Lessard makes his point

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

The culmination of Anthony Lessard's five-year plan wasn't pretty, but he made his point.

Last night before a packed house at the Shaw Conference Centre, the Edmonton junior middleweight exacted revenge for a 2004 loss to Darren Kenny by scoring a lopsided unanimous decision over the durable Winnipegger.

"He broke my nose when we fought five years ago, so I had a lot of respect for his power and just took my time and picked my spots," said Lessard, who improved to 8-4-2 with a workmanlike effort.

"I wasn't as busy as I usually am because I wanted to keep my punches straighter and try to catch him in the crossfire. Like my corner told me, it's better to be smart than flashy."

The Lessard-Kenny rematch was the featured prelim on KO Boxing's six-bout Redemption card headlined by WBC lightweight champ Ann Saccurato (14-4-2, 6 KOs) of New York defending her crown against former WBC super featherweight titleholder Jelena Mrdjenovich (23-4-1, 11 KOs) of Edmonton (still in progress at press time).

The rugged Kenny's willingness to trade at close quarters belied his 5-27-1 record. He opened a cut on Lessard's forehead in the first round and went toe-to-toe with big body shots in the second before showing signs of running out of gas.

Lessard dropped Kenny with his patented overhand right with five seconds left in Round 4, and from that point on Kenny was pretty much in survival mode.

"He's a tough old warhorse and he can really take a good shot," said Lessard. "I'm just happy I had a chance to mix up my punching a bit and get the W. Now it's onward and upward."

In other prelims:

- Lightweight Lindsay Garbatt (4-2) of Oshawa, Ont., shocked the house by pounding out a well-deserved six-round decision over Edmonton's Ayana Pelletier, who dropped to 6-2.

Despite giving up four inches in height and reach, the feisty Garbatt carried the fight from the opening bell, repeatedly beating Pelletier to the punch and bloodying her nose with a non-stop jab.

- In a six-round lightweight slugfest that could've been fought in a phone booth, Calgary's Steve Claggett improved to 5-0-1 with a unanimous decision over Scott Paul (5-3) of Niagara Falls, Ont. An impressive boxer-puncher with a fluidity beyond his years, Claggett was content to keep the fight on the ropes, scoring with inside combinations that briefly put Paul on the canvas in the second.

- In the four-round curtain-raiser, Edmonton lightweight Brad Marks showcased some ferocious body punching en route to a first-round KO of cross town rival Corey Lautischer, who was making his pro debut.

Marks, who notched a 24-second IKO in his pro debut last month, had the line of the night when asked afterwards if he'd like to get some rounds in the bank: "Yeah, I'd kinda like the fight to last long enough to see one of those card girls walk past my corner."

QUICK JABS: Prior to the first bout, Edmonton businessman Gerry Gilory was given an award by Mayor Steven Mandel in recognition of Gilroy's 25 years of behind-the-scenes support for pro and amateur boxing in the city ... There were some anxious moments at Thursday's weigh-in when Saccurato scaled 1.6 pounds over the limit of 135 and was given two hours to shed the difference - which she did. "I was right on 135 on the scale I bring along to all my fights, but the commission's scale had me a little over," said the champ.

MURRAY. GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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