Coming of age for Andrews, Lessard

JOHN SHORT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:03 PM ET

More than a year ago, Kris Andrews started showing fight fans that his solid amateur boxing career was a great deal more than smoke and mirrors.

Friday night was Anthony Lessard's turn to do the same thing.

Before Andrews found new focus and better conditioning, he was written off as a preliminary fighter almost wasting his time.

Now he is the Canadian junior middleweight champ, and he beat a deserving challenger to win the crown.

In several four- and six-round bouts, Lessard made it obvious that he could take a punch and throw one --equally hard -- coming and going.

Against Andrews, he showed something deeper than conditioning, more extreme than toughness. Call it sheer courage.

That courage helped create what reputable boxing writer Murray Greig describes as one of the best boxing brawls in 20 years around here.

Lessard's technical skills may never become what a textbook purist would like them to be, but never again will this earnest warrior be dismissed as simply a preliminary fighter.

No chicken in Chickeness

Jockey Sheldon Chickeness reached Northlands Park with little fanfare.

It was the same for him on Friday when he hit the ground after a collision in the fourth race. Accidents for tough little men are seen often -- too often -- as ho-hum events.

Chickeness was taken to hospital after complaining of neck and back pain. Jockeys may have the most dangerous jobs in sport, give or take a little bull-riding.

Little-known to most local railbirds when he arrived from Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Chickeness had slowly gained some recognition as a solid thoroughbred pilot.

The accident occurred when his horse, Smile Again Aly, bumped with Sasha Lassie, ridden by Desmond Bryan, who was not injured.

Both horses left the track without assistance.

Peggy's Martini, ridden by Nela Mohammed, was disqualified by stewards.

Rudkowsky moves on

Will owner Daryl Katz get everything he wants in the proposed new downtown arena for his hockey team?

Probably.

Will Mike Comrie, who left Good Old Ourtown after an ugly public dispute with Kevin Lowe, become part of the rebuilding process that occupies new general manager Steve Tambellini?

Probably not.

In each case, Edmonton's hockey-crazed fan base can only speculate, but here's a piece of real news.

It concerns goaltender Cody Rudkowsky, who played for quite awhile in the St. Louis Blues organization and probably would rank no worse than third in the Oiler netminders in terms of ability and experience.

Because the professional fates didn't treat him especially well, Rudkowsky walked away from the pros last season. He became a Stony Plain Eagle.

This year, the Eagles will try again for the Allan Cup, but the senior team is looking for a goaltender.

Rudkowsky is signed to play in Europe.

JCSHORT@SHAW.CA


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