Cam O’Connell, 23, has had to face many obstacles in his young life, but because of his determination, his strength of character, and the support he has received from those closest to him, those obstacles have also presented him with opportunities to grow.

Now the Red Deer professional boxer feels it is his time to start giving back to his community.

“I have a list (of people who helped get me through the tough times),” explained O’Connell. “A very good counsellor at my school, my coaches, my father and mother, and (fellow boxer) Arash Usmanee. His positivity even when the worst things happened. He was a role model to me, not just a mentor.”

“The community has done so much for me! I felt that I should be giving back and I didn’t know how to do it. I’ve always coached kids and worked with them, but recently I got to do an anti-bullying speech.”

As a professional boxer O’Connell has a 3-0-1 record. As an amateur he had 136 bouts, and 101 wins. He was a 12-time Alberta Provincial Champion, four-time Western Canadian Champion, two-time Canadian National Champion, bronze medallist at the Junior Olympics in 2005, and Ringside World Champion in 2007.

But life has not always been so successful for O’Connell. Middle school was an extremely difficult time in his life. It was a time when he was bullied, and he would get into trouble for fighting back.

“Middle School was tough,” said the boxer. “It was just when I started boxing and being bullied. I would fight back and I would get into a lot of scraps at school and then people heard I was a boxer and it would cause even more bullying and scraps at school.”

With the help of school staff, his coaches and his family, O’Connell was able to overcome that dark period in his life.

“By the time I hit Grade Eight, I understood boxing a little bit more and I knew what I was doing and I was confident in my abilities to box,” said the former Ringside World Champion. “But I didn’t have to fight. I didn’t have to prove myself anymore to bullies. People still talked, there is always going to be people who talk, but when you know your abilities you don’t have to prove it.”

“It gave me self-confidence to move on in life, don’t worry about the little things that people say, just keep going. That is what I try to tell the kids at the presentations. I had a lot of questions about how I overcame it (bullying) and whether boxing is the way. But I don’t think that boxing is the way. I think any sport, anything that you can do to get your mind off of the bullying and to gain confidence will help you to overcome bullying. That is the reason I kind of got into boxing not to defend against bullies but to have self confidence to overcome bullies.”

O’Connell has twice had opportunities to talk at Bullying Workshops at the Red Deer Public Library. The audience included schools groups, but also adults with mental disabilities, with stories about how they would get bullied by kids when they take public transportation.

O’Connell enjoyed giving his presentation at these workshops, but what he appreciated the most was working one-on-one with those in attendance.

“I have gotten a chance to tell my story a couple times now and the anti-bullying is working for me,” explained the boxer. “I like giving back, and it feels like I am helping these kids overcome big problems. The feeling is amazing. That one-on-one is where I felt I was making the difference. Anyone can give a speech, but talking to the kids one-on-one is what helped the kids.”

After O’Connell won his first Canadian Championship and gained some fame at a local level he found that along with the accolades that a negative element became interested in who he was, and he entered another dark period in his life. But again for the boxer this was just another obstacle, something that he could learn from to become a more positive person.

“I got into a legal issues and still have charges pending,” said the boxer. “I was involved with the darker side of society, doing the wrong things, and the negativity got to me. I got into trouble and I realized there is a good way to live your life and a bad way. That is what I needed. I guess some people need that. They need a big situation to happen in their life to change the way they go about living their lives. This was a turning point for me. Now I can help other people get out of it.”

“My team . . . Doug Bolianatz, Roman Rzepkowski, and Robert Carswell are focusing on the positive, that is where we are going. I always wanted to give back but I thought I needed a title to start giving back, but now I know I am at a level where I can give back, anyone can give back in that sense. With the anti-bullying it was another opportunity for me to give back.”

O’Connell has another opportunity to give back to his community when he fights for the first time as a professional in front of his home crowd, Friday, June 28 at the Sheraton Hotel. The undefeated boxer will be taking on Mexico’s Luis Arjona, 3-1-1, in the six round main event.

