Brandon “L-Jack” Brewer has never been one to shy away from a challenge in the ring or outside of it.

In the past few years alone, Brewer has led the charge to bring high level combat sports to the area, built his own thriving fight promotion and established himself as New Brunswick’s toughest real estate agent—all while continuing to fight at a high level.

It should come as no surprise that the Fredericton-born boxer and entrepreneur has chosen to respond to the first loss of his professional career by moving up two weight classes to challenge someone he sees as a bigger, more powerful version of the man who defeated him.

Speaking to The Brunswickan in the leadup to his Oct. 26, showdown versus the United Kingdom’s Ryan ‘Tank’ Aston (20-5-2), Brewer (23-1-1) made it clear that he is looking to send a message in the fight.

“If you’ve ever seen a picture of (Aston) you know he is a beast” said Brewer when asked about the similarities between his upcoming opponent and Mark DeLuca (24-1) who was awarded the unanimous decision victory in their May matchup, an entertaining brawl that left both men bloodied. “I want to make a statement to DeLuca… I want a rematch, for sure”.

Conventional boxing wisdom would suggest taking a step back after your first career loss, possibly taking a couple of “easy” fights to get back on a winning streak before challenging anyone who could be seen as a real threat. Maybe fighting somebody with 10 wins, rather than 20.

The 34 year old Brewer is not interested in a step back however. Unsatisfied by the opportunity to test himself against the highly ranked up-and-coming slugger DeLuca in a fight broadcast internationally on DAZN, he sees the loss as something that was necessary to move forward and take his career to the next level.

Moving up two weight classes is just one of the changes he decided to make after the fight. Perhaps the most significant change made was moving his training camp to Guelph, Ont. where he will now be training with some of the countries top coaches and fighters after. Brewer previously spent most of his career training in New Brunswick where high-level trainers and sparring partners can be difficult 

“It was the best thing to ever happen to my career,” said Brewer of his recent loss and subsequent changes, “I think I was getting stagnant”.

Showing off his improvements and breaking into the upper echelons of his division will not be the only things “L-Jack” is fighting for when he steps into the ring in late October. The event, billed as “Fight the Stigma”, is being held in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick in support of a cause that is close to the heart of Brewer. He says boxing has helped him through his own battles with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and he now wants to use his platform to help combat the stigma that being open about one’s own mental health struggles is a sign of weakness, while showing that no one is too tough to be affected by mental illness.

For Brewer, the connection between testing himself physically in the ring and maintaining his emotional wellbeing outside of it is crystal clear. When asked what keeps him fighting when he has already built a successful career for himself in the business world, his answer was quick, succinct and without hesitation; “It’s good for my mental health. It makes me happy”.

Brewer will be hoping his fight on Oct. 26 will make his fans inside the Fredericton Coliseum as happy as fighting makes him.