Previous Article Next Article FNPI Search Home Previous Year Next Year Year List

Dana Laframboise: The Gentleman Of The Ring

Donna Brewer

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      WINTER 1999/2000      v30 n01 p04  
Dana Laframboise Dana Laframboise is a champion boxer and a formidable opponent in the ring. But, he has been criticized by coaches, managers and technical directors for not being aggressive enough and not vocal enough. Those who know him realize that these qualities, in fact, show a maturity far beyond his 19 years.

When friends and family describe Laframboise they use words like humble, quiet, sensitive, laid-back and content. He has an amazing capacity to take his accomplishments in stride, yet appreciate that he's been blessed with a unique gift of skill inside the boxing ring. As a result, those within the international boxing world refer to him as the "Gentleman of the Ring".

Laframboise's list of accomplishments is impressive. He is a nine-time provincial champion, a Canadian national gold medalist at the junior, intermediate and senior levels and has won many international titles to name but a few. His record stands at 124 bouts, with 106 wins and 18 losses.

Achieving such a remarkable record takes true commitment. But more that this, it takes setting priorities. In May 1999, Laframboise had 23 days to complete Grade 12 after having missed approximately two months of school due to boxing commitments. He was presented with a huge opportunity to go to Liverpool, England to represent Canada at an elite tournament. Instead, he chose to finish out his 23 days. His decision upset the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association, but made his mother proud.

This young boxer is quick to give credit for his success to his strong family ties. His dad, Les Laframboise; his mom, Tina Larose; his three sisters and one brother are his greatest supporters. Les spent many evenings coaching Laframboise in the basement of their home. This encouragement and support of his son has helped shape him into the champion he is today. Tina provided Laframboise with the emotional and spiritual support that complemented the strengthening of his body. "I can hear my mom yelling in a crowd of 3,000," he says.

“I want my people to be
proud of who they are
because I'm proud that I'm
First Nation,”

The highlight of Laframboise's boxing career came during the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg in August 1999. Forty-two countries were in attendance and Laframboise took the silver medal after being defeated in the final match by the Cuban contender. Laframboise's grace and dignity shone through at this time. During the ceremonies that followed the fight, Laframboise took the hand of the Cuban winner and together they raised the Cuban flag. In his other hand, he proudly raised an eagle feather.

"I want my people to be proud of who they are because I'm proud that I'm First Nation," said Laframboise after the ceremonies. He is the only person from western Canada on the Canadian National Team and the only First Nation person.

Laframboise is currently searching out his spiritual roots. His Great-grandmother gave him his Indian name of "Leader" when he was still a baby. His deceased Uncle Lawrence Lavallee was also a powerful influence on him. After winning the silver medal in Winnipeg he said, "I want to give this medal to my Uncle for encouraging me and many others in our traditional ways. I will keep this medal forever as a reminder that the only way I can keep my own strength is to share it with others."

Laframboise is indeed sharing his strength. He acts as a positive role model for many young people, both First Nation and non-First Nation, and does not hesitate to share his story to inspire others to live out their dreams.

The goal for Laframboise now is to box in the Summer Olympics at Sydney, Australia in September 2000. After that he will retire his amateur gloves and turn professional. His career goal is to attend the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and earn a degree in Social Work.

In the future, Dana Laframboise will continue to act as a "Leader". It is certain that he will always remain "A Gentleman in the Ring" regardless of the ring he chooses.