Baie Ste. Anne, N.B.
Fishing is the first love of Yvon Durelle, New Brunswick's famous 28?
Baie Ste. Anne, N.B.
Baie Ste. Anne, N.B.
Fishing is the first love of Yvon Durelle, New Brunswick's famous 28 year old fighting fisherman. A Baie Ste. Anne on the north east coast of New Brunswick Yvon battles the sea the year round and keeps winning. One of the toughest, coldest, most perilous jobs in Canada is the fisherman's lot. He works when the fish appear and the fish haven't heard of the weatherman.
Like all boys on the New Brunswick coast, Yvon wanted someday to own his own fleet. He was taken to the fishing grounds at the age of four, and taught to do a man's job by the time he was ten. At twelve he was captain of a fishing boat and it was had to keep him in school -- the drive to work to own his own ship was uppermost in his mind.
"Doux" as he is nicknamed, was one of eleven children. His father was the village blacksmith. He learned to use his fists in the backyard to settle family arguments, always under the eyes of his father who refused to spank any of his six boys -- handling and pounding iron had made his wrists and arms too strong for the usual hairbrush treatment.
Learning to "scrap" to settle arguments turned into a pastime Yvon decided he enjoyed, and hay and sand-filled punching bags to appear in the back shed. When he was 15 years old he had his first professional match at Chatham, N.B. where he earned all of $8.00. It was a start. Fishing in the daytime and fighting at night or weekends soon became the pattern of his life and still is. Except for training periods before a bout Yvon is on the sea.
He has fought over 150 matches. His first 68 brought 68 victories, 59 knockouts. Since these early bouts he has taken and now holds the Canadian and British Empire light heavyweight championships and hopes some day to get a chance at the heavy weight title.
Yvon has fought all over Europe and America and has turned most of his boxing earnings into fishing gear and four boats. On Baie Ste. Anne Yvon is a very respected citizen. He has brought honour to a small village and made employment for 20 fishermen who man his fishing boats. Yvon and his neighbours are descendants of the French Acadians who have lived on Canada's east coast for 300 years. His great great grand parents came fishing to this coast from France and Portugal.
With spring herring running Yvon checks his boats, nets and gear to make certain everything is shipshape. Yvon Jr., four, finds his dad a willing teacher and begs to go to sea with him. His wife Therese, daughter Geneva and baby Paul enjoys seeing him "off to work". On the boat, Yvon is captain and crew, working with his friends to bring in the catch.
For money to build his fishing fleet or love of fighting -- probably both -- Yvon is back in training. At Moncton New Brunswick under the expert handling and shrewd guidance of his manager Chris Shaban, Yvon is knuckling down to good training.Chris, a gentle man who has a remarkable control over Durelle, has his hands full during the training sessions. Yvon, who believes working on fishing boats is the hardest training for any boxer, has difficulty settling into the training routine and works too hard.
Morning roadwork followed by a few rounds in the ring starts the day. Yvon has difficulty getting good sparring partners and his 16-year old adopted brother Bimbo Thebeau, as well as other professionals keep him in fighting trim. A new punching bag takes a beating as Yvon works out his combination. Skipping helps the footwork and the medicine bale punched into hit stomach by Manager Shaban helps his wind. Training is tough going for any boxer but to stay at the top of the heap -- it pays off. Yvon is not considered a scientific boxer. He is a fighter with tremendous stamina and the endurance of an ox.
This week, in Montreal he fights Germinal Ballerin from France. Win or lose Yvon will go back to his fishing and the people he loves in the village of Baie Ste. Anne.
The fighting fisherman has put Canada into the fight ring.