Former NCAA champ starting professional amateur wrestling group

November 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Press Release, Upcoming Events, Wrestling News 

Courtesy of By Dave Meltzer & mmafighting.com

Wayne Boyd is more passionate about wrestling than almost anyone, and his latest goal is to succeed at something that everyone else that has tried and failed: the idea of running a promotion doing professional amateur wrestling.

Boyd’s new venture, The Global Wrestling Championships, debuts with a Saturday afternoon show with three main event matches, featuring six of the country’s top wrestlers. The event brings four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake back to Cornell University. It will be a combination of prelim matches streaming for free at 2 p.m. Eastern time on GoFightLive.tv and the championship matches as a $6.95 Internet pay-per-view if ordered in advance, at 3 p.m. ET.

Boyd’s goals are ambitious. He wants to present real wrestling, with the country’s best wrestlers, in a professional sports league team format. He wants to present the shows like MMA, with interviews, storylines and grudge matches. The idea is for the teams to be from the ten to 20 best wrestling clubs in the country, doing dual meets. The goal is to generate enough revenue that 88 of the best wrestlers in the country would be able to earn $50,000 per year with the hope it will help sustain them so they won’t have to work a full-time job while preparing for international competitions. They also want the U.S. team to surpass Iran and Russia for the top spot in the world. It would also gives those so inclined the experience of competing in a sports league and learning to promote matches before moving into MMA.

It’s something that is the reverse of two decades ago, when people like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Matt Lindland, Mark Coleman and Tom Erikson originally started fighting in MMA as a way to earn money to support their Olympic wrestling dreams.

For Saturday’s event, the prize money will be $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to the loser, for three championship bouts.

In marketing, Boyd wants to change terminology. He doesn’t like the term amateur wrestling. And he wants to use boxing and MMA terms for weight classes.

When Sam Hazewinkel, a member of the 2012 Olympic team, faces Tony Ramos, who won the NCAA title last year for Iowa, they’ll be battling for the GWC flyweight championship, complete with a title belt. The actual weight of the competitors isn’t even decided, but it will be something in the neighborhood of 126 or 127 pounds.

Dake, the only man in history to win NCAA titles in four different weight classes and the best U.S. college wrestler in recent years, will battle Andrew Howe, a former NCAA champion from Wisconsin, for the welterweight title, which will be at around 163 pounds. The two went into triple overtime last year when they were in a tournament for a spot on the U.S. team in the world championships.

The heavyweight championship will be decided with Tervel Diagnev, who placed fifth at the last Olympics, facing Tyrell Fortune, a former Division II national champion who lost to Diagnev in the finals of the tournament in 2013 to make the U.S. team for the world championships. Both men will be about 285 pounds, and Boyd wants to go back to the past the make the heavyweight division an unlimited weight class, bringing back the days of the behemoth 400-pound heavyweights.

Boyd, 68, won an NCAA title in 1969 while going undefeated in dual meets during his college career at Temple University. He’s finishing his 57th year in the sport, and still trains twice a week. He notes that in 1981, he became the only man to ever pin Victor the Wrestling Bear. After the age of 45, he won seven age group national championships, the most recent being in 2009. He’s also produced movies about wrestling, most notably the 1996 movie, “One More Shot.”

The idea of a professional league for amateur wrestlers isn’t new. A number have sprung up in the last 40 years, usually lasting very little time. The AGON promotion tried it in recent years.

The most visibility any of these projects got was nearly a decade ago, when Real Pro Wrestling had a run on national television. RPW was on both PAX TV (now Ion) and Fox Sports Net, but folded after one season, with minimal ratings and an inability to get sponsors. But that league featured some of the best wrestlers in the country at the time, who a decade later are now names in MMA, including 184-pound champion Muhammad Lawal (King Mo) of the Oklahoma Slam, teammate Daniel Cormier, who won the 211-pound championship, and 264-pound champion Patrick Cummins. Also in the promotion was current Bellator bantamweight champion Joe Warren.

