AUSTIN, Wednesday, August 27th – In the ring, James “Mandingo” Kirkland has been compared to Mike Tyson ferocious power, a desire to knockout you out with every punch and one of the meanest, fiercest scowls you will ever come across inside the ropes. He even looks the part, with black trunks, no socks and no flashy robes to distract from the business at hand..
There is one difference, Kirkland says.
“Tyson had some gifts, power, movement, some things he can do in the ring,” Kirkland said. “But I’m better than Tyson. I can box, move, the whole nine yards. My style’s like his, I’m coming straight at you, but when I meet someone that can counter that style, I will still find a way to knock you out. Tyson was a one-dimensional fighter. So when someone compares me to Tyson, I say “Thanks,” but I’m better than him.”
It is that kind of supreme confidence that Kirkland (22-0, 19 KOs) is bringing with him into one of the biggest fights of his life, a 10-round junior middleweight fight with Ricardo Cortes (22-2-1, 15 KOs)
on Friday, September 5, on the 10th anniversary show of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The fight will take place in Kirkland’s hometown of Austin, Texas, at the Austin Music Hall. Ticket prices for the show, presented by TKO Boxing Promotions, are $100, $75, $50, $40 and $25; prices $5 more day of the show and VIP tables are available. Doors open at 6:30, first bout at 7:30. For tickets go to www.gettix.com or call (866) 443-8849.
Kirkland’s confidence is backed up by more than just his words. There is his unblemished record, including an 86-percent knockout rate. There’s his recent destruction of promising boxer Erosomele Albert on HBO, a knockout that took all of 66 seconds. And there is also his trainer, world-renowned former women’s champion Ann Wolfe, who trains Kirkland in Austin out of Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym. Wolfe ended her career with a 24-1 record with 16 knockouts and multiple world championships.
“She uses a lot of old-school tactics, and they are going to help me a lot,” Kirkland said. “It is old school,” Wolfe said. “By that I mean, they used to be so strong and in great shape. You have to be strong from head to toe, mind and spirit. If James keeps up training, he’s got the power, skill and determination, he’ll do great things.”
Kirkland has already accomplished plenty in a career that began in 2001, after Donald “Pops” Billingsley successfully got a “street-fighting” kid off the streets of East Austin and into a gym.
Kirkland is currently the WBO / NABO junior middleweight champion, and is ranked No. 3 by the WBA, No. 7 by the WBC and No. 5 by the IBF at 154 pounds.
But none of that is good enough for Mandingo. He wants that title shot.
“It seems like there’s been big opportunities to fight on certain card, and they pull me off,” Kirkland said. “I’ve been proving myself, and feel I really deserve that shot to get a title. But they won’t give it
to me, and I’ve been put in that category of ‘too dangerous’ to fight. I don’t blame them for being scared. I’d be scared of me, too.”
“James Kirkland is one of the most exciting fighters out there today,” said TKO Boxing Promotions promoter Chet Koerner. “He will eventually get his opportunity for a title shot and when that happens he will hold those titles for a long time, he has all the skills and talent to go a long way in this sport, he’s just that good .”
The most frightening part of Kirkland’s game is his left hand. It packs power usually reserved for much bigger boxers, and coupled with Kirkland’s relentless style, it usually makes for a short night for opponents. Kirkland is sure it will for Cortes.
“I know this fight on September 5th is not going to last,” Kirkland said. “You can’t keep up with that type of pressure, speed, power. I’m left-handed, I’m a presser, I know where I’m going with my hands, I’m accurate, and I’m coming.”
And so is ESPN, for one of the biggest nights in the long-running tenure of one of boxing’s most successful shows.The acclaimed series Friday Night Fights began 10 years ago, and has featured many champion fighters over the years.
The September 5th show will feature Brian Kenny working ringside with Teddy Atlas. The viewing audience will be treated to a feature on Ann Wolfe as well as the results of ESPN’s 10th-anniversary fan voting, which include results for the KO of the decade / Fight of the decade / Most Memorable Fighter of the decade on Friday Night Fights.
But the biggest show is going to come in the main event, when a hometown fighter takes another step to a title he knows he’s ready for.
“It’s great, and I really thank ESPN for giving me a opportunity to show them I can fight for a title,” Kirkland said. ” Got the city behind me. More than a blessing to show people in my town show what capable of doing.”
Pawel Wolak returns to headline “Havoc At The Hilton”
Sept. 26 at Huntington Hilton Hotel
NEW YORK CITY (August 27, 2008) – Promoter Bob Duffy today announced that his Ring Promotions will present “Havoc At The Hilton,” featuring Polish power puncher Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak (21-1, 14 KOs), Friday night, September 26 at the Huntington Hilton Hotel.
