Over the past two years, Lee Baxter Promotions events have become home to some of the best international talent to have fought in Ontario in recent memory.
On August 19, the bar is raised again, as 2016 French Olympian Christian M’Billi will fight for the first time out of Quebec in a six round feature attraction. M’Billi will be a part of the stacked undercard beneath the Samuel Vargas-Ali Funeka showdown at the Brampton Powerade Centre.
Groupe Yvon Michel, M’Billi’s promoter, was committed to showcasing their new star in a new market, and LBP jumped at the opportunity immediately.
“We really believe that M’Billi is going to go all the way,” said Yvon Michel. “We have all the resources to give him everything he needs. We want him to fight in the States, we want him to fight in Ontario, we want him to fight here. He’s going to fight everywhere and build his name globally. I didn’t have to beg Lee to have M’Billi on the card!”
The 22-year old was one of the true standouts of the Olympic boxing tournament in Rio, only falling to eventual gold medalist Arlen Lopez in what was perhaps the most exciting bout in any bracket. Having already tasted the professional atmosphere as part of the World Series of Boxing, where he went undefeated in three bouts, he decided it was time to turn professional.
It’s undeniable that Montreal is one of the best boxing markets in the world, making La Belle Province and GYM the logical fit for the French-speaking M’Billi.
“He could have chosen to stay in France and would have got a good payday, a friendly environment, but he chose to come to Canada. He decided to leave family, friends and girlfriend because he believes that we are best suited to launching his pro career,” said Michale. “I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a young fighter in a very long time.”
The true seal of approval on M’Billi however, is the fact that he is trained by Marc Ramsay, one of the top cornermen in all of boxing. When Ramsay selects a prospect to work with, he is seldom wrong, having helped guide the careers of stars such as David Lemieux, Jean Pascal and Eleider Alvarez all in recent years.
“The first time I saw him as an amateur fighter, his style was very professional already. He’s very offensive, he likes to fight at short distance. Generally, he was already a very good professional. The transition has been very easy for him,” said Ramsay. “I can see a little bit of Azumah Nelson in him, if people want a comparison.”
Ramsay lauds the work ethic and teachability of M’Billi, and it should come as no surprise. Those attributes can likely be traced back to M’Billi’s military background, having served in the French army before dedicating himself to his amateur career, where he was European junior champion, European union champion, and the gold medallist at the European Olympic qualification tournament. It was at the latter event that Ramsay discovered him and knew he had a star on his hands.
“You need to look not for the one who won the gold, but the one who has the most potential to become a good professional fighter,” said Ramsay. “The way he was fighting, the fact that he was so young, to dominate 28-year olds at the peak of their career, that was very impressive.”
Already 4-0 as a professional, M’Billi has never done anything but impress in his boxing career, and fans in Brampton should expect no less this time around either.
Tickets are on sale and are available for as little as $40. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.