LEXSON MATHIEU ALWAYS KNEW HE BELONGED IN THE RING. HE WAS 11 YEARS OLD WHEN HE BEGAN TRAINING, PROUDLY FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS HIS FATHER HAD LAID BEFORE HIM. HE GREW UP WATCHING THE LIKES OF HAITIAN-CANADIAN BOXING GREAT, JEAN PASCAL, WHOM HE HAS GREAT RESPECT FOR AS A FELLOW FIGHTER, NOT JUST AS A FAN.
Interview By Braydon Holmyard
Photography Genevieve Charbonneau
Fashion Editor Simon Venne
At 13, the scrawny boy from Quebec City was already climbing into the ring with grown men. On one memorable occasion, he threw a punch that knocked down a much larger, more experienced opponent. That was a feeling he never wanted to forget.
“I felt powerful,” Mathieu said after a training session in early August, recalling the moment when he realized what he was capable of. Seven years on, that power is only blossoming.
Mathieu made his professional boxing debut in January at Casino de Montreal, where he fought for the first time in front of his friends and family. It was a four-round bout in the super middle division, and the 19-year-old needed just 43 seconds to deliver his knockout punch.
After a salute in the ring to his younger brother Wilkens, who also boxes, it was time to celebrate the way the Mathieus always do — with food.
“We don’t really celebrate. I don’t really like partying, but I like food. I’ll eat pasta, fries, or go to all-you-can-eat sushi after,” Mathieu said. For a man who “loves food,” the strict diet that comes with boxing training and cutting weight is sometimes the most difficult challenge he faces.
“It’s like a second fight for me,” Mathieu said of his disciplined eating habits. One month before fight night, the only things he consumes are fish, egg whites, salad and water. “But it’s going to become a lifestyle. I’m going to live like this so I must make it a habit.”
That’s the type of commitment Mathieu made at a very young age. More often than not, he is grinding his way through a rigorous training regimen. Eat, train, sleep, repeat. It’s the typical life of a boxer trying to fight their way up the ranks. Earlier this summer, he completed an undefeated boxing marathon where he fought three times in 44 days, winning the first two by knockout and the last by unanimous decision.
Mathieu believes it’s this sort of effort that will separate him from a crowded crop of young boxers in Canada, where it’s crucial for a fighter to start their pro careers with lengthy win streaks and to end fights with knockouts. And so far, with a 5-0 record and four knockouts beside his name, Mathieu has done just that.
“I want fans to know how focused I am. How serious I take this. I want them to know I’m not like the other boxers. I’m totally different,” he said. “You’re never going to see me partying, or in a bad place in front of a camera. I’m always sharp, and I’m going to be sharper than any other boxer.”
Mathieu is a man of simple pleasures. Weeks off from the gym are rare. When he does take time off, he enjoys fishing, swimming and golfing with his younger brother at Shawinigan Lake in Lac-à-la-Tortue, Québec. But he is always itching to get back to boxing — the sport that makes him feel whole.
Boxing is a part of his identity. “I never really fell in love with the sport. It’s just something I’ve always done,” Mathieu said. “Before boxing, I did taekwondo. I have always fought, I’m always fighting. It’s just something that is a part of my life. With boxing, I never fell in love with it. It’s just me.”
Just months into his pro career, Mathieu doesn’t hold back setting lofty goals. He wants a 10-year career filled with long win streaks and title belts. He wants to make a name for himself and live the lavish lifestyle that so many boxing legends have before him. He casually mentions the successes of all-time greats Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He wants the money, the fame and all the food that comes with it.
Mathieu does not live the average life of a 20-year-old. And that’s the way he prefers it.
“People around me see me differently because they know what I can do in the ring. I’m not like anyone else. I’m different. I’m different from all normal people. I do something dangerous. I got a lot in my heart to do what I do, that’s what makes me different.”
And what about after all is said and done and he has reached the great heights of boxing in the next decade as planned? He’ll figure that out later. In the meantime, Mathieu is just focused on what he needs to do in the ring.
Photography Genevieve Charbonneau
Fashion Editor Simon Venne at JUDY INC.
Hair & Makeup Genevieve Hardy using NARS and SHU UEMURA
Photography Assistants Tom Bertholet and Patrick Custo Blanch
Retouching Lisa Hordyk