Junior lightweight boxer Joey Laviolette may have a big reputation in Canada, but he is a virtual unknown in the United States.
The 29-year-old native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, hopes to change that when he takes on Avery Sparrow, of Philadelphia, PA, in the scheduled eight-round main event Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the 2300 Arena.
The Sparrow-Laviolette contest tops a 10-bout card which begins at 7.30 pm.
Laviolette may be only 6-0, 4 K0s, as a pro, but he had a prolific amateur career in which he won 85 out of 111 bouts and four Canadian National Championships. He also was a member of the Canadian National Team from 2009 to 2011.
“My father used to train, although he never competed as a boxer, so he took me and my brother Matt to the gym when I was 10 years old and I just never left and that’s how I got started,” Laviolette said.
“When I was in high school I played recreational basketball and ice hockey but I never competed on a school team or in an official league.”
As for going up against a talented fighter like Sparrow (7-1, 3 K0s), Laviolette does not appear to be intimidated or fearful.
“It’s a big opportunity to showcase my skills against a good fighter,” Laviolette said. “This will be my first professional fight outside of Canada, but going to somebody else’s hometown to fight never bothered me as an amateur and I don’t think it will bother me as a professional.
“I competed in the Francophone Games in Lebanon (for French-speaking countries) and the Panama Games in Mexico and in various tournaments in Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States a couple of times and I won the Ringside Tournament there in 2009.
“I feel I’m right where I need to be at 6-0 and this is a perfect point in my career to have a true test against Sparrow.”
A pro since 2012, Laviolette has boxed twice this year against a pair of Mexican featherweights. He out-pointed Juan Manuel Benitez over four rounds and stopped Emmanuel Villamar in six. Both fights were in New Brunswick, Canada.
Away from the ring, Laviolette works as a carpenter during the day and he also is a musician, occasionally taking part in small acoustic performances in local pubs in Nova Scotia. He plays the guitar and refers to himself as an intermediate piano player. His favorite Canadian fighter is Arturo Gatti, but his all-time favorite is Sugar Ray Leonard.
Laviolette has been married to his wife, Lisa, since 2012, and they have a 4-year-old daughter, Breah.
“I know there is a lot of buzz in Philadelphia and the boxing community about this fight with Avery Sparrow, a true test for me,” Sparrow said. “I feel truly blessed to have the family I have and the ability to compete in a sport that has captivated me since my dad first took me to the Citadel Boxing Gym when I was 10. This next fight with Sparrow is everything I have been training for up to this point.”