After accomplishing everything he could as an amateur boxer in Canada, the next step for Moe Zawadi was clear: Link up with the country’s top promoter.
Zawadi, who won the Canadian national crown as an amateur four times, has inked a deal with Lee Baxter Promotions to make his professional debut in early 2021. “King Moe” was a dominant force as a junior in both the national and international circuits, and now will look to make a big splash in the middleweight division in the paid ranks.
“Words can’t even describe how excited I am. It’s been eleven years in the making. I’ve won pretty much every tournament I’ve been in, I’ve been in 14 tournaments and I’ve won 13 of them. This is what every fighter dreams of, to go pro and to do it at such a young age,” said Zawadi, who resides in Barrie, Ontario.
The 19-year old found himself at a tournament in Colorado Springs in 2018 alongside names like Diego Pacheco, Alexis Espino and Lorenzo Simpson, all of whom have gone on to successful young careers and significant exposure on outlets like DAZN. Once all of his contemporaries departed and made that leap, he felt it was time to join them in the pros.
“The plan was to be Olympic champion. But I found out that like a lot of sports, amateur boxing had a lot of politics in it. I lost a decision in the Olympic Trials that I didn’t think I lost and that my team didn’t think I lost. So after that we were like, okay, we have the tools to go pro, I’m more mature now, now’s the right time to go pro,” said Zawadi. “You’re getting punched in the head. Your body takes a lot of damage. You can only do it for so many years without making money, you’ve got to get paid for your craft.”
Zawadi’s acute sense of the value of his labour might come from his father Mark, an operating engineer who is a proud member of IUOE Local 793. A proud union family, his brothers Sheher, Abdul and Mohamed, and nephew Alexander, are all also Local 793 members. But it’s not just his family in his corner from the Local, it’s all 16,000 plus members, as the union helped sponsor his rise through the amateur ranks, and will continue to support him as he strives for bigger goals in the pros.
“They’re backing me with whatever chance we make, and one day, we believe we’re going to be world champion with their logo on my trunks,” he said.
In Baxter, Zawadi has linked up with a man who has shown an ability to get Canadian fighters opportunities on American and international television, and maneuver them into world title contention.
According to Baxter, he feels he’s found a fighter who can kickstar the next generation in Canadian boxing, particularly in a weight neighborhood that boasts some of the biggest names in the sport, like Canelo Alvarez.
“I first saw Moe knock out a 27-year old when he was still just 16 as an amateur, and I knew I was looking at something special,” said Baxter. “I jokingly asked him if he wanted to turn pro that day, but in the back of my head, I was kind of serious. From an early age he had the ability to be a counterpuncher who makes you pay with power, kind of like a Canelo. With his charisma, the way he carries himself, he could be the next Canadian boxing superstar.”
Details about Zawadi’s debut fight will be announced shortly.