By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Photo: Herby Whyne
Despite a big win Friday night against local rival Sebastien Demers and headlining at the Bell Centre in Montreal Friday night, don’t expect Renan St-Juste to slow down as he inches closer to a big fight. At 38 years old, time is precious commodity that St-Juste and his promoters can’t afford to waste. The newly acquired NABO belt will put the powerful southpaw back into the rankings, albeit this time at 168 pounds as he agreed to move up to meet Demers.
It was a signature performance for St-Juste who too often has found himself without an opponent or not performing at an optimum level when given the opportunity.
Promoter Jean Bedard of Interbox knows that the time has to be now and not later for St-Juste, and is leaving the door open to both 160 and 168 pounds. “He had problems the last couple of times out, But tonight was his fight,” said Bedrard. “We have to find him a fight now. Right now!”
Interbox has tried before, trying to land an optional defence with the likes of Felix Sturm or a high profile fight with Roman Karmazin but finding it difficult to do so. While singing the virtues of his fighter, Bedard also touches on why people would be reluctant in meeting him. “He’s got a good punch and he’s left handed,” said the promoter who knows all too well that fights have been hard to come by.
With the NABO super-middleweight belt around his waist, Bedard at least now has options, having helped move Lucian Bute to a position of world recognition at the same weight category. “If the big fight would be there at 160, we would go there, but we have a lot of 168 people we know, so we’ll have to work on this.”
St-Juste was ecstatic after the victory, not going to a neutral corner but to all corners as he ran around the ring in celebration. Referee Marlon Wright did his best to coral the eventual victor, but the point was moot, Wright could have counted to 20 or 120, Demers flat on his back wasn’t moving anywhere. Once he found an appropriate corner, St-Juste just stood on the ropes, hooping and hollering, flinging his mouthpiece into the stands. Cries of “Repentigny! Repentigny!” were shouted in honour of the suburb just off of the eastern tip of Montreal where St-Juste both lives and runs his own gym.
It was an odd choice of opponents for Demers who was coming off a knockout loss in his last fight to Bryan Vera. The former world-title challenger has been down numerous times before, from when he was a tall lanky junior-middleweight all the way through to super-middleweight where he now resides. If he was to have survived Friday night, he have to bring all his tools, including his jab that somehow was missing from arsenal. “I thought, this is interesting,” said St-Juste of the first round where he noticed the lack of a big stick that Demers usually brings with him. St-Juste also commented that he figured it was only a matter of time, “I touched him and just saw his face, I was in control and felt I could knock him out.”
Demers who was brought to the hospital after the fight certainly did his best to oblige, leaving himself wide open for a crunching left hand counter after offering up little in the first round. The first sign of any offence from Demers had him eating a left that St-Juste delivered from just off the ropes, exactly where he loves throwing bombs from, and where he’ll often wait the whole night, laying low in the shadows hoping to counter with one perfectly timed big shot. With Demers, he wouldn’t have to wait very long.
The first shot had Demers knees buckling and in full retreat mode. St-Juste knowing the force he landed with, pursued his victim with dogged determination. Another left as Demers backed up, not right on the mark but enough to do damage and setting up the third as the freight train moved forward and landed with full force, knocking Demers down and out.
“The last fight I came out a bit flat and it made me realize that maybe I didn’t do enough work,” St-Juste afterwards, “I HOPE this belt is going to get me somewhere. I hope.”