“I am excited to fight at home,” said the lightweight boxer. “It shouldn’t affect how I box. Once I’m in the ring my concentration is so good now that I can fight anywhere. The ring is my home.”

If O’Connell wins this bout, he will be ranked in Canada, which will be a major step for him in accomplishing his goals.

“I want the Canadian title,” said O’Connell. “It is within our reach. I know I can beat some of the guys who are ranked, so it is just a matter of time before I get the opportunity to fight them. Then I would like to follow in the footsteps of Arash Usmanee and get ranked in the world and fight for a title and bring it home to Red Deer.”

The undercard will feature a number of amateur bouts, including Red Deer’s Brian Samuel fighting Devon Reti of Calgary for a Provincial Championship and an opportunity to represent Alberta at the National Championships.

Philadelphia prospect kept his undefeated record intact, winning an eight round unanimous decision over former WBA titlist Joachim Alcine (33-5-1, 19 KOs) in an eight round junior middleweight contest.

Perhaps because Alcine has been knocked out twice in the first round, Williams immediately jumped on the Haitian-Canadian, testing his chin with a big right hand and a follow up barrage that forced Alcine to the ropes. A left hook dropped Alcine for an eight count. J-Rock was all over Alcine when the action continued, but the former champ was able to survive the onslaught and began throwing a few shots of his own while Williams took a breather.

After a slow round two, the action heated up in round three, with the fighters taking turns flurrying. Williams became a bit overzealous in round four, landing a big right hand after Referee Earl Brown called a break that sent Alcine tumbling to the canvas. Brown correctly chose not to call the fall a knockdown, giving Alcine an opportunity to recover. When the action resumed, Williams landed a right hand on the inside that appeared to cause Alcine to touch the canvas, but Brown ruled it a slip. A follow-up combination rocked Alcine, who crumbled to the canvas due to the accumulation of punches but was able to beat the count.

Williams began round five where he left off in round four, dropping Alcine hard with a spectacular left hook. Somehow, the veteran was again able to beat the count, and he was in good enough condition to throw a few combinations as the round came to a close.

The knockdown seemed to awaken Alcine, as the 37-year-old arguably won the final three stanzas with big uppercuts shots to the body on the inside. The activity seemed to win rounds six and seven for Alcine, as J-Rock appeared gassed but still managed to land a few hard shots.

Alcine continued to land blistering punches in the eighth and final round, but Williams showed a sturdy chin as he absorbed some big right hands and a few uppercuts. The crafty Alcine won the round big, but it was not enough to win the fight, as all three judges scored the bout 77-72 for the 23-year-old prospect out of Philly.

The debut card of Ed Pearson was a huge triumph as the fans were treated to excellent food, excellent match-making, and a good amateur undercard that featured 69kg Albertan Provincial Champion and amateur sensation Devin Reti winning a bout over Red Deer’s Brian Samuel. “The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is my main focus in life – then turning pro at the age of 23,” said Reti. Albertan boxing fans savoured this great night of boxing and left all appreciative of Mr. Pearson’s hard work.

Cam O’Connell (134½) of Red Deer, Alberta, moved to 4-0-1 (3 KO) against Mexico’s Luis Arjona (134½), who falls to 3-2-1 (1 KO). “I feel blessed I was able to do it at home,” said a multitasking O’Connell, as he simultaneously shook hands with well-wishers, posed for photographs, and welcomed the company of those who wanted to be in the winner’s circle. It was a brilliant display of boxing by O’Connell, but it was not as easy as he made it look. O’Connell did have some swelling over his left eye from a rampant head-butt from the tough and determined Arjona. After referee Len Koivisto gave the instructions in English and Spanish, O’Connell came out with a measured pace that allowed him to land straight rights and avoid the wild counters of Arjona.

