Bahdi abandons Olympic dream
Boxer Lucas Bahdi’s dream of representing Canada at the 2020 Olympics is over.
In January, the 25-year-old Niagara Falls native chose to end his Olympic dreams and become a pro boxer.
“I could no longer trust the national team program,” the A.N. Myer alumnus said. “They weren’t looking out for my best interests.
“I couldn’t trust them and just because you are national champion, it doesn’t mean anything any more. It’s not how it used to be.”
The three-time national champion moved to Quebec to train with the national team last year and quickly discovered things weren’t set up for him to succeed.
“I lived in Montreal for seven months and I tried to play by the rules and I found out I was just being used as a sparring partner and wasting my time,” he said. “I decided enough was enough.”
One of Bahdi’s biggest concerns was sparring his main competitor during training.
“It was pretty clear to me that he was training him to beat me and I had already beaten him twice at the nationals,” he said. “All he needed to do was a little bit better in the second or the third round and they will give him a split decision.
“I couldn’t handle all the politics. The same story that happened to me in 2016 was going to happen in 2020.”
His last run at an Olympic berth is still fresh in his memory.
As the defending national champion in 2016, he went into the Olympic trials as the top seed, but hurt himself in sparring a week before the event.
“I send in a doctor’s note and I did everything I was told to do by the national team coach and the day before the competition started he told me there was nothing he could do and I lost my spot.”
Bahdi won the nationals again that year while David Gauthier, the bronze medallist at the 2015 nationals and the winner of the Olympic trials, headed to the first international Olympic qualifier hoping to earn a berth in the Olympics. Gauthier hurt his shoulder in a semifinal loss.
Meanwhile, Bahdi represented Canada in a dual meet versus Germany. He says that he and other boxers were told their performances at the dual meet would determine which fighters would go to the world championships in June, the final Olympic qualifier.
Bahdi knocked his opponent out in the second round and was one of only two of 10 Canadians boxers to win a fight versus the Germans. The other was Toronto’s Arthur Biyarslanov, who represented Canada at the Olympics.
“I was happier than ever,” he said. “I was going to the world championships and this was my chance to qualify for the Olympics.”
But weeks went by and Bahdi heard nothing. Two weeks before the worlds, he was told he wasn’t going.
Given that background, it is easy to see why Bahdi is back living in Niagara Falls and looking to launch his pro career. He has been talking with a number of promoters and plans to be fighting this month.
“Whether I am with a promoter to doing it on my own, I have my eye on the 18th,” Bahdi said. “There’s a few shows on the 18th that I am looking to be fighting on.”
Bahdi is presently training with Steve Bailey in Guelph at the TNT Boxing Club and at House of Five in Niagara Falls with Willis McManaman
He believes his skills translate well to the pro level.
“I am a knockout artist in the amateurs and my style is definitely more suited for the pros, ” he said, “I’m pretty confident with what I have and what my team has to offer. I have the best coaches in Canada with Steve and Willis and us as a team together, we will be able to handle anything now.”
He is looking at putting together an ambitious schedule.
“I want to do it Mike Tyson style. I want 10 to 15 fights this year and I want to stay really, really busy, especially my first two years.”
Included in that schedule will be some action close to home.
“I am going to be bringing some big events to Niagara Falls and hoping to have my first one at the end of this year. By that time, I want to be 8-0.”