Defence lawyer Mitchell Worsoff punched out Crown attorney Glen “Quicksilver” Gayle at the ballroom of the Toronto airport Holiday Inn last Saturday night.
But don’t worry, it wasn’t a courtroom dust-up gone too far. The two were going toe-to-toe in the main event of the first Boxing Counsel fundraising boxing match.
The event, billed as Justice By The Pound, attracted more than 400 spectators from the legal and boxing worlds and raised a few thousand dollars for the Elizabeth Fry Society. The evening consisted of four boxing matches with three of the three-round fights featuring lawyers fighting each other in the squared circle. All fights were sanctioned by the Ontario Boxing Association (OBA – not to be confused with the Ontario Bar Association) and were officiated under its auspices by certified judges and a referee.
In the first bout, Kosta Stratos squared off against Ben “The Boss” Moss. Stratos scored a TKO in the second round leaving The Boss a bit shaken.
But the tattooed Moss, a sole practitioner who admits he was motivated to get involved in the Boxing Counsel to help him quit smoking and get some regular exercise into his life, was not left unrewarded. He took home the plaque for best boxer of the night.
The second match-up had Marco “The Bara” Cuda taking on Jim “The Wind” Moriah. The Bara’s three-inch height deficit may have been his downfall as Moriah took the only full-length bout of the night on a unanimous decision on points.
Fight three featured an Ontario Boxing Association bout between 130-pounders Weng Hong and Tanner Chambers, who gave the lawyers a glimpse of what years of training can yield. Chambers took it on a unanimous decision on points.
The evening’s main event was the defence versus Crown match-up of Worsoff and Gayle. Spurred on by some of Canada’s top boxers yelling pointers like “Mitch, keep your chin up” from the crowd, Worsoff had Gayle off balance from the first round. A few more well placed punches in the second and Quicksilver was on the mat, with the doctor called in to make sure he was alright. He was shaken and a little stirred but otherwise fine.
The Boxing Counsel was the brainchild of criminal defence lawyer Lawrence Ben-Eliezer, who said it came to him one day last fall at the Brampton courthouse. The response to the proposed event was “quick and enthusiastic,” he said, with volunteers lining up to train and fight.
Ben-Eliezer said he “discovered the joys of being trained in the ‘sweet science’ of boxing” a couple of years ago after becoming extremely stressed out. Eager to start exercising again and getting on the road to a healthier lifestyle, he started boxing training.
“My stamina, my energy, my mental alertness, and self-confidence increased proportionately to my success in improving my boxing skills,” he said.
He enlisted the coaching talents of Mario Lechowski to launch the Boxing Counsel. Lechowski is a former Canadian lightweight boxing champion and for the past five years has been training mostly private clients. For the event, he honed the skills of the lawyers fighting in the red corner: Moss, Moriah, and Gayle.
Looking after the boys in blue - Stratos, Cuda, and Worsoff - was Enrico Mancini, who has coached the national boxing team and now teaches at Florida Jack’s gym in downtown Toronto.
The fighters were all keen to come on board.
Gayle, who was born in Jamaica and now works for the Crown Attorney’s Office in downtown Toronto, said he got involved because “I love to fight for a just cause.”
Mississauga-based “The Bara” Cuda, who said he came in intending to win, put on a good show even though he didn’t reign victorious. He said he participated for two reasons: “I enjoy combat sports and I also relish a challenging trial. This will be trial by combat.”
Moriah, another defence lawyer, looked forward to the balance between body and mind that boxing requires. He said, “Being part of the Boxing Counsel allows me to experience this at a very basic level, while doing so for a good cause.”
Sole practitioner Stratos also said he wanted to get involved in raising money for an “honourable charity” but was “also quite enthused about kicking some @$$!”
The tough guy of the night, Worsoff, unlike the other fighters who came into the ring accompanied by theme songs of the heavy metal and hip hop varieties, strolled in to the tune of the kid’s song “Wheels on the Bus.” If you want to see just how tough, you can listen to his theme song online at http://
After his knockout win, Mr. Tough, we’ll call him since he doesn’t have an official nickname, was handed his trophy by Canadian boxing legend George Chuvalo.
The night also included auctions of memberships to Florida Jack’s and some posters of Chuvalo from his heyday, one of which went for $600.
Ben-Eliezer said he hopes the event will become an annual one, predicting next year’s will be bigger and better.