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Jordan Ercit Photo

Jordan Ercit Photo

Kitchener native Fitz "The Whip" Vanderpool will fight for the vacant National Boxing Authority middleweight championship in February.

Vanderpool gets Canadian title shot

By Jordan Ercit
Kitchener Post staff

Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool got his wish — the 44-year-old Kitchener native will battle for a Canadian championship belt.

Vanderpool (25-7-4), who owns and operates Vanderpool Fitness and Boxing in Waterloo and ended a seven-year retirement in September, will fight for the vacant National Boxing Authority Canadian middleweight title, tentatively scheduled for February in New Brunswick.

The former Canadian welterweight champ will take on the winner of a Nov. 24 elimination bout in Moncton, N.B., between No. 2 Stuart McLellan of Williams Lake, B.C., and No. 9 Chris Aucoin of St. Williams, Ont.

The 26-year-old McLellan (7-0-3) last fought Kitchener’s Julius Bunda in September of 2011 for the vacant Canadian Professional Boxing Council middleweight title, which was declared a draw. Aucoin (4-10-1), meanwhile, has fought five times in 2012, all lost by unanimous decision.

“Whoever it is, I’ll be ready,” Vanderpool said. “I’ll be ready to bring the belt back to Kitchener.”

Vanderpool, a former World Boxing Federation light middleweight champ, is coming off a six-round win via unanimous decision over Whitby’s Phil Rose in September during the Royals City Rumble card at Sleeman Centre in Guelph.

The top-ranked boxer in the NBA middleweight division, an admitted slow-starter, look to be in trouble early against the 30-year-old Rose, but found his timing late in the bout before staggering Rose in the fifth round.

More than two months after the bout, Vanderpool said he is surprised how well his body has coped with his return to professional boxing, which included two years of tests, physicals and conditioning work just to get his boxing licence back.

“I thought I would be really sore and all that stuff, and I wasn’t,” Vanderpool recently at his gym. “People kept asking how I felt . . . and my response was, ‘I felt like 25-year-old who just fought six rounds.’

“I can’t really explain it. When I spar, I still feel some tightness in my elbows, but other than that . . . maybe I’m just getting better with age.”

With what he believes is maybe “two, three years max,” left in his professional boxing career, Vanderpool expects to push hard in 2013 to see how high he can reach in the rankings.

In the meantime, Vanderpool’s quest to become the Canadian champ as a 44-year-old will be documented over the next few months as he teams up with Cambridge filmmaker Richard Wang, who Vanderpool met by chance at a gala screening of China Heavyweight in Kitchener.

Wang — who has been brushing up on boxing movies and documentaries like Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and James Toback’s Tyson — was drawn to the idea immediately. He expects the 60- to 90-minute film to be released next April with the initial goal of airing it on stations like TVO, PBS or CBC.

“It’s such a good story — a local hero with an anything-is-possible attitude,” Wang said. “I’m excited and probably just as confident about this project as Fitz is about winning the belt.”

Wang is looking for sponsors for the project, with tiered funding levels from $50 or less to $3,000 or more. He can be reach by email at richardwang@trexmultimedia.com.

A  standard-definition promotional video of the documentary can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOZ-RbEwfOk&feature=youtu.be.

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