It was clear after round one that O’Connell was the more skilled boxer – it was also clear that Arjona had brought enough to the table to force O’Connell to play his hand carefully. Another strong round by O’Connell – with nice long and short punches landed by O’Connell – had the Red Deer crowd buzzing. Round three featured the hometown hero landing blistering shots with both hands. The chin of Mexican Luis Arjona was still holding up, but he was being broken down in every other department. Two brutal knockdowns – the last by a perfect right-uppercut – separated Arjona from his senses and Koivisto mercifully waved off the bout without re-doing the 10-count in Spanish. Koivisto could have probably counted to ‘veinte’, but instead embraced and comforted the fallen and broken warrior. The time of the stoppage was 2:56 of round three. “I learned to be patient. I felt I could have taken out Arjona in round two, but continued to listen to and trust my corner,” said O’Connell. When asked about the savage onslaught he administered in the final minute of round three, O’Connell replied, “I didn’t want to let him recover – with the first knockdown I could feel the punch go through him.” It was a cerebral and astounding victory for Cam O’Connell who expects to return the ring in September 2013 in Edmonton.

Teddy Atlas says that it’s important for a fighter to travel as opposed to being “built up” against weak opposition at home. Kenneth Council was 3-0 all by knockout, but all of his fights were in Louisville, Kentucky. “I’ve never been on an airplane before this fight,” said Tennessee resident (via Ashville, NC) Kenneth Council (153), now 4-0-0 (3 KO) after banging out a tough earned decision over Calgary’s Ted Reno (155½) 3-7-2. “I hit him with hard shots and he was still standing there,” added Council, puzzled that an opponent can walk through his shots. And there were a lot of shots for Reno to walk through – and under and around and over again – as the hellacious work rate set by Council was fueled by desire as much as by frustration. The official scorecards were 59-55, 59-55, 58-56 all for Council – FightNews Canada had it 60-54 for Council. The first two rounds had some good body-punching by Reno as well as some hard head shots – but Council showed a good chin and used his legs to change the angles. Reno was hurt in round three by a volley of punches and then threw a low blow for which he received a stern warning by referee John Braak. Reno slowed in round four but was able to land some left hooks to keep the fight interesting. The final two rounds had Council increasing his work rate and looking for that elusive stoppage that never came. “He threw a lot of punches,” said Reno after the fight with a smile, as the obviousness of the comment was comical. Ken Council passed the “Teddy Atlas” travel test and can expect more airplane travel in the future as he is clearly someone who is serious about his professional boxing career.

Lukasz Wierzbicki (148) of Calgary, Alberta (via Poland) moves to 1-0-0 as he showed a lot of promise in his pro-debut against the rugged Antonio Dos Santos (151½) of Vancouver, BC (via Uganda), who now falls to 2-6-0. All three judges, and FightNews Canada, had it 40-36 for Wierzbicki. Each round had southpaw Wierzbicki landing right-hook counters, straight-lefts, and body shots with both hands as he out-landed the gangly but durable Dos Santos. Dos Santos was staggered and wobbled several times throughout the bout, but afterwards stated, “He’s a talented southpaw, but I was never hurt.” It was a spectacular debut for Wierzbicki who was cheered on every step of the way by very vocal Polish supporters waving the red-and-white Polish flag. With 110 amateur fights to his credit, Wierzbicki showed that his boxing skills have been tuned nicely to suit the professional game, and as a welterweight in Canada there is no shortage of opponents.

Red Deer's own Cam O'Connell fought in front of his hometown fans for the first time and the lightweight did not disappoint, scoring two knockdowns on his way to a TKO victory at 2:56 third round victory versus Luis Ajona (3-2-1) at the Sheraton Hotel Events Centre. The victory is the second in less than a month for O'Connell and moves the 24 year-old to 4-0-1.

In other action, American junior-middleweight Ken Council (4-0 3KO) moved past the second round and to the scorecards for the first time with a 59-55, 58-56, 58-56 decision win over Ted Reno (3-7-2) of Calgary.
The only other bout saw Polish born southpaw Lukasz Wierzbicki sweep the scorecards with a 40-36 decision over Antonio Dos Santos (2-6).

Mother Nature, still undefeated, scores 11th hour stoppage of Calgary card.

