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George Gordon takes a punch to the chin from Sabi Hadjiev during the opening fight in the Light Weight class at the "Toughest Man in the Yukon" boxing matches at the Takhini Arena on Thursday night.

Dawson man wins Toughest Man title

The Dawson City man who represented Canada in boxing at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia was back in the ring Thursday night in front of 1,200 to 1,500 fans at Takhini Arena.

By Whitehorse Star on July 19, 1991

The Dawson City man who represented Canada in boxing at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia was back in the ring Thursday night in front of 1,200 to 1,500 fans at Takhini Arena.

George Mason, 32, earned the title as the Toughest man in the Yukon and $1,000 in the 70 kg (154 lbs) and under category.

Shane Sutcliffe of Nanaimo, B. C. won the heavy weight category of 82 kg (180 lbs) and over and Jeff MacPheat of Whitehorse took home the purse in the middle weight division.

The event was billed as the Toughest Man in the Yukon competition with invitations going out to street fighters, bikers, martial artists, brawlers and bouncers.

It was actually an amateur boxing card where conditioning an experience proved more valuable than braun.

Kevin White, a 32-year-old Whitehorse man who challenged 16-year-old Shane Sutcliffe for the heavyweight title, voluntarily withdrew after two rounds because he simply ran out of gas.

"When I sat down after the second round I thought I was in there for about 10 minutes." said White of the minute-and-a-half round. " I was too tired to throw anything with any power."

I knew if I did not finish him in the first round I would lose."

White did stagger Sutcliffe in the opening seconds. And it was during the first round that the event for the first time of the night looked like a street fight when White and Sutcliffe wrestled each other to the mat and exchanged a few blow before the referee and a couple of ring-side managers got in and separated them.

For Sutcliffe, it was his fifth Tough Man competition, with this being his third victory. He trains in the martial arts, won a kickboxing tournament six months ago and plans to go on to a pro-boxing career in two or three years.

"There is more thinking in boxing than people think," Sutcliffe said in an interview. "That guy out there tonight, he was stronger than me. I'll admit that."

But after the one incident early in the first round, Sutcliffe said he settled down and used his experience and conditioning to earn the victory.

Mason said he trained for four weeks prior to the fight. And if he hadn't he would have lost the third and final fight in what was the closest decision of the night. Although Mason had his share of support, there was obvious an agreement from the crowd when it was announced Mason won the split decision over his 22-year-old Bulgarian competitor, Sabi Hadjiev.

"If I was not in shape for this third fight I would have lost," he said. Hadjiev, he said, was a good experienced boxer.

Organizer Mike Olshak, who hopes to open is own karate school with the profits from the match, said he may hold another competition next year or during the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival if he can find a place.

Earlier this week, the board of director's of the women's Transition home, Kaushee's Place called for a boycott of the event. The board said the event promoted expression through violence and wold ultimately lead to violence against women and children.

Sutcliffe, who made a point of asking one reporter if he could say hi to his girlfriend, said he does not agree that events such as these promote violence.

Boxers, he said, prefer the sport because it is a one-on-one sport, not a team sport.

For more Yukon history, purchase the three editions of history totaling over 300 pages and covering 100 years of stories reported in the Whitehorse Star from 1900 up to 2000. $3.00 per copy (shipping not included) To order, please contact Circulation

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