Up-and-coming pro boxer Brian “Yard Dog” Samuel always wanted to let his fists fly.
In his short pro career, the Red Deer product has done just that.
The 27-year-old, ranked 10th by the Canadian Professional Boxing Council in the welterweight division with a record of 3-1 will duke it out against Montreal product Flavio Michel (3-2) on Friday in Edmonton.
“He’s a big puncher… I have to stay away from his right hand. So that’s what we’ve been working. Good defence. Making sure that I’m actually boxing. Don’t want to get drug into a slugging match,” Samuel said.
“Make him miss, make him pay. I’m not a real counter puncher. Basically what we’ve been working on is never staying in one place for more than one second at a time. If you stand there to punch, move again. Keep him guessing at all times.”
While his boxing addiction started as youngster when he was glued to the TV watching Rocky, Samuel said from the first time he was allowed to throw a punch, he was hooked.
“My mom had me watching the Rocky movies when I was like five. I could recite them all by the time I was 10,” he recalled.
From that moment Samuel said he bugged his mom constantly to join boxing.
He remembers being picked on as a kid and getting in a lot of fights in school, something that concerned his mom.
It wasn’t until he turned 12 that he got the chance to try the sport for the first time.
“When I was 12 she finally said let’s go see what it’s all about, and I went in and from the first night I was there I was hooked,” he said.
“I just couldn’t believe that they were not only allowing me, but praising me for punching people in the face. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.”
Samuel turned pro in May 2015.
His first professional fight was a loss, but since then the boxer affectionately known as the “yard dog” has rattled off three straight wins, including a TKO.
“One fight at a time but I want that Canadian Welterweight Title, and I know who I have to go through to get it. I’m making all the right moves,” the five-foot-seven, 147-pound boxer said.
Back when he was an amateur, his old coach Jim Kennedy, was his boss at Totem, now Rona.
“There was a contractor that always came in, I’d known him for years and would always call me the yard dog because I was the yard supervisor,” Samuel remembered.
“When Jim passed away back in 2012, I had to pay homage. Had to throw a shout out to the guy who helped me get to where I’m at. He wasn’t just a coach, he helped me become what I am now.”
Samuel takes on Flavio Michel at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Edmonton on Jan. 13.