“It’s a real challenge,” said Boyd, about the promotion. “I’m really hoping we can do what UFC accomplished. We’re looking to give wrestling a bigger audience, more entertainment value and get more media interest. That’s what we are looking for. For years, we’ve called ourselves amateur wrestling. If you call yourself amateur, how do you expect to get any attention?”

The amateur wrestling community has constantly been trying to figure out a way for its top stars to be able to earn a sustainable living while full-time training for national and international competitions. And it’s come full circle, because Boyd is in discussion about putting on a second show in conjunction with the annual amateur wrestling spectacular held in New York’s Madison Square Garden, on Dec. 21. He talked about getting Lawal and Warren to wrestle on the show, and wants to get in touch with Tito Ortiz.

Ultimately, he’s talking about major arenas and pay-per-view, and hoping to be a circuit where guys can make some money, make a name, and then some would then transition into the UFC or another MMA promotion.

They are experimenting with rules. On the first show, each match is a series of a best-of-five series of three-minute rounds, calling them rounds and not periods. The rounds will be scored both separately and together. If there is a pin, the match is over. If not, the first person to win three rounds takes it. However, if the loser wins his rounds stronger, enough to where after four or five rounds, he has more cumulative points than the winner, they go into a three round overtime to decide the championship. If that fails, they stand up and have a sudden death, first person to score round. If neither man scores after three minutes, there will be three judges who decide the champion.

“We’re pushing scoring more points, wrestling longer and wrestling harder,” said Boyd. “Our guys, if they go to the world championships, when they wrestle the Russians and Iranians, they’ll have trained for 15-18 minute matches, so they’ll have a little edge in conditioning. We want the U.S. to dominate wrestling and dominate Russia and Iran.”

“I need to see what happens after ten minutes,” he said. “We need to see how it looks when they’re exhausted. I may find the magic number is 12 minutes, not 15, maybe nine, but I want the matches to be longer. Whose ever heard of an entertainment event that lasts six minutes?

He’s talking to NBA owners, with a goal to get exposure by putting on wrestling matches at halftime of games.

“People call me crazy, but without vision, you’ll just do the same things over and over,” he said. “We’ve never been able to pay our athletes. We’re looking at being a bridge to UFC. If I can sit down with Dana White, we can map something out.”

He looks back at the early 1900s, when Frank Gotch was one of the biggest sports heroes of the time, and battled George Hackenschmidt before 29,000 fans at Comiskey Park in Chicago, or when Joe Stecher battled Earl Caddock in Madison Square Garden in legitimate matches for the world championships.

“I’d like to do a match in Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, a big match where the lure is that the winner would get $1 million,” said Boyd. “If people knew two guys were fighting for that much money, they would get interested.”

He thinks that will lead to more participation in the sport.

“The characteristics of being great in any sport are common in wrestling,” he said. “Any ten year-old boy, or ten year-old girl should experience wrestling for at least one season. It’ll make him a better baseball player or a better football player. It builds character. It’s the world’s oldest sport, the original sport of the ancient Olympics, and it’s a natural teacher of life experiences.”

CFFC 43 Headlined by Jonavin Webb-Lyman Good Title Tilt, Airs via PPV on Nov. 1

October 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Press Release, Upcoming Events 

Courtesy of Tristen Critchfield & Sherdog

Reigning Cage Fury Fighting Championships 170-pound titlist Jonavin Webb will defend his strap against Lyman Good on pay-per-view on Nov. 1.

The title bout will headline CFFC 43, which airs via pay-per-view both on cable via In Demand as well as online at GFL.tv. The five-fight card, which takes place at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., begins at 8 p.m. ET and costs $19.95. The evening’s co-main event will pit Ronald Stallings against Tim Williams for the promotion’s vacant middleweight crown. Two other title bouts will take place on the main card, as Jimmie Rivera squares off with Anthony Durnell for bantamweight gold, while Zu Anyanwu puts his heavyweight belt on the line against Plinio Cruz.

