From Natasha Armstrong to Curtis (The Demon) DeMarce to Noel Harding, Westman’s top fighters are ready to swing into action once again.
Armstrong, the talented 16-year-old boxer from Boissevain, heads to Quebec City next week to fight for a Canadian title in the national junior amateur championships. The Brandon Boxing Club standout sports an impressive 35-5 amateur record after beating Wisconsin state champion Olivia Hendrickson in a unanimous decision in a featherweight bout last month in New Town, N.D., and hopes to add a national female youth division title to her ring resume.
“I feel really prepared,” Armstrong said this week. “I have been doing a lot of cardio and I have been working a lot with Noel sparring and I have spent a lot of my weekends training with lots of other coaches and stuff and I have still been fighting quite a bit. So I feel really prepared and I’m excited.”
As Armstrong heads east, DeMarce is out west ready to finally resume his professional mixed martial arts career. The 25-year-old Brandonite, who spends a lot of his time training in San Diego, is slated to fight tonight on the Canadian King of the Cage 65 card in Cold Lake, Alta.
DeMarce, who is 13-10 as a pro, is scheduled to face MMA veteran and former King of the Cage lightweight champion Tony Hervey of Detroit in the co-main event, marking DeMarce’s first official fight in almost two years.
“It’s been a long time and he’s a tough guy and it’s a good fight for me to come out and finally make my return,” DeMarce said. “It’s gonna be two veterans going at it.”
It’s been a tough time for DeMarce since suffering serious injuries in a 2011 car accident in Toronto that required multiple surgeries to repair his shattered right arm.
After 18 months of rehabilitation, the 5-foot-8 lightweight fighter was suspended for three months in March by the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission for fighting in an unsanctioned bout in the U.S. as he prepared for what was supposed to be his return to the ring. After serving that suspension, DeMarce’s comeback fight was slated to occur on the Maximum Fighting Championship 38 card in Edmonton in October, but his bout was scrapped at the last minute after his opponent, Alejandro Garcia, failed to secure a travel visa.
Now DeMarce is finally set to make his long-awaited return against one of the veterans of the sport in Hervey (15-15), whose biggest bout was probably taking on UFC fighter Takanori Gomi in Japan in 2009.
After his recent setbacks, DeMarce is hungry to get back in the ring.
“Having my (last) opponent drop out was a huge disappointment, but it has given me more time to prepare,” DeMarce said. “I have been ready for this for a while and I can’t wait.”
Meanwhile, Harding, the 33-year-old owner of the Brandon Boxing Club, is scheduled to put his 3-0 record as a professional boxer on the line at a card scheduled for Jan. 18 in Belcourt, N.D. Harding is slated to fight 32-year-old American middleweight Cheyenne Ziegler, a former Idaho state amateur champion who has struggled to a 3-11 record as a pro boxer.
While details of the fight card are still being finalized, Harding is anxious to get back in the ring after posting back-to-back first-round knockouts in his last two fights.
“He is an experienced fighter and I know it’s going to be a good fight,” Harding said. “But my goal is to make a statement and take him out early.”
NOTEWORTHY:Amanda Thornborough, a 23-year-old Brandonite, was in the starting lineup for Canada’s senior women’s rugby team on Wednesday in their European tour finale in England. Canada fell 32-3 to England after splitting a pair of matches with France, the host team for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Thornborough has now started international games for Canada’s 15s and 7s squads and hopes to be in contention for Canada’s World Cup team in 2014 and in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro where rugby will make its Olympic debut ... Brandon Wheat Kings right-winger Richard Nejezchleb has become one of top snipers in the WHL this season. After scoring nine goals in his last six games, the 19-year-old Czech import is tied for third in the league in goals, with 17 in just 21 games, and leads all WHLers by scoring the first goal of a game five times this season … Speaking of scoring, the Brandon University Bobcats women’s basketball team may be winless, but BU guard Cassie Cooke continues to lead the country in scoring by averaging 32 points per game. The Bobcats are in action tonight and Saturday at the Healthy Living Centre as Brandon battles Alberta.