Lemieux is back
By Bill Tibbs
Once a world champion, and indeed one of boxing’s most explosive punchers, David Lemieux is finally set to return to the ring in his first bout of 2020 when he steps through the ropes on October 10 in Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada.
Lemieux (41-4, 34 KO’s) will square off against veteran Francy Ntetu (17-3, 4 KO’s), in the main event over 10 rounds, in what Lemieux hopes will be the fight to shake off some rust, put another win in the bank and look to bigger things over the next year.
Also on the card, undefeated Arslanbek Makhmudov (10-0, 10 KO’s) will defend his NABF title against Dillon Carman (14-5, 13 KO’s) and unbeaten Lexson Mathieu (8-0, 7 KO’s) will go up against Tim Cronin (12-4-2, 3 KO’s) for the NABF super middleweight title.
This will be Lemieux’s first bout in 10-months due to the world health pandemic shutting down boxing for much of the year. While this card will see a limited number of audience members, as the promoter adheres to strict health regulations, Lemieux is excited to get back in the ring under any circumstances. Lemieux is coming into the ring off of 3 straight wins, dating back to the spring of 2018, after losing in a WBO world middleweight title shot against England’s Billy Joe Saunders at the end of 2017.
Lemieux, and his promoter Camille Estephan, of Eye of the Tiger Management, are looking to build on a win here and look to line the popular Montreal, Canada native up for another world title try before long. Lemieux won the world title back in June of 2015 but lost it in his first title defense in a unification fight with (then) pound-for-pound star Gennadiy Golovkin.
Since then, the thunderous punching Lemieux has logged highlight reel stoppages of Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens and Gary O’Sullivan. Now injury free (something that hampered him in bouts with Saunders and Golovkin) and feeling great, Lemieux is poised to take another crack a world title. And, a win on October 10th, against a fighter with world class experience like Ntetu, is a great first step.
A veteran of 45 fights, but only 31 years of age, Lemieux, universally popular for his 1-punch knockout power, also possess very fast hands and underrated boxing skills. He might be in the best shape of his life, injury free and could be in a good spot to see himself going up against one of the champions at 168-pounds in the next year.
Speaking from his Montreal, Canada base, Lemieux’s promoter, Camille Estephan gave his thoughts on his fighter’s first bout this year and where he sees Lemieux in the super middleweight picture.
“It’s been a tough road with trying to get boxing back up and running in Quebec but after lots of hard work, lobbying to the province, working with the commission, we are excited to be putting on a very good show”, said Estephan. “We are busy keeping our stable of fighters working, we have a big roster of fighters and we have to keep them in the ring, we have many of them fighting on cards all over the world. For this card, while there aren’t a lot of fights on the card, I wouldn’t describe this as a small card, we have gone for quality over quantity and we have some really great fights here”, he said. “We have undefeated Arslanbek Makhmudov, we have another undefeated star in the making in Lexon Mathieu, and we of course have Lemieux, everybody knows the power and excitement he brings”, said Estephan.
Asked about the mindset of Lemieux, who has been working hard in the gym waiting for the call, he said the former world champion is anxious to get back to work.
“He is very anxious to get back in the ring”, said Estephan. “He is in great shape and is really looking forward to getting in there, shaking off a little rust and to putting on an impressive performance”.
Rated in the top 5 of all the major sanctioning bodies Lemieux is in a good spot to get a shot at any of the 168-pound division champions. However, it is first things first.
“We have this fight in front of us with Ntetu” said Estepahn, “first things first, we aren’t looking past this fight”, he said. “David is fighting at 168 now so he is feeling very strong and he isn’t having to make the 160-pound weight limit anymore which was very, very tough on his body”.
Pressed if a championship is the next business of order, if all goes well in this upcoming bout, Estephan said that is indeed the goal for Lemieux.
“Of course, we want a world title shot for David. He is rated in all the organizations. We don’t have our eye on any one fighter or belt, we just want that opportunity for him to fight for a world title. Once (co-promoter) Golden Boy gets up and running with championship fights, and we are kind of waiting on that, we will be ready. He is one of boxing’s most exciting fighters and of course our goal is a world championship for him. He is very excited to get back in the ring”.