Tonight’s card in Calgary by Lace Em Up promotions, featuring Steve Claggett's homecoming, is cancelled due to severe flooding.

 On Friday morning, Lace Em Up tweeted “We are monitoring the weather situation and will keep everyone posted.” But as the flood water levels on the Bow River and Elbow River reached unprecedented levels, all of downtown Calgary - several square kilometers - was evacuated. A state of emergency was declared and Prime Minister Steven Harper cancelled his appointments in Ottawa to tour the devastated areas of his hometown.

On Friday afternoon, Lace Em Up tweeted, “Due to the severe flooding in Calgary the ‘Brawl in the Hall’ has been cancelled.”

As of Saturday morning, Enmax reported that 30,000 customers remain without power, including Cowboys on 12th Ave, the venue for tonight’s cancelled card. “We put a lot of work into this card and would still like to have it the fall,” said Roy Phelps, Managing Partner of Lace Em Up, “But it might night be at Cowboys since we heard it may have sustained structural damage.”

In a statement posted on the Teofista Boxing website, Eric de Guzman, Claggett’s manager, writes, “The show has been cancelled. We are very sorry to all the people that trained… we would like to thank Lace em up Promotions for their dedication to this event. Also Gary Louie for his volunteer work of getting this event sanctioned and licensed. For anyone affected by the floods, if you or your animals need shelter, Teofista Boxing Gym's doors are open.”

For Phelps, the disappointment of the cancelled card hasn’t set in since he was busy helping the citizens of Calgary as well as the boxers that have already arrived from as far away as Hungary.
“Considering what others have lost, this is just a small speed bump on the road to a great future for Lace Em Up Promotions.”
 And all of Calgary won't soon forget Mother Nature - all of her victories by stoppage.

Sam Vargas (14-1) wins a one-sided 79-73, 79-73, 78-72 decision over Giuseppe Lauri (53-13) in the main event from Montral. The Toronto fighter had his opponent staggered in the early going and banged the body impressively throughout the eight round contest.

In the co-main event Ahmad Cheikho (11-4-2) scored a 79-71, 79-71,78-72 decision over Steven Bloyer (14-9) of France.

Tyson Cave(21-2)  scored three 3rd round knockdowns versus Hungarain David Kanalas (12-7).

In a fight where neither fighter had a problem finding each other, Steve Harvey (4-1) scored a 40-36, 40-36, 40-35 decision over Andras Csomor (3-2-1)
Mike McWilliams was successful in his pro debut with 40-36, 40-36, 39-37 win over Dave Aucoin (3-11). Marc Pagcaliwangan made it 5 stoppages in as many tries, putting 39 year-old John Brown (0-2) flat on his back and scored the TKO victory at 1:00 of the opening round. Steve Rolls beat up Ferenc Zold for 3 rounds until the Hungarian finally folded to the canvas at :24 of the fourth round. Rolls moves to 6-0 with the impressive effort while Zold record evens up at 17-17.

Welterweight Mikael Zewski (20-0, 15KO) dominated the durable Damian Frias (19-8-1, 10KO) over 8 rounds to win a unanimous decision. If you bottled up round 1 and round 8 you may have the making of a classic. Zewski came out on fire in the 1st round throwing combinations to the head and body of Frias. It was a right, left shot to the body that eventually put Frias on the canvas. Frias survived the round. From rounds 2-7, it was much of the same. Zewski was trying desperately to score the knockout, but Frias just would not go down. Frias actually mounted a late comeback as he became much more aggressive as the fight wore on. In the final round, Zewski and Frias exchanged big bombs and at one point it appeared Frias may have hurt Zewski. Both fighters continued to fight to the final bell, but Zewski clearly threw the harder punches throughout the fight. The scores read 77-74 on all 3 judges’ scorecards.

