NEW YORK (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed off his sparring skills outside the political ring on Thursday, lacing up a pair of boxing gloves for a workout during a trip to New York.
Returning to the spotlight that accompanied his White House visit and “bromance” with U.S. President Barack Obama last month, Trudeau donned a red sleeveless top that revealed his large native Haida raven tattoo to spar at Gleason’s in Brooklyn, a gym made famous by the likes of Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and “the Raging Bull” Jake LaMotta.
With a mix of gym faithful and media members looking on, the 44-year-old Trudeau, who was accused during last year’s election campaign of being a political lightweight, spent most of his hour-long workout sparring with professional boxer and former WBA super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman.
“It was great to train him. He is very likable and he has the potential to impact people in his country and around the world very positively,” Foreman said afterward. “And he’s got a heavy punch!”
Trudeau’s Liberal government has rolled out a mandate of economic investment, refugee assistance and open government, and has enjoyed a prolonged honeymoon in the public eye, avoiding major mistakes and maintaining popularity with voters and international media alike.
He was in New York a day early in advance of signing the Paris climate-change agreement on Friday.
On a visit to the White House last month, Trudeau sparked a storm on social media and myriad memes and jokes about the shared admiration between Trudeau and Obama.
On Wednesday, GQ magazine awarded Trudeau a spot on its list of “Most Stylish Men Alive Right Now”, calling him a real-life version of a Disney prince and a “snowboarding John Mayer doppleganger.”
The men’s magazine also mocked up a cover featuring Trudeau, in a navy suit and tie, as “That new suave Canadian leader dude,” but said the issue would not make its way to newsstands because it had already put too many Canadians on its front page in recent times.
“He seems like a pretty cool guy,” said Tony Baldwin, who has been a trainer at Gleason’s for seven years, after watching Trudeau take on a string of sparring partners.
When Trudeau was asked how he felt as his workout came to a finish, he first caught his breath and then replied with his trademark smile, “Good! Oh, yeah.”
Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York and Andrea Hopkins in Toronto; Editing by Alan Crosby