CFFC is partnering with Go Fight Live and Integrated Sports Media to produce the pay-per-view. The preliminary draw will begin at 6 p.m. ET exclusively on GFL.tv.

“This is, without a doubt, the finest and most complete lineup of top-level professional bouts we have assembled to date, so we are looking forward to crowning four new world champions in front of a live television audience on Nov. 1,” CFFC President Rob Haydak stated in a release.

Unbeaten in seven professional bouts, Webb captured the CFFC welterweight title with a third-round TKO triumph against Daniel Stittgen on Aug. 9. The Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product has competed exclusively for CFFC since his pro career began in April 2012.

Good, the first-ever Bellator 170-pound ruler, first fought for CFFC on June 23, 2007, taking a three-round verdict over Doug Gordon. Following an 8-3 stint with Bellator, Good returned to CFFC on June 21, knocking out Matt Secor 4:21 into the first round.

LINK – http://www.sherdog.com/news/news/CFFC-43-Headlined-by-Jonavin-WebbLyman-Good-Title-Tilt-Airs-via-PPV-on-Nov-1-76017

 

#MMA #XFE31 (FREE MEDIA OFFER INSIDE) XFE 31: “Chocolate Thunder” attempts to calm the “Psycho” at Harrahs Casino Resort LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv!

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Article, MMA News 

Click here to watch this ENTIRE EVENT from start to finish RIGHT HERE on GFL.tv!!

 

 
On December 7th, XFE returns to the Harrahs Casino & Resort in Chester, PA with an ACTION PACKED night of MMA broadcasting LIVE and around the WORLD on GFL.tv with XFE 31! In the Main Event of the evening, Bellator veteran Shedrick “Chocolate Thunder” Goodrigde (3-6) will be squaring off Elder “Psycho” Ramos (4-2).

 

 

This is a stylistic match up and fan of MMA is sure to love! Goodridge vs Ramos was originally slated as the co-main event but due to injury, a cut eye on Mike Pope, this sure to be brutal attraction got the bump. Even though this was originally slated as the co-main event, Goodridge-Ramos has main event material written all over it.

 

 

“This was once of those fights that would have been a main event anywhere else and luckily, as always, we stacked the card. When Pope suffered the cut, we had a main event waiting in the wings. Here at XFE we try to make every fight main event worthy just in case something happens to this nature,” explained XFE promoter David Feldman. “Chocolate Thunder”, a Bellator veteran, as always is prepared for war at XFE 31 at Harrahs Casino & Resort in Chester, PA broadcasting LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv! “My training camp has been pretty good a couple nicks and bruises but other than that great,” said Goodridge discussing his training camp.

 

 

Goodridge, being the type of fighter that never shy’s away from a challenge, accepted his fight with Ramos without having any knowledge of his opponent. “I really didn’t know much about him did some research but I mean nothing really stood out. I see he throws an overhand right a lot from his hip and relies on wrestling. I feel I’m the better wrestler. I’m longer so I will be able to dictate the fight with my jab,” explained Goodridge when discussing his opponent and his opponent’s flaws. “I have no problem where ever the fight goes I feel I have the advantage standing and on the ground,” says Goodridge. Not only does Goodrdge feel that he has the advantage physically but he feels he has the mental advantage do to his big fight experience compared to Elder Ramos. ” I’ve been there I know what to expect and how to handle getting in that cage, putting on a good show, and getting the job done.” Like Goodridge, “Psycho” had a tremendous camp also.

 

 

“Camp for this fight has been super hard. I was originally scheduled to fight at 170lbs and I began cutting from 205lbs. When I got to 183lbs I found out my opponent had topull from the fight. After that I went through a few guys who I might fight and I said ok to them all but for whatever reason they decided not to accept the fight. Then I was told Shedrick was willing to fight me so I said ok but the problem was he fights at 185 and I fight at 170. As true professionals we both decided we want to fight and decided to meet up at 180. It has been a long road but I’m glad fight week is finally here. I had a very strong camp with my boys at Vanguard gym, who always kick my butt n push me as hard as they can. I’m also blessed to cross train with Kaizen MMA, Freedom MMA, and several other pro fighters who have made time in their busy schedule to come to VA n kick my butt.”

