After battling to victory through one of the toughest fights in his career, local boxer Stuart McLellan is back home in Williams Lake with a new title, an impressive belt and the scars to prove it.
“It was a very tough fight,” said Stuart, who was back in training Tuesday evening at the Williams Lake Boxing Club.
“I think it was the toughest fight and probably the dirtiest fight I’ve ever fought.”
Stuart, 26, won the middleweight match-up and the Maritime Title at the Halifax Forum in Halifax, N.S. Sept. 21 by unanimous decision (99-91, 96-94 and 99-91) following 10 gruelling rounds.
The typically light-middleweight boxer with an impressive record of 9-0-3, was matched up against Francis Lafreniere, a 25-year-old fighter from Coteau-du-Lac, Que. with about 20 pounds on Stuart and a record of 3-4-2.
“I’m used to winning and I guess I expected it would be easier,” Stuart said of the fight in which he said he received head butts and kidney punches. “He was a dirty fighter. He was doing what he had to.”
But in the end it was McLellan, currently ranked second in the Canadian middleweight standings, who dominated the ring. He said he has his dad and coach, Gary McLellan, to thank.
“I really want to thank my dad for being in my corner, and my friend Chris,” he said.
It was coach Gary who worked to stop a bleeding cut under his son’s eye from a head butt received in the first round. Gary also gave crucial strategies to help Stuart win, such as keeping the stocky Lafreniere on the outside.
“I thought it was a good fight — a tough fight,” Gary said. “Stuart’s combination punches were the key to his victory. And his training paid off.”
Next up for Stuart is a “keep busy” six-round fight scheduled for Nov. 1 in Stony Plain. The fighter hopes to get a few more bouts under his belt after that before taking on his next challenge — possibly a North American title.