Calgary’s Steve “The Dragon” Claggett is the talk of the Calgary boxing world as he arrived on Monday at his gym Southpaw Boxing as the first Calgarian to hold the IBF North American super lightweight title.
Claggett won a split decision on Friday in Montreal against hometown favourite Yves Ulysse Jr., handing him his first ever pro loss. The 28-year-old former grad of St. Francis High School said the hostile environment in the ring in Montreal helped him.
“You know you’re going against the crowd and the whole venue, so it kind of put me in a spot where my back was against the wall and I think that actually helped out. It was an experience and there’s a lot of emotion in there,” he said.
Claggett has been boxing since the age of 13. Friday’s win makes him the Canadian champion and gives him a top 20 world ranking. It was the biggest win of his career and now his sights are set on trying to win a world title.
“That puts me in line for the IBF World title — Light Welterweight 140 pounds — that’s the one I’ve been looking at and aiming for and dreaming about. I believe that’s the one I’m going to get.”
Vlad Goldenstein has been working as Claggett’s coach for just over a year and had great confidence he would win.
“The fight was hard and grueling and difficult so he had to dig really deep, but I’m happy,” Goldenstein said.
Claggett’s down-to-earth personality out of the ring has made him very popular in the Calgary boxing community. Heavyweight boxer Dwayne Lewis says he’s a huge inspiration to all Calgary boxers.
“I watched it at home and I practically went through the roof when he won the title. Steve is a big inspiration around here, he’s a great guy, a great person, a great fighter, he’s the total package,” Lewis said.
Warren Grenier, the owner of Southpaw Boxing was in Claggett’s corner for the fight, and said winning away from your home turf made the achievement even more special.
“It’s not really easy to win a title in Montreal, or off your home turf in general, and the next thing you know his hand is the one being raised in the air and we’re all elated,” Grenier said.
Claggett plans to take the next month off before deciding on his next fight and looks forward in the future to fighting at home in Calgary as well.