PROVIDENCE, R.I. (July 5, 2011) – Two former Olympians are prepared to stand toe-to-toe Friday, July 29th, 2011 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in a heavyweight title bout that could move the winner one step closer to boxing’s ultimate prize.
Undefeated Mariusz Wach (24-0, 12 KOs), who competed for his native Poland in the 2004 Olympics, will face former world-rated contender Kevin McBride (35-9-1, 29 KOs), a participant for Ireland in the 2002 Summer Games, in the 12-round main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Heat Wave” show at Uncasville, Conn., with the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) International heavyweight championship on the line.
This heavyweight showdown is the first of two title fights July 29th; Elvin Ayala (23-5-1, 11 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., will battle former two-time world champion Israel “Pito” Cardona (36-10, 28 KOs) of Hartford in the 10-round co-feature for the vacant WBC U.S. National Boxing Council (USNBC) middleweight title, a belt once held by former world champions Paul Williams and Lamont Peterson. Tickets for “Heat Wave,” which are priced at $40, $65 and $105, are on sale starting today and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254 or Ticketmaster at 1.800.745.3000.
The WBC International title is equally prestigious; among the former champions in the heavyweight division are: current World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO), International Boxing Organization (IBO), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and The Ring Magazine champion Wladimir Klitschko, a two-time WBC International title-holder who beat David Haye this past Saturday in a heavyweight unification bout; Oliver McCall, who upset Lennox Lewis in 1994 to win the WBC world title; and former WBC world champion John Ruiz, who is famous for his trilogy against Evander Holyfield that included one win, one loss and a draw. David Tua, who beat Tony Tucker in 1997 for the WBO title, also held the WBC International belt early in his career, along with former WBC world champion Oleg Maskaev.
Since the inception of the WBC International title in 1987, nine of its 16 champions have gone on two win a major world title, a success rate of 56 percent.
“This is as good as it gets in heavyweight boxing,” said Burchfield, who recently signed Wach to a multi-year promotional agreement in conjunction with Global Boxing Promotions. “Unlike some of the recent world-title bouts in this division that failed to live up to the hype and ultimately disappointed the sport and its loyal fans, this will be a true heavyweight war.
“Some of the best heavyweights in boxing history have held this prestigious title, and that tradition will continue July 29th at the beautiful Mohegan Sun Arena. Mariusz is looking to carve his niche as the future of the heavyweight division, but Kevin is a cagey veteran with a ton of experience and will not back down without a challenge. This is what boxing needs – two hard-hitting heavyweights willing to take risks and leave it all in the ring. We’re proud to bring this fight to the fans who’ve been craving a real heavyweight showdown, and we’ve got an unbelievable undercard with tremendous national and local talent as well.”
Aside from becoming the youngest super heavyweight to compete in the Olympics, McBride is more famously known for ending Hall of Famer “Iron” Mike Tyson’s career in 2005. The two fought at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., with McBride scoring a sixth-round knockout over the former undisputed heavyweight champion. McBride, who was born in Clones, Ireland, but now lives in Dorchester, Mass., retired after losing to Andrew Golota in 2007 before returning to the ring three years later. He recorded his 35th win by beating Franklin Egobi in 2010 and recently lost a unanimous decision to former cruiserweight world champion Tomasz Adamek, who will face Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title in September.
This will be McBride’s third attempt at beating a Polish fighter – Golota and Adamek were born in Warsaw and Zywiec, respectively – though Wach represents a unique challenge. At 6-foot-7 ½ and 250 pounds, Wach is much bigger than Golota and arguably stronger than Adamek, who only has two knockouts in six fights since making the jump from cruiserweight to heavyweight. For both fighters, this title bout represents a preview of what the winner could see if he eventually steps into the ring with one of the Klitschko brothers; both Vitali and Wladimir are taller than 6-6 and routinely fight between 240 and 250 pounds.
Wach, 31, hasn’t fought since Feb. 19 in Newark, N.J., when he knocked out Jonathan Haggler in the third round to capture the WBC Baltic heavyweight title. Among Wach’s other notable wins are a fourth-round knockout win over Galen Brown on Nov. 12, 2010 in Lincoln, R.I., and a seventh-round TKO win over Eric Boose in July of 2008 on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.
With knockout victories in each of his last four fights, Wach represents a serious threat in the heavyweight division. He is currently training in North Bergen, N.J., and working with the well-known duo of Juan and Carlos De Leon. Juan De Leon formerly trained undefeated heavyweight “Baby” Joe Mesi while Carlos De Leon is a former four-time cruiserweight world champion.
The undercard of “Heat Wave” features Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight Thomas Falowo (3-0, 3 KOs) facing Russ Niggemyer (2-2, 2 KOs) of Hilliard, Ohio; New Haven welterweight Edwin Soto (6-0-1, 2 KOs) battling Jose Duran (6-5-2, 3 KOs) of Sarasota, Fla.; undefeated heavyweight Artur Spzilka of Poland (5-0, 3 KOs) facing Georgia native Tobias Rice (3-3, 2 KOs), and New Bedford, Mass., welterweight Johnathan Vazquez (4-0, 3 KOs) taking on Augustine Maurus of Lawrence, Mass., in Maurus’ debut. Cruiserweight Jose Torres of Springfield, Mass., will also make his debut, and super middleweight Keith Kozlin (6-2, 4 KOs) of Warwick, R.I., will face Woonsocket’s Reynaldo Rodriguez (5-2, 2 KOs) in a six-round intrastate showdown. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Fans can also purchase tickets online at www.cesboxing.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. For more information on “Heat Wave,” visit www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout scheduled for 7:30 p.m.