David Dusang dies in car crash
by Scott Taylor
If you weren’t around the Winnipeg sports scene 25 years ago you might have forgotten. Or perhaps have never heard of “The Jewish Bomber.”
“I remember, that’s what he had written across his boxing shorts, ‘The Jewish Bomber’ and the Star of David,” recalled Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz. “Pretty hard to forget that.”
Indeed. For those who knew him, it was impossible to forget. That’s because, the Jewish Bomber was truly one of the greats.
David Dusang was the Jewish Bomber. And for many who lived through the era of the 70s and 80s when the Winnipeg boxing scene was thriving, Dusang was a fan favorite and one of the best ever produced in this province.
In fact, former CKY TV sports director Peter Young said this week, “After Donny Lalonde and Al Sparks, David Dusang was the best boxer ever to come out of Winnipeg, but few people remember.
“That’s why I’m so shocked with the media in Winnipeg today. I’ve been calling and trying to tell the Free Press and Sun about David, but they just say to me, ‘Who the heck was David Dusang?’ That’s shameful. I can’t believe it.”
Well, some of us remember.
On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, David Dusang, 51, was driving just outside Toronto was he was struck on the driver’s side of his car by a speeding semi-trailer.
“It was the most horrific crash you will ever see,” said his father Kenny, via telephone from his winter home in Miami on Tuesday. “The memorial service was very difficult, but we appreciate everyone who came: The Gobuty family, the Minuk family his old friend Trevor Druxman, the place was packed to the rafters. You couldn’t find a seat. David touched a lot of people.”
The thing about David Dusang was that while he was a tremendous professional boxer, he didn’t really like the sport all that much. In a professional career that lasted from 1981 to 1984, David was 11-2 with six knockouts. He was knocked out in the first round of his first fight in Edmonton by future Canadian welterweight champion Laurie Mann, and then lost to Mann again, via a first round knockout on Dec. 6, 1983 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
The winner of that fight was to get a shot at Davey Hilton for the Canadian title. Dusang had just beaten Milwaukee’s Tom Tarantino for the vacant USA Boxing Mid-American welterweight crown and got close to winning a Canadian title, as well. But never close enough.
Dusang fought one more time at the Convention Centre. He beat Larry Mayes by a unanimous decision on March 5, 1984 and then hung up his gloves. There was more to life for The Jewish Bomber than beating people up in the ring.
In fact, longtime promoter Tommy Burns once said, “Dusang is one of the best fighters I’ve ever watched. He has great footwork, quick hands and lots of skill, but he’s too smart to be a boxer. He doesn’t like to get hit and when you stop and think about it, there is nothing wrong with that. You just have to find something else to do.”
The Jewish Bomber had no trouble finding other things to do.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree from the University of Winnipeg in 1982 and with a graduate degree from the University of Manitoba in 1984, Dusang went off to Toronto and became a leader in sports marketing in Canada.
As vice-president of Sales and Marketing for SkyDome and the Toronto Blue Jays from 1993-2005, he negotiated the largest naming rights deal (at the time) in Canadian sports history – it was the deal that changed the name of SkyDome to The Rogers Centre.
In 1997, he became the first Major League Baseball executive to successfully launch “Behind Home Plate” advertising sales for the benefit of television. He sold everything from the SkyDome’s outfield wall to Sky Walk to In-Dome advertising for the Jays and SkyDome.
From September of 2007 until April of 2009, he worked as Vice-President of Strategic Client Services for QuebecorWorld, but he had been dabbling with his own advertising company for almost a decade when he decided it was time to go full-bore into the business.
He was President of Captive Audience Media, operating digital place-based media, out-of-home Advertising, sports marketing and sponsorship and LED videoboard broadcasting, when he passed away, leaving his wife Janna Pollock, son Joshua Ryan and daughter Rachel Samantha. And, of course, his dad Kenny.
“We brought him up right,” Kenny said, choking back the tears. “David was proud to be Jewish and he even wore that pride on his boxing trunks. It’s just so sad and so terrible. On Nov. 17, 2010, we were all in Israel for his son’s Bar Mitzvah and now, one year to the day later, he’s gone. But I wanted everyone to know, I deeply appreciated all the support we received.
“He was a good boxer as a young man back in the day, but he was really a better adult. He had a wonderful career in business and was a great husband and father. David was a fine, fine man.”