Former champ Lennox Lewis looks to revive Canadian boxing

The Associated Press
WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, from Montreal, right, chats with former world heavyweight champion and now promoter Lennox Lewis before a press conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Montreal. Stevenson and Tommy Karpency will fight for the title Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Toronto. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Former champ Lennox Lewis looks to revive Canadian boxing

WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, from Montreal, right, chats with former world heavyweight champion and now promoter Lennox Lewis before a press conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Montreal. Stevenson and Tommy Karpency will fight for the title Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Toronto. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) -- Lennox Lewis wants to revive pro boxing in Canada.

The former heavyweight champion is the frontman and one of a group of promoters that hopes to take a sport that has faded everywhere in the country expect Quebec and put it back in the national consciousness.

''Montreal has carried the flag for the rest of Canada,'' Lewis said Thursday. ''Now I'm coming on board because I want the rest of Canada to come on board. I want to give an opportunity to young kids to box as professionals.''

Canadian boxing was in the doldrums in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even Montreal's Arturo Gatti headed to the United States to turn pro in 1991.

Lewis' group will start with a fight card Sept. 11 at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto featuring Adonis Stevenson's sixth defense of his WBC light heavyweight title against unheralded American Tommy Karpency.

Top Montreal promoter Yvon Michel will team with Global Legacy Boxing, headed by Lewis and Toronto businessman Les Woods, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to put on the show. It will be part of fight manager Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series on U.S. television.

It is the first world title fight in Toronto since Aaron Pryor defended his light welterweight belt against Nick Furlano in 1984. If all goes well, there are plans for more fight cards in Toronto and other Canadian cities.

The 49-year-old Lewis left for Britain to turn pro after winning the gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics because there were few opportunities to make a boxing career in Canada. Lewis was born in London and moved to Kitchener, Ontario, when he was 12 and fought as an amateur for Canada.

The 6-foot-5 boxer went on to become a three-time heavyweight champ before he retired in 2004 with a 41-2-1 record.

''It's important that the rest of Canada realizes that boxing is available to them,'' Lewis said. ''That they don't have to take a plane to Vegas, that they can be in driving distance of a great fight.''

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