Boxing card planned by wonder kid

MURRAY GREIG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

EDMONTON - John and Chantal Mendonca are the brains behind Alliance Promotions, but the face of the newest kid on Edmonton’s boxing block belongs to ... well ... a kid.

Twenty-two year old Joanna Mendonca was the happiest person in the house at Alliance’s Time To Shine World Boxing Council championship card at The Palace banquet hall on Friday night — and with good reason.

“Once the lights go down and that first bell rings, I can actually start to breathe again,” said the young lady who’s been learning the ropes, as it were, for almost her entire life.

Friday’s card, headlined by the WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title bout between Edmonton’s James Cermak and Frank White of Sarnia, Ont., was Alliance’s third show in as many months — a schedule that’s made Joanna’s introduction to promoting all the more impressive.

“With my dad being a coach and trainer, I was always down at the Cougar Boxing Club watching him, watching the fighters. At a very young age I decided I wanted to be involved in the sport at some level, so I finally ended up putting on the gloves myself,” she said

John Mendonca has fond memories of his daughter’s initial foray into the ring.

“She started boxing when she was eight, then gave it up when she turned 14 and became a girl,” the proud papa said with a chuckle.

“She went away for awhile, then got the bug that she wanted to fight again. She got back in the gym and won a couple of fights, then got into medical school.

“That’s actually how she wound up helping me promote. She organized a bunch of medicals for the commission, took care of all the little details, and decided she liked it.”

Now, as a full-fledged member of the Alliance Promotions team, Joanna is taking on a large portion of the workload that until recently kept her dad from devoting quality time to his other business interests, which include an auto body shop and a concrete company.

“It’s worked out great for both of us,” said Joanna.

“My dad is happiest when he’s out of the limelight, just coaching and working corners. He still has the final say on everything, but as I learn more, he’s giving me more responsibility.

“I love the challenge, but I never realized how much work is involved.

“It’s 24-7 when it comes to dealing with all the little problems that pop up. Whether it’s selling tickets, talking to printers about the poster or arranging to have fighters picked up at the airport, there’s always something. But at the end of the day, when we put on an entertaining card and the crowd goes home happy, all the hard work is worth it.”

Like his daughter, Mendonca measures the success of his promotions by the entertainment value they deliver — and so far he’s scoring knockouts.

“We might be new, but we have a long-term vision to keep building, keep improving. Our first responsibility is to Edmonton’s boxing fans, because they’re the folks who ultimately will decide if we succeed.

“In order to do that, we’ve got to keep things fresh, keep our shows entertaining and meaningful by having fights like this WBC Continental Americas title bout.

“The other important thing is to keep working with people who support that vision, guys like Roger (Sarna) at The Palace. He’s more than willing to give everybody a chance, because he wants boxing to succeed. Roger keeps his word and always delivers what he says he’ll deliver. In boxing, that’s a rare quality.”

murray.greig@sunmedia.ca


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