 

Unlike his opponent Goodridge, Ramos had a little bit more knowledge of his opponent when he agreed to this promising showdown. “Shedrick is a true professional I respect him and his team. With that being said I feel all my hard work will pay off. I’m comfortable anywhere and I know I can finish the fight from anywhere I want to take it. I’m ready to fight standing or on the ground. I’m confident on my skills so I’m not worried about anything I will finish it from anywhere,” the very confident Ramos.

 

 

 

Ramos also took the time to explain what kind of fighter he is & why he puts his life on the line every time he steps in the cage. “I’m a down to earth fighter who is chasing a dream. I’m doing my best to bring home a win to my beautiful wife n kids. I’m a fighter but that is not all I’m about. I’m also a very proud father of two beautiful kids Joseph and Hailey also I’m married to my high school sweetheart, who is my backbone. I’m very blessed to have a beautiful family that loves me n supports me so I’m already a winner” Both men, beaming with confidence, had two different version of how the night will finish but it doesn’t matter which man is correct because both are surefire was to please the fans in attendance or watching LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv!

 

 

Goodridge feels fans can expect, “Fireworks and a big finish coming from me. Last fight didn’t perform how I should of and now I’m coming back with something to prove.” While Ramos differs in opinion, “Fans should keep their eyes open because I’m coming to finish my opponent and I will do whatever it takes to do so. I have the skills, the drive, the knowledge, experience n the heart to bring home a win! Don’t let either of these men’s record fool you. MMA fans are in for a treat any time either man steps in the cage so when they clash against each other fans can expect fireworks made of violence!

 

 

Nicholas Wiley taking on Randall Brown for the XFE 170lb Championship, made its way to the co-main event after the departure of Algeo-Pope, is a fight to look out for. With both men’s amateur careers dwindling away, expect both men to go for broke so they can have have a full head steam when they embark in their journey of their pro career.

 

 

 

Also featured on this event is Zach Love squaring off with Andrew Bradley. “The moment this fight was signed it became an early nominee for “Fight of the Night” and that says a lot about these two fighters seeing how stacked this card is,” noted XFE promoter David Feldman.

 

 

 

Rounding up the card will be Justin Lesko Vs. Mouhamadou Sougoule, Charles Kowalchick Vs. Frederick Heim, Phuong Nguyen Vs. Israel Encarnacion, Roy Kofroth, Jr. Vs. Paul Turner, Michael Schlicker Vs. Bobby Malcolm, Jaymes Lewis Vs. John Beck. Also on the is Desmond Moore Vs. Damien Melendez, a fight in which Melendez looks for revenge the 2nd time around.

 

 

This is a can’t miss event for any MMA fan! Tickets are still on sale at the Harrahs Casino & Resort, with the low prices of $45, $65, & $100.

 

 

For those who can not attend this spectacular night of action LIVE, fear not, because XFE 31 will be broadcasting LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv! Order once and re live the action for LIFE only on GFL OnDemand. Click the link below for more info: http://www.gfl.tv/Events/Fight/MMA/XFE_31/2177 XFE 31 is sponsored by Rocco’s Collision, Harrahs Casino & Resort, and Martinez BJ!

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

ATTN MEDIA: For those who can cover this fight by being in attendance, you can cover XFE 31 via FREE MEDIA STREAM (upon approval) on GFL.tv.