Wolak, originally from Poland and now living and training in Brooklyn, is coming off his first pro loss August 21 to Ishe Smith (20-3, 9 KOs), star of The Contender Season 1, by a close 10-round decision. The 26-year-old Wolak is the reigning WBC Interim USNBC and Polish International light middleweight champion. He faces Chad Greenleaf (10-10-1, 4 KOs) in the eight-round main event on Sept. 26.
“Pawel is a real fighter who wanted to get right back into the ring after his first loss,” Duffy said. “He’s one of the most explosive punchers around and has a very enthusiastic fan base. Everybody gets their money’s worth at a Pawel Wolak fight. We also have some of the most popular, entertaining fighters from the Long Island area on this card.”
Also fighting on the card are Long Island welterweight Mike Ruiz (8-2, 5 KOs), New York State heavyweight champion Darrel Madison (10-1, 3 KOs), out of Central Islip and riding a nine-fight win streak, Merrick heavyweight Costa Philippou (3-0, 1 KO), Garden City welterweight Kevin “Irish Storm” Collins (8-8-2, 2 KOs), veteran Harlem light heavyweight George “Blaze” Walton (18-3, 12 KOs), and Brooklyn light heavyweight Will Rosinsky (1-0, 1 KO), three-time U.S. National Golden Gloves champion.
Tickets are priced at $100.00 (Golden Ringside), $75.00 (Ringside) and $40.00 (General Admission). VIP tables of 10 are $1500. To purchase tickets go to www.ringpromotions.com or call 516.313.2304. Doors open at 6:30 PM, first bout at 7:30 PM.
Remillard earning bones vs. Mexican fighters
Godfrey-Nwodo NABF title fight headlines Friday night’s “Title Wave” at Mohegan Sun
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (August 27, 2008) – Mexican fighters are feared worldwide because of their toughness in the ring. WBC World Youth featherweight title-holder Matt “Sharp Shooter” Remillard, however, has accelerated his relatively young pro career by defeating a series of Mexican opponents.
Remillard (14-0, 7 KOs), fighting out of nearby Manchester, takes on new Texas State champion Adauto Gonzalez (10-5, 3 KOs) for the vacant WBC USNBC featherweight title in the 10-round co-feature on the “Title Wave” card, airing live this week on ESPN Friday Night Fights from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Four of Remillard’s last six opponents have been of Mexican heritage and Gonzalez continues that trend.
NABF cruiserweight champion Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey defends his belt against challenger Emmanuel Nwodo. Godfrey (16-1, 9 KOs), rated No. 5 by the WBC, faces former USBA champion, Nigerian-born Nwodo (22-4, 18 KOs), currently rated No. 12 by the WBA and No. 14 by the WBC, in the 12-round main event on “Title Wave,” promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), in association with Mohegan Sun and ESPN.
Remillard, recently named the NABF Top Prospect of the Year, was one of the most decorated U.S. amateur boxers during the early part of this century. He passed on an opportunity to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and signed a pro contract with CES in 2005. As an amateur boxer, Matt Remillard defeated several highly rated national opponents, including top pro prospects such as Brandon Rios (18-0, 12 KOs) and John Jackson (12-1, 12 KOs). .
Two years ago, Matt suffered a serious wrist injury that twice required surgery, keeping him sidelined for nearly 1 ½ years, as well as costing him his WBC Youth super featherweight title belt.
While rehabilitating his wrist, Remillard remained in the gym daily to stretch, run, walk and do calisthenics. Unable to use his left hand, he strengthened his right, and eventually learned how to comfortably fight as a southpaw. His versatility has paid off in three impressive wins since his return.
2004 U.S. Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada (13-1, 3 KOs), rated No. 11 by the NABF and NABO, faces Texas champion Domonic Jenkins (13-8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round Special Heavyweight Attraction.
In a pair of four-round bouts, Ledyard’s (CT) unbeaten super middleweight Brian Macy (4-0, 1 KO), 2000 National PAL champion and U. of Connecticut graduate, faces Shawn Kirk (4-2, 2 KOs), while light heavyweight Keith Kozlin makes his pro debut versus Borngard Washington (0-3)
In two four-round female bouts on the undercard, Hartford’s popular welterweight Addy Irizarry (5-2, 2 KOs) is up against her toughest challenge in former world champion Yvonne “Silk” Reiss (7-12-1) and Mystic (CT) super bantamweight Karen Dulin (0-1) goes for her first pro victory versus Christina Leadbeater (1-1, 1 KO). All fighters and bouts are subject to change.
Tickets for “Title Wave” are priced at $30.00, $45.00, $75.00 and $100.00 and available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going on line at www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com, at the Mohegan Sun box office or any TicketMaster outlet.
Contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/www.cesboxing.com) for more information. Doors open at 6:30 PM/ET, first bout at 7:30 PM/ET.