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Hastings boxer to be inducted in MN Boxing Hall of Fame

Larry LaCoursiere earned plenty of trophies over the course of his career. (Star Gazette photo by Michelle Wirth)

After about 150 amateur fights and 25 years of professional fighting, Hastings boxer Larry “Lightning” LaCoursiere is going to be inducted into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, at Mystic Lake Casino.

“That’s pretty amazing to me for a scrawny kid from Hastings, Minnesota, getting into the Hall of Fame,” LaCoursiere said of the induction. “It’s just an honor, I mean it’s unbelievable to me.”

LaCoursiere was one of the top welterweights in Minnesota history. His record of 26-9-1 included fights against opponents such as Hector Camacho Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez, Winky Wright and Tony Lopez. He also beat another Minnesota Hall of Famer, Mike Evgen, for the state welterweight title. He was even in the match before the infamous 1997 fight between Holyfield and Mike Tyson.

LaCoursiere said he remembers his 8-year-old self asking about boxing. His father started up a gym in Hastings and he immediately had a big interest in the sport. His two brothers were in boxing and he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

He really became inspired in 1976 when Sugar Ray Leonard fought in the Olympics. Leonard was also a welterweight and LaCoursiere said he turned out to be the same kind of fighter as his role model.

“I would get hit every now and then, but I didn’t take the full force of the blows because I was moving all the time,” LaCoursiere said.

In 1990, LaCoursiere turned pro. He said he started out with a great record going 16-0 for wins, but then he had a fight in Australia with Kostya Tszyu, who LaCoursiere said was number one in the world the previous year as an amateur.

“I got beat up by him, but he ended up winning I think three world titles after that, so he was no slouch,” LaCoursiere said.

Although he lost to Tszyu in Australia, LaCoursiere went on to have fights in places like Denmark, France, Hawaii, South Africa and more. LaCoursiere credits his career to his ability to hit and not get hit. He was fast, which is why he took the nickname “Lightning.”

“His punches were so fast, he hit like lightning,” said LaCoursiere’s wife, Deb.

Throughout his entire professional career as a boxer, LaCoursiere still had a full-time job at Intek Plastics. LaCoursiere would go to his job and spend two hours at the gym every night. In addition, he had three children and a wife. Deb said boxing was like a part-time job for him and he worked really hard.

Even though he worked hard, there was one thing LaCoursiere wishes he could have done during his career. He always wanted to win a belt. He always wanted to display a belt encased in glass, and that is the one reason he said he feels like he failed.

Although he has the regret of not winning a belt during his boxing career, LaCoursiere said he is very fortunate to have had the career he did. He made a lot of friends, he was fortunate enough to travel to various places and he has fond memories of winning a match.

“There was nothing like the high that you feel when the referee raises your hand,” he said. “To this day, it just gives me tingles.”

LaCoursiere is looking forward to the induction ceremony where he will also be doing a short speech. And since the ceremony is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket, LaCoursiere said he hopes to see some Hastings community members there because the community was there supporting him throughout his career as well.

“I just want to thank Hastings,” he said. “Every time I had a fight it was packed.”

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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