Noel Harding hopes to return to the boxing ring next month. (FILE PHOTO)
Brandon’s Noel Harding is bringing boxing back to the Keystone Centre this month while also preparing to return to the ring next month as a professional fighter south of the border.
The owner of the Brandon Boxing Club will present the Halloween Hustle boxing card on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Keystone’s UCT Pavillion where the best amateur fighters in Westman will take to the ring.
"We are hoping to have about 10 fights and we’re trying to showcase all of our local talent," said Harding. "We are having trouble getting matchups for some of our more experienced younger fighters like Natasha (Armstrong) and Isiah (Hayden), they are very difficult to match up because of their experience and expertise.
"But we hope to put as many of our local boxers on the card as possible. There will be some gyms from Winnipeg and the United States coming in as well as maybe from Regina, so we have a good card slated and it will be a good night."
It will be the first boxing event in Westman since the Brandon club’s Road to Ringside card in Boissevain on July 14, and the first night of boxing in Brandon since Nov. 12, 2011.
"It has been a while, so hopefully we will get a good audience for this one," said Harding, who is selling tickets for the event at the club’s home at 545 Pacific Avenue.
Armstrong, a 15-year-old from Boissevain, and Hayden, a 14-year-old from Brandon, are two of the top amateurs in Western Canada and both competed this summer in the Ringside World Boxing Championships in Kansas City, Mo., with Hayden winning the 154-pound boys title in the 13/14-year-old age group. While Harding is still working to line up opponents for them, he has confirmed bouts for heavyweight Josh Seeland and middleweight Riley Parker of Brandon and is also hoping to line up fights for Brandon middleweight Jason Lepine and lightweight Erickka Patmore.
Meanwhile, Harding has promoter Richard Calavera of Calavera Martial Arts & Boxing Club, based out of Minot, N.D. Calavera is planning to put Harding on his next boxing card planned for November at the Sky Dancer Hotel and Casino in Belcourt, N.D. The complex is undergoing a $30 million expansion to add 100 rooms and a new room to hold entertainment and fight events and is planning to hold a pro boxing and martial arts card in conjunction with its grand re-opening.
For Harding, who will fight as a light middleweight, his second pro bout has been a long time coming.
"It has been a long wait," said Harding, who hasn’t fought professionally since winning his debut in Winnipeg in October of 2010. "Ironically, the 29th of this month will be two years, which is absolutely ridiculous. There hasn’t been pro boxing in Manitoba in two years, and nothing in Saskatchewan. There have been shows in Alberta, but they are tough to get on, so I’m glad this worked out ... (Calavera) does throw fights quite regularly, so it’s a good step in my career to get fighting more often."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 17, 2012