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Fraser heading into ring in Montreal

Antigonish native Matt Fraser continues his rise in Canadian boxing. CONTRIBUTED
Antigonish native Matt Fraser continues his rise in Canadian boxing. CONTRIBUTED - Corey LeBlanc

Antigonish native to fight in Boxing Canada event

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

ANTIGONISH - Matt Fraser will spend part of his Christmas holidays in Montreal, but it is not a pleasure trip.
The 18-year-old from Antigonish will compete in the Boxing Canada 2019 Canadian Qualification tournament, from Dec. 16 to 20, at the world-famous Westin Hotel. 
"People are talking about gaining experience - because I am one of the younger guys - but I am going there to win," the soft-spoken athlete said with a steely eye.
The Grade 12 student at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School will be competing in the newly-created 52kg weight class.
Fraser earned his spot in the prestigious event on the strength of his recent performances on the national stage, including capturing the 2018-19 Youth Canadian Championship.
"I have boosted my training quite a bit," he said of his approach since receiving the invitation a couple months ago to box in Montreal.
His regimen includes three sessions per week with his home group - the Albion Amateur Boxing Club, based in Trenton, Pictou County - along with sparring sessions at the Tribal Boxing Club in Dartmouth.  
"I have been focussing a lot on my technical work," Fraser noted.
He has also been studying the athletes he may face in Montreal; watching film and looking for tendencies. 
When asked about his srengths and style, Fraser said he is "really aggressive and don't let up." 
He added he focuses on "high activity," while trying to land as many combos as possible.
With increased experience - he has reached more than 30 fights since he started boxing as a 15-year-old - Fraser has learned how to taper his signature aggression, while "adapting to the styles" of his opponents.
"I loved it from the start," Fraser said of boxing. 
His start in combat sports came in Muay Thai at an Antigonish club.
With a thirst for more fighting competition, and on the recommendation of his friend Connor Synishin, Fraser made the move to boxing and the Albion club.
This Montreal opportunity, one of the rungs on the ladder to a possible spot on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic squad, has come earlier than expected because of his accelerated dvelopment; his focus has been on shooting for the 2024 Games.
"I am keeping things in perspective but, again, I am going there to win," Fraser said.
With his sport, Fraser has also become a globetrotter, of sorts, including a couple visits to Ireland to climb through the ropes.
During the summer, as a member of the Canadian youth national team, he won bronze in Budapest, Hungary, on the world stage. After reaching the podium, he and his teammates also participated in a week-long camp with the Hungarian national team.
"It was an awesome experience," Fraser said.
As Boxing Canada describes, the upcoming event "will confirm the National Team selection ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification."
In Montreal, two boxers from each province can compete in each division to challenge Canadian champions for an opportunity to represent Canada at upcoming international Olympic qualification events. 
Boxers selected from the four-day Montreal competition will participate in the American Olympic Qualification event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from March 26 to April 3, as well as the World Olympic qualification event in Paris, France, from May 13 to 24, for a chance to earn their spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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