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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau gives tips to a young boxer as he visits his regular gym in Montreal ahead of the Quebec leaders’ debate

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

On the eve of the first French-language leaders' debate of the federal election, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau visited his old trainer who helped him punch his way to victory against Sen. Patrick Brazeau in 2012.

Trudeau walked into the martial arts gym in Montreal's north end Wednesday around noon, wearing black jogging pants and a maroon T-shirt, and gave a big hug to the gym's owner, Ali Nestor.

Several young students were waiting with Nestor to spar with the Liberal leader and learn some pointers.

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For about 10 minutes, Trudeau, Nestor and the students practised techniques and sparred together lightly in the ring.

Wednesday's boxing session was the second time Trudeau laced up the gloves before a debate night during the campaign.

He boxed with Paul Brown in Toronto hours before the Maclean's debate on Aug. 6.

Nestor trained with Trudeau for six months before the Liberal leader fought Brazeau, then a Conservative senator, in a charity match three years ago.

Trudeau beat Brazeau in the third round despite being considered the underdog.

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