whom his trainer Stéphan Larouche likes to compare to Ouellet, is at approximately the same stage of development. The Mexican Carlos Mohamed Rodriguez (15-12-1, 6 KOs), his next opponent on April 4, would be similar to Hughes.

“It’s nothing comparable to what Derek has faced so far,” assured the GYM boss. It’s a fight that will give us a clear idea of ​​Derek’s value. »

The 23-year-old left-hander, an athlete in a hurry by his own admission, has “not taken his foot off the gas pedal” since his first-round retirement victory over Czech Milan Ganoska on March 14.

“I’m looking forward to the fight, it’s not progressing the way I want it to, but when I take a break and look at where I’m at, I see I’m already an eight round fight away,” welcomed the man who made his professional debut two years ago. “When I was high like that, that’s what I dreamed of. »

“A solid foundation”

Unlike Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton, Yvon Michel cannot afford to voluntarily sink while waiting for better days and the drafting of a talented Austrian defender. To keep the boat afloat, he counts on Kim Clavel as a bridgehead. The 33-year-old Montrealer is herself in the reconstruction phase after her controversial loss in a unification fight against Evelin Nazarena Bermudez at Place Bell on October 7.


Kim Clavel

Despite the ups and downs of recent months, the former world light flyweight champion (108 lb) has total confidence in the GYM Group and its main manager.

Does she feel additional pressure? “I feel like I have a pretty solid base and everything starts from the base,” she replied straight away. I’ve been here a long time, and I’m confident in my abilities. »

I trust Yvon. He always has a little hidden card in his pocket.

Kim Clavel

For her relaunch, Clavel (17-2, 3 KOs) will face the Spaniard of Moroccan origin Fara El Bousairi (8-3, 3 KOs). “She’s a very aggressive, slobbering, cocky girl, who sticks out her tongue, who is tattooed,” described the Joliette native, who seems to like this profile. “She has an impressive presence. »

The showdown will take place at a negotiated weight of 110 lbs. “It’s not a walk in the park, it’s going to be a good fight,” promised the coach’s protégé Danielle Bouchard, who found happiness again after the break of a few months which followed the second defeat of her career. “I was born to be in training camp, I was born to box. »

Houle wants to “hurt”

Yvon Michel reiterated that he aims to organize in the fall a fight to unify the four world light flyweight belts which would pit Clavel’s last two strikers, Bermudez and Mexican Yesica Nery Plata against each other. The winner would then face the Quebecer, who plans to fight again on May 16.

On April 4, Clavel will be supported by Marie-Pier Houle (9-1, 2 KOs), who took on the challenge of suffering a first KO. to her next opponent, the experienced Argentine Marisa Joana Portillo (20-18-3, 4 KOs).

“She’s a girl I can hurt,” Houle anticipated. That’s kind of my goal. I’m the nasty Marie-Pier Houle who really wants to hurt right now! »

Music to the ears of Yvon Michel, still under suspension for having addressed a judge, but whose corner is far from throwing in the towel.

Akdeniz sharpens himself against a former world champion


Mazlum Akdeniz and Yvon Michel

The final of the gala on May 16 will be handled by Mazlum Akdeniz (19-0, 8 KOs), who will prepare for it by acting as a training partner of the Briton Josh Taylor, former undisputed lightweight champion who will come back in the ring against Jack Catterall, a southpaw. The GYM Group is also looking for a next left-handed rival to the “southopaw” from Longueuil.

Reply to the Veyre clan


Caroline Veyre

Yvon Michel spoke at length about the surprise departure of Caroline Veyre (7-0), who chose to settle in Las Vegas after her separation from her trainer Danielle Bouchard and the GYM Group, which her manager Katia Banel has been excoriated in articles from Radio-Canada and the Montreal Journal. The experienced promoter assured that his ex-protege would receive the entire $10,000 still owed by GYM for the last year, which provided for a minimum income.

“She did not reach the minimum (parameters) of her contract and that is very, very rare,” he replied. Remuneration is established according to the importance of the opponent and his position in the event. All I can say is that she just didn’t meet the criteria. »

The promoter noted that the Olympic boxer had been its most active athlete over the past 18 months. He therefore refutes the accusation that GYM did not properly oversee the development of Veyre. “My matchmaker Vincent Morin told me that on the contrary, he had opponents refused more often than they were accepted (by the representatives of Veyre). »

As for the recrimination that he demanded that the boxer herself finance a sanction for a duel involving a minor belt, he maintains that the request came from the Veyre clan itself. However, he explained, he considered the search for such a title strategically useless at this stage of his career.

“She decided to go in another direction, and I didn’t try to hold her back,” summarized Yvon Michel, who still believes that Caroline Veyre has “the talent to become world champion”.


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