Calgary boxer honours family legacy, punching closer to the big time as title shot looms

An up-and-coming Calgary boxer and potential future champion moves another step closer to the big time this weekend, following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Devin Reti, 26, already has an impressive 14-0 professional record and hopes to continue that perfect run on Saturday night as he takes on experienced Mexican fighter Victor Rangel in Calgary, fighting for a Canadian Professional Boxing Council (CPBC) North American welterweight title belt.

Reti was born in Whitehorse and has Indigenous ancestry, connected to the Vuntut Gwitchin and Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nations.

The son of an RCMP officer, Reti grew up moving around Canada, growing up playing hockey but switching to boxing at 13.

“It’s what the accepted norm was as a small town Canadian kid. But I went into a boxing gym and I fell in love with it,” says Reti, after a gruelling training session at Calgary’s Bowmont Boxing Club.

Devin (The Raven) Reti says he’s feeling the buzz as the countdown begins to a fight that could propel his pro boxing career. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The sport is in Reti’s blood. His grandfather was Alberta hall-of-farmer Harvey Reti, known as The Taber Terror, who competed in the 1962 Commonwealth Games and was a member of the Canadian boxing team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

“I feel I always had that in my genes and now I’ve had 90 amateur fights and 14 pro fights,” Reti said.

People in Calgary’s tight-knit boxing world say Reti’s rise in the sport is bringing a buzz back to the city. 

“It’s very significant because we’re returning to championship boxing for the first time in several years in the city,” said Michael Short, promoter of this weekend’s Dekada Contender event, which takes place at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

“We’ve got a rich history of boxing in Calgary but it’s been absent at a high level for decades. We’ve been working to bring that level back,” said Short. “And you don’t have to go to Vegas for it.”

“There’s a lot more going on in this city than hockey and football. The magic of professional boxing on fight night, there’s nothing comparable,” added Short.

Michael Short, known locally as Mr. Boxing YYC, is a fight promoter and columnist. He says Reti is bringing championship boxing back to Calgary for the first time in several years. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

This weekend’s contest will be Reti’s first title fight and the first time he’ll have to fight for 10 rounds.

Reti credits a strong training camp for feeling primed and ready.

“It’s going really good, a lot of things are taken care of that have bugged me in previous camps, injuries and stuff,” said Reti.

“I’m starting to feel more excitement. When you’re further out from a fight, you’re too caught up in the routine of training and everything else that comes with it. And once it starts to get closer, there’s a certain energy in the air, and I’m definitely feeling it,” said Reti.

Short says Reti was previously turned turned down for a major fight that would have been broadcast around the world live on on DAZN sports, and a included a big payday. Reti was turned down because he hadn’t been scheduled past eight rounds before. This weekend will change that. 

“He would have been on TV, millions of people watching him fight, something you wait your whole career for. Now we’re here at the championship level and we’ll see how we progress,” said Short.

The fight takes place Saturday night at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

Also on the bill are local Algerian-born fighter Abdou Haddad and female boxer Kandi Wyatt, who fought last year for a WBO world title.

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