In the heart of a significant boxing evening organized by Montreal promoter Eye of the Tiger, Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse (7-1, 2 KOs) fought relentlessly with world contender Abril Vidal (10-2, 4 KOs) on Thursday night at the Montreal Casino. By split decision, “Vany” ultimately won not just the battle, but was crowned the WBC world heavyweight champion.

“Never stop believing in your dream because the day you achieve them becomes the most beautiful day of your life! I can say mission accomplished!” declared the new champion, Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse.

The athlete, originally from the Outaouais region, thus seizes the title that had eluded her nearly 7 years earlier in Mexico, against the controversial Alejandra Jimenez. She thus closes the loop on this chapter, demonstrating extraordinary resilience and perseverance, both in the ring and out.

“Like a Hollywood script, we crown a WBC world heavyweight champion on this International Women’s Day! With the story Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse is writing, three words come to mind: Heart, tenacity, and inspiration! You are a motivation for all Quebecers, Vanessa,” commented Camille Estephan, president of EOTTM.

However, this victory is not hers alone; it is a significant gain for all of Quebec sports, especially women’s boxing, which is still flourishing. In this regard, she now becomes the third Quebecer to be crowned a world champion and the first to do so in the heavyweight division. However, the work is far from finished.

“We are delighted to reap the rewards of our team efforts after several months of sacrifices and dedication. The future looks promising,” said Stéphane Joanisse, long-time coach of the athlete from Saint-André Avellin.

A striking evening

To testify to the quality of the gala, two other fights preceded the Joanisse-Vidal world championship. In the grand finale, Montrealer Steven Butler (34-4-1, 28 KOs) needed only one round to defeat world contender Steve Rolls (22-4, 12 KOs), who had never been stopped before.

In the semi-final, the result was the same, as EOTTM recruit Osleys Iglesias (10-0, 9 KOs) took just one round to triumph over Marcelo Coceres (32-7-1, 18 KOs), the Argentine who had previously given a tough fight to Billy Joe Saunders, Edgar Berlanga, and Diego Pacheco.

Earlier in the evening, Arthur Biyarslanov (14-0, 12 KOs) also made a successful debut with EOTTM, winning with a series of body shots in the 3rd round. Hopes Luis Santana (11-0, 5 KOs), Jhon Orobio (7-0, 7 KOs), and Wilkens Mathieu (8-0, 5 KOs) were also speedy in victory before the limit, while Mehmet Unal (9-0, 7 KOs) gained a solid dose of experience by reaching the 8th round for the first time in his career.