Famed rapper and new boxing promoter, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, held a press conference today in Hartford to announce that his company, SMS Promotions, will present the “50 Cent’s Birthday Bash” professional boxing event, July 5 live on ESPN Friday Night Fights, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

Headlining the stacked ESPN Friday Night Fights show, the first solo promotion by SMS Promotions, is a 10-round clash between undefeated NABO/NABA light heavyweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (12-0, 8 KOs) and former world super middleweight title challenger Allan “Ghost Dog” Green (32-4, 22 KOs). The fast-rising, explosive Alvarez (12-0-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Colombian Olympian who lives in Montreal, is on his way to positioning himself for a world title shot. Already ranked #4 by the WBA and #7 by the WBO, he is stepping up in class to face Green (32-4-0, 22 KOs), fighting out of Tulsa (OK), who fought in the Super Six tournament.

The 10-round ESPN co-feature showcases former IBF featherweight champion Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round bout against Hartford favorite “Machine Gun” Mike Oliver (25-3, 8 KOs). A native of Australia, Dib is coming off a highly-competitive, fan-friendly fight on March 1, also shown on ESPN Friday Night Fights, in which he lost a 12-round split decision and his IBF belt to undefeated Russian Evgeny Gradovich (18-0).

Dib is the #4-rated featherweight in the world by the IBF, as well as ranked No. 7 by The Ring Magazine, and No. 15 by the WBO. Oliver is a former International Boxing Organization (IBO) and United States Boxing Association (USBA) super bantamweight champion.

50 Cent: “I’m excited because this is the first show put together by SMS Promotions. It’s been a learning experience. We’ve been part of shows but never did the promotional job. I’m not far from home in Farmington. We’ve put together a real event with some of the best fighters in the world, good prospects and some local fighters. We’re creating a platform for fighters to progress and I want to be part of it. Overall, it’s a great opportunity to do things a little differently. I’ve associated myself with some big name fighters.

“The Hartford area has a long boxing history with Hall of Famer Willie Pep and other world champions and top contenders like Battling Battalino, Marlon Starling (in attendance), Kid Kaplan, Tyrone Booze and ‘Iceman’ John Scully.

“I’d like to thank ESPN for this opportunity, the Connecticut Convention Center and the Connecticut Boxing Commission for participating on a holiday weekend.”

WBC #1 light heavy contender Tony Bellew gave his post-fight thoughts on new WBC 175-pound king Adonis Stevenson’s sensational KO win over Chad Dawson last night, and as impressed as Bellew was by the new champ’s win, Bellew made it clear he relishes the thought of fighting Stevenson. A guest on Sky Sports to analyse the fight, “Bomber” had the following things to say:

“Stevenson is a serious puncher but he is wild,” he said. “I don’t think he’ll be a long standing champion, not if I’ve got anything to do with it, but you’ve got to give him respect. I don’t think that (the Andre Ward fight) played any part in the fight, Dawson never showed Stevenson the proper respect.
“I can’t wait to meet him (Stevenson) – he won’t have to look for me and I won’t have to look for him. I’ll show him respect, as you have to with a puncher like that. I’ll go to his backyard as I’ve said – no problem. It’s a dream for me to fight for the green belt. I’ll go anywhere for the fight. I’m sure every man and his dog will write me off, but I can promise I’ll bring fireworks. ”

It remains to be seen just when and where Stevenson will accommodate his number-one contender but Stevenson vs. Bellew looks like a slugfest to look forward to.

It took only :76 seconds and a single left hand to make 35 year-old Adonis "Superman" Stevenson an overnight sensation and new WBC light-heavyweight champion, capturing the title in spectacular fashion from Chad Dawson Saturday night in Montreal.
It was the quickest title victory in the light heavyweight division since Bobby Czyz took just 1:01 in an IBF title defence in 1986 and propels Stevenson past local rivals and former champions Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute and makes the local scene very interesting with Stevenson's ascension to the world stage.
The Montreal fighter who moved up from 168 pounds for the fight didn't waste any time in calling out the name of Bernard Hopkins when asked who her wanted next in what has been a devastating path of destruction to the top. "I've never seen anything as intense as this," said Stevenson's trainer Javan Hill after the contest, commenting on both the fighter and crowds reaction on the dramatic and sudden finish.