Former Contender star Jimmy Lange (26-3-1, 18 KOs)has no misapprehensions about his upcoming fight with Tommy Wilt (20-5, 4 KOs) on October 7 at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.
“After my most recent fight, this is a ‘do or die’ fight for me,” the middleweight fighter said at a news conference Wednesday in Fairfax. Lange is a longtime resident of the Northern Virginia area.
His most recent fight was a third-round TKO loss to Joey Gilbert in front of his hometown fans in February of this year. It was a rematch of their first bout, which took place on The Contender. In that fight, Lange was eliminated from competition in a slim split decision loss. He was later brought back for the final episode for a "fan favorite" bout, where he won a majority decision over Tarik Salmaci.
After The Contender, he scored a fourth-round TKO over Perry Ballard in September of 2005, before coming out on the losing end of his unfinished business with Gilbert.
Now, with his career at a crossroads, Lange is pressing forward with his fight with Wilt, a former five-time Pennsylvania state champion from Altoona. The two formally announced their bout along with the eight others at Wednesday’s news conference. Jackie Kallen, the groundbreaking manager and Contender co-star, was also featured at the event. Lange and “The First Lady of Boxing” met each other through their work on the first season of The Contender.
“After his recent loss, Jimmy could have gotten an easy fight to come back with, but he isn’t that kind of fighter, this will be a great fight,” said Kallen.
Lange, who trains in Vero Beach, FL, under the tutelage of former light welterweight/welterweight champion and highly respected trainer Buddy McGirt, says he is focused and ready for whatever Wilt throws at him.
“My mind is on Tommy Wilt,” said Lange. “I know that he will be in my face, but I’ll be ready for him. I am in great shape right now. If he comes in and wants to brawl, I hope that he is ready for a war. If he wants to box, then I will take him in that.”
Lange his extremely popular on his home turf. His bout with Wilt will be his third fight at the Patriot Center in 13 months. His two previous matches each drew more than 5,000 fans. Despite this overwhelming hometown advantage, Wilt is not fazed by his status as an underdog or visiting opponent.
“Fighting Jimmy in his own backyard isn’t any different than him fighting me in my own backyard,” stated Wilt, who has fought the majority of his fights in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. “This is just another fight and Jimmy’s just an ordinary guy.”
There are two other co-main events for the October 7th event. The first features Purcell "Hard Rock" Miller (22-4, 18 KOs) facing Larry "The Laser" Marks (28-8, 16 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout. Marks challenged Andrew Lewis for the WBA Welterweight title in 2001 but lost by decision. The other pits "The Pride of Portsmouth, VA," Dorin Spivey (33-4, 28 KOs), against Roberto "El Viejo" Valenzuela (37-25-2 33 KOs). Spivey is trained by the great Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.
Also on the card, Lange’s first-season Contender co-star, Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante (26-8, 15 KOs) will face veteran Larry “The Gladiator” Brothers (6-19-3 4 KOs) in a six-round middleweight bout, and Baltimore heavyweight Jed "The Punisher" Phipps (17-5, 10 KOs) faces Rohan "The Buffalo Soldier" Wallace (6-4, 4 KOs) in another six-round contest.
The event will also showcase several other fighters from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.