When members of the Old Sydney Society meet on Thursday at the society's museum at 173 Charlotte St., at 7:30 p.m., they can expect to see some boxing.
The fists will be flying on the big screen in the world premiere of the new film, “Distinction Earned: Cape Breton’s Boxing Golden Era.” The 20-minute, 40-second documentary is based on the book of the same name written by Sydney writer and Cape Breton Post columnist Paul MacDougall.
During the 1940s until the 1970s, Cape Breton was a boxing mecca producing multiple national champions, many who went on to international acclaim. “Distinction Earned” uses interviews, archival footage, photographs and cartoons to transport the viewer to Industrial Cape Breton in the mid-century where boxing flourished against the backdrop of the coal mines and steel plant. The film examines the role of the trainers (Johnny Nemis, John Cechetto), the venue (Venetian Gardens), the cutman (Rudy Plichie), the promoter (Gussie MacLellan), the champs (George “Rockabye” Ross, Tyrone Gardiner, Blair Richardson) and the fans.
All interconnected, it was their passion and drive that took the sport from the backrooms of grocery stores all the way to Madison Square Garden. More than a sports story, this is a grassroots, working-class success story and a celebration of a time when Cape Bretoners were amongst the best athletes in the world.
The director, Charles Currie, and writer Paul Macdougall will be at the film premiere to take questions. Special guests Tyrone Gardiner and Rudy Plichie will be there as well.
IF YOU GO…
- WHAT: Premiere of the new film, “Distinction Earned: Cape Breton’s Boxing Golden Era.”
- WHERE: Sydney Museum, 173 Charlotte St., Sydney
- WHEN: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.