Williams Lake professional boxer Stuart McLellan is the number one contender for the National Boxing Authority’s Canadian Middleweight Title.
McLellan was in Moncton Saturday taking on Brantford, Ont.’s Chris Aucoin (4-10-1) in an elimination bout to determine who would face former World Boxing Federation (WBF) intercontinental champion Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool of Kitchener, Ont. in March for the currently vacant title.
It was McLellan’s first fight in a year-and-a-half, and the lakecity pro showed he hadn’t missed a beat winning a unanimous decision over a game Aucoin in an eight-round bloodbath. With the win McLellan kept his undefeated record of eight wins, no losses and three draws intact.
“I cut him bad in the second round,” McLellan said. “By the end of it we were both covered in blood and his left eye was completely swelled shut.
“He’s probably the toughest guy I’ve ever come across. There was no quit in him. The whole time he was trying to win. He wouldn’t break down mentally.”
McLellan said he felt good stepping back in the ring, despite having a bit of trouble adapting to the eastern time zone’s three-hour difference.
“To be honest I felt like taking a nap [just before the fight],” he said. “It was rough with the time change this time. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep but it’s just like a light switch goes off when you go in the ring and I felt good.
“He’s a tough guy. He was right there to be hit and he could take them all night.”
McLellan said the key to the fight was his movement, as Aucoin’s fighting style lends itself to brawling.
“I used good distance and timing coming in,” he said. “I just counter-punched him. He was coming straight forward and brawling so I’d let him come in and make his move, and I moved well on my feet.”
Blair Cormier, a director with the National Boxing Authority, said the fight was outstanding to watch.
“Aucoin showed once again why he belongs with the best in the business, while McLellan showcased his gifted hand speed and accuracy,” Cormier said. “Few fighters anywhere would have survived this bout.”
McLellan’s next test against Vanderpool will undoubtedly be the toughest of his career. Vanderpool, who is in his 40s and has fought the likes of former International Boxing Federation (IBF) light middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, recently made his comeback to the sport in September with a victory. He is a former Canadian welterweight champion, a former WBF welterweight champion, former World Boxing Council (WBC) light middleweight champion and former WBF light middleweight champion.
McLellan’s brother Roberto, the current Canadian Professional Boxing Council’s (CPBC) light middleweight champion, is also slated to be on the March card in Moncton to fight for an NBA title.
McLellan said the support he received from local Williams Lake Boxing Club sparring partners and his dad, Gary, and brother, Roberto — who was his cornerman for the first time in his career — was phenomenal.