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Twenty-five years ago, Mr. Bourque was a chiselled amateur talent. But now he has only the souvenirs: a brace that hugs his knee and black boxing gloves that hide arthritic knuckles.

Kevin Van Paassen

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‘I’ve got to get it out of my system,’ he told himself. ‘Just the one time.’

Kevin Van Paassen

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Last fall, Mr. Bourque received an invitation from Ringside World Championships. He had already declined the invitation several years in a row -- his wife, Carol, had cried the last time he boxed, in a charity match 15 years ago.

Kevin Van Paassen

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His first steps toward getting back in the ring were improving his fitness. Next would come bag workouts before his coach finally gave him the green light to begin sparring.

Kevin Van Paassen

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In the interim, he would shed 20 pounds from his already trim 194-pound frame.

Kevin Van Paassen

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Wayne Bourque puts on his hand wraps before a sparring match.

Kevin Van Paassen

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Mr. Bourque works with trainer Carlos Morales in the ring.

Kevin Van Paassen

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Thought he wasn't as fast as he used to be, Mr. Bourque suspected he could hold his own against someone his own age.

Kevin Van Paassen

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'I’ve never been knocked out. I don’t know what knocked out is. But at 20, you’re young. You can come back. At 50, you’re a little more vulnerable.'

Kevin Van Paassen

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Masters fighters wear thicker gloves and head gear for protection. And instead of three-minute rounds, they fight three one-minute rounds.

Kevin Van Paassen

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Mr. Bourque prepared seven months for his fight in Kansas City.

Kevin Van Paassen

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The result from Kansas City: a six-pound silver belt for his win in the ring. 'It’s over. I’m gonna soak this up. I’ve proven something.'

Kevin Van Paassen

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