As per usual for The Fight City, last week we had a major boxing event featuring stand-out performances from contenders and rising young talents, and this week we get another big fight card, also featuring exciting, young prospects on their way up. Saturday, April 8th it’s time again to visit the Tohu Theatre for another show from Grant Brothers Boxing and Rixa Promotions and everyone who does will be getting more than their money’s worth as no fewer than ten fights are scheduled.
In the main event it’s the return of top prospect Erik Bazinyan after a seven month hiatus. Scheduled to appear on this past January’s card, Bazinyan suffered a training injury and the match had to be cancelled, but word is he’s back in top shape and ready to rumble. If that is indeed the case, and given the young Bazinyan’s undeniable talent and the ease with which he has outclassed his opponents to date, there’s no reason to expect anything other than another impressive win for the Armenian immigrant who became a Canadian citizen a year ago.
However, his opponent, light heavyweight Alis Sijaric (13-2) of Switzerland, isn’t exactly a pushover. With 11 knockouts in his 13 wins, Sijaric boasts some decent power, plus he’s never been stopped, and thus he should serve as a barometer to help us gauge Bazinyan’s progress. The plan is for Erik to face more daunting tests in the near future; Sijaric should help the prospect’s team know if he is in fact ready for the challenges to come.
The other intriguing match features Golden Garcia in his first co-main event. At 8-0, the young lightweight needs more fights and more rounds before he can be considered truly world class, and yet Garcia stands out in the Rixa stable for his consistency, discipline, and the progression he has demonstrated in recent fights. Indeed, in his last few outings Garcia has looked more than ready for bigger challenges; an impressive win over Jorge Luis Melendez (8-3-1) will only reinforce that perception.
If Bazinyan and Garcia are in showcase matches designed to herald bigger challenges ahead, so too is Roody Pierre-Paul who faces veteran Noel Meija Rincon (20-11- 1), an opponent significant for the fact that Canada is his second home. Indeed, the Mexican journeyman has fought here no fewer than eight times in the last two years and so Pierre-Paul’s performance will be evaluated against those of Bruno Bredicean, Batyr Jukembayev and Mathieu Germain.
Speaking of the fighting Bredicean brothers, the older of the two, Dario, whose record currently stands at 12-0, is also slated to appear on Saturday’s card, against an opponent yet to be named. As will former Olympian Christian M’Billi (2-0), undefeated super lightweight Dwayne Durel (6-0), and exciting prospects Chann Thonson (1-0) and Jordan Balmir (3-0). Plus, two young pugilists will be making their pro debuts, Jean-Michel Bolivar and Mohamed Soumaoro.
Soumaoro is a charismatic fellow and this writer had the pleasure of meeting him after a recommendation from Manny Montreal and several inquiries on the part of the ambitious, young pugilist who came to Canada at 17 by way of both Guinea and Cuba. But it was in Montreal that Soumaoro learned to box and where his journey as a professional fighter will begin.
A past winner of the Adidas Cup, Soumaoro showed uncommon courage when he dislocated his shoulder in the semi-final bout of the Golden Gloves and, incredibly, competed in the final match despite the injury, only to lose by decision. A sharp counterpuncher who styles himself after Juan Manuel Marquez, the 24-year-old super lightweight cites the confidence of his trainer, Jessy-Ross Thompson, as his chief motivation to turn pro. “He believes in my ability more than I do!” says the young fighter. “So I’m fighting for my coach.”
Ten fights on one night at the Tohu Theatre, and another chance for Montreal fight fans to see, live and in person, young boxing talents in action as they take the next step towards greater glory. Just one more reason why we call Montreal “The Fight City.”
— Michael Carbert