by James Slater – Last night, at Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Connecticut, 33-year-old Guyana-born Canadian Troy Ross won season four of the popular TV reality show “The Contender.” Stopping Nigerian Ehinomen Ehikhamenor in the 4th round, Ross won the cruiserweight tournament that made up the most recent series of the show..
Catching the 28-year-old with a body shot followed by a left hand to the head that prompted referee Steve Smoger’s decision to stop the fight, the southpaw won at 2 minutes exactly of the 4th round. Improving his record to 21-1(15), Ross later said he had been supremely confident going into the final.
“After every round I kept getting stronger,” Ross said post-fight. “I knew there was no way I was going to leave the ring a loser.”
Ehikhamenor fell to 15-4(7).
Season four of the TV show has not been as popular or as widely viewed as the previous shows, but this does not detract from Ross’ fine achievement. The man he met in last night’s final had seen off good men Darnell Wilson, the unbeaten Deon Elam and Rico Hoye – out-scoring all three fighters over five rounds. Against Ross, however, who defeated Lawrence Tauasa, Felix Cora Junior and Akinyemi Laleye to earn his shot in the final – all but one of his wins coming inside the distance – Ehikhamenor was simply overpowered.
Toronto-based Ross sets himself up for some decent paydays with the win. Largely unheard of before his stint on “The Contender,” the 33-year-old puncher has gone some way towards changing that. The cruiserweight division is somewhat open today, and maybe the lefty puncher who has only lost once as a pro – via a split decision way back in March of 2005 – can get himself in position to challenge for a strap. Also, Ross has under his belt some vast amateur experience. He twice boxed in the Olympic games, reaching the quarter finals in 1996 and then going out after his first fight in 2000 – on both occasions he boxed as a light-heavyweight. It’s clear then, that he is a talented operator indeed.
A pro since April of 2001, Ross has boxed in both Canada and America, and in March of 2007 he picked up the Commonwealth cruiserweight title with a 2nd-round KO over the decent Brit John “Buster” Keaton. His sole career loss came against Willie Herring, and since that split decision setback Ross has won nine in a row.
Now finally getting some much deserved attention, Ross will be a welcome addition to the upper ranks of the cruiserweight division.
(One final point of interest regarding Ross: some fans may recognise him as the actor who portrayed light-heavyweight legend John Henry Lewis in the movie “Cinderella Man.” Ross will also be seen playing the part of Floyd Patterson in the soon-to-be-released “Phantom Punch” with Ving Rhames playing one Charles “Sonny” Liston!)