Known throughout the boxing world as 'The Angry Bear', Vernon Linklater of Thunder Bay enjoyed an incredible career as one of the finest amateur boxers ever to come out of northwestern Ontario. Starting to box out of Thunder Bay's Gilbert Weldon Memorial Boxing Club in the late 1970s, it did not take long before Vernon was earning success in the ring. In 1981 he claimed the Ontario Intermediate Boxing title and silver medals at the Canadian and Golden Gloves championships that same year.
For the next ten years Vernon tested his strength against some of the finest boxers in the world and he did not disappoint his many fans. His first national title came in 1983 at the Canadian Amateur Boxing Championships. He went on to earn three more Canadian Super Heavyweight titles throughout his career.
Vernon's accomplishments on the international stage were outstanding. Named to the Canadian Boxing Team in 1983 he represented Canada with distinction earning a silver medal at the Guinness Commonwealth Federation Amateur Boxing Championships that same year.
The year 1990 was an impressive one for Vernon. It started with his bronze medal performance at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. That Commonwealth medal was followed by another bronze medal at the World Cup of Boxing in Bombay, India.
In 1991 Vernon retired from the sport of boxing with an impressive record. In 150 bouts he had only been knocked out twice. His opponents, on the other hand, did not fair as well, as Vernon had knocked them out 42 times.
Although his opponents may think he deserved his nickname the "Angry Bear", those that have had the pleasure of knowing him realize that he really does not live up to the name. With his success in boxing and his work as an Indigenous youth councillor, Vernon truly is a champion inside and outside the ring.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996