Matt Fraser isn’t mincing words about his upcoming trip to the Canada Games.
“A gold medal – that’s pretty much my only goal there,” said the 17-year-old Albion Boxing Club fighter, who will travel to Red Deer, Alta. in February for the Games.
“A silver would be good, but I’m going for the gold – it’s what I’ve got my eye on.”
A quick study, Fraser started with the club in late 2016, won a silver medal at the 2017 Canadian boxing championships a few months later and followed that up with a gold medal a year ago.
He has also trained and fought in Ireland, boxed in Colorado, and twice at the prestigious Brampton Cup, held each year in that Ontario City (his first boxing match actually came two years ago at the Brampton Cup, where he would win a gold medal in the Novice division).
He was also a part of Boxing Canada’s youth national team and in Red Deer, will fight in the 56kg class under Team Nova Scotia coach Wayne Gordon.
EYES ON THE PRIZE
Three times a week, Fraser travels from his hometown of Antigonish to train at the Albion gym in Trenton, while at the same time trying to balance his studies at Dr. J.H. Gillis High School – he’s a Grade 11 student there – and his part-time job at a Tim Hortons outlet in Antigonish.
Fraser has been prepping with the provincial Canada Games team for two years, so he’s been working toward Red Deer for a while, and now the moment is coming up fast.
“I’m getting a little nervous – not too much – but I’m super-excited for it,” he said this week at the Albion club gym. “The training has intensified in the last month.”
Part of that training has been some intense sparring with Albion assistant coach Walter Linthorne.
“He’s a tough kid for his age,” says Linthorne.
“I’ve got 30 pounds on him, but he’s still a hard go.”
“I think he has a really good shot at winning gold, for sure. He’s training hard, and I do believe he’s ready.”
Al Archibald, the head coach at the boxing club, said there are times when Fraser will sacrifice defence to go on the offensive, which is something the young fighter needs to be wary of.
“We call him Mad Dog because he’s always dogging his opponent,” said Archibald.
“He’s strong and powerful, in good shape and a good (technical) boxer. He’s got knockout power, but he can box his way to a win. He’s training hard, running a lot, he’s been sparring a lot. Matt’s going to do very well at Canada Games.”