 

 

 

Please respond to the with answers to the following question to Tim Kudgis (contact info below):

 

 

 

Name:

 

 

Media Affiliation:

 

 

 

Email Address:

 

 

Have you posted anything on your media source regarding XFE 31 (If no please feel free to use the above)?:

 

 

 

Please provide links: Will you be promoting the event and GFL stream on social media during the show?:

 

 

 

Please provide you social media profile links: Please fill this out, or if you have any other question and/or concerns, and respond to:

 

 

 

Tim Kudgis

 

GFL Media

 

Tkudgis614@yahoo.com and/or TKudgis@GFL.tv

 

267-455-1043

GFL PRESENTS “REAL FIGHTS” ON THE COMCAST NETWORK & COMCAST SPORTSNET TAKE ON PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS “MUAY THAI XX” BEGINNING MAY 20

 

GFL PRESENTS “REAL FIGHTS” ON THE COMCAST NETWORK & COMCAST SPORTSNET

TAKE ON PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS “MUAY THAI XX” BEGINNING MAY 20

May 16, 2013

GFL and Comcast continue their weekly combat sports series, REAL FIGHTS, as Muay Thai takes center stage when TaKe On Productions presents TaKe On Muay Thai XX, the first full rules Muay Thai event ever held in New York City.   The packed slate of hard-hitting, full contact striking comes to you from the bustling Resorts World Casino in New York.

In the main event, for the 175 lb title, undefeated Jason Van Oijen (6-0) and Georgui Smaguin (6-2) will lock horns as they go for gold.  The Dutch Van Oijen is a fashion model by day and a fighter by night.  He believes the best defense is a good offense and is always looking to make his opponents pay with every strike he throws.  Smaguin plans on stifling Van Oijen’s attacks with constant movement and counters as he hopes to connect where Van Oijen misses.

In the co-main event, Jessica Ng (8-1) battles Levi Christobal (4-2) for the WKA Women’s 102 lb title. This fight is a rematch from a previous meeting where Ng picked up the victory.  These women plan to outshine every other bout on the card, and with their high volume punching and kicking that is a safe bet.  Look for this to be a war of attrition as both fighters are determined to be there swinging until the final bell.

If you love the art of striking, this is a must see event.  TaKe-On Productions always puts on great shows and TaKe On Muay Thai XX will be another feather in the cap of the East Coast kingpin of Muay Thai.

Air times are listed below:

The Comcast Network (TCN) (all zones): Monday, May 20 at 7:00pm ET

TCN Replay (Mid-Atlantic):  Thursday, May 23 at 9:00pm ET

TCN Replay (Mid-Atlantic):  Friday, May 24 at 11:00pm ET

TCN Replay (Philly):  Saturday, May 25 at 9:00pm ET

CSN Philadelphia: Thursday, May 23 at 7:00pm ET

CSN Philadelphia Replay: Sunday, May 26 at 8:00pm ET

CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington DC & Baltimore):  Saturday, June 1 at 11:00pm ET

CSN New England:  Saturday, June 1, at 8:00pm ET

CSN Northwest:  Saturday, June 22 at 11:00pm PT

CSN Northwest Replay:  Monday, June 24, at 12:00am PT

CSN regions in other major markets including; CSS and CSN Bay Area will also be airing TaKe On Muay Thai XX in the weeks and months to come.

To stay connected with GFL and this unique fight series, visit these TCN & CSN online locations for up-to-the-date programming info.

The Comcast Network http://www.csnphilly.com/page/tcn

CSN Philadelphia http://www.csnphilly.com/ontv/listings

CSS http://www.csssports.com/ontv

CSN Washington http://www.csnwashington.com/ontv

CSN Baltimore http://www.csnbaltimore.com/ontv

CSN New England http://www.csnne.com/pages/oncsn

CSN Northwest http://www.csnnw.com/ontv

CSN Bay Area http://www.csnbayarea.com/ontv

Upcoming Events on Comcast
5/20: TaKe On Muay Thai XX (Muay Thai/kickboxing)
5/27: CFFC XXIV – Sullivan VS Becker (MMA)

6/3: Championship Class (boxing)

About GoFightLive

GFL is a pioneer in Internet Sports Broadcasting.  Over the years GFL has broadcast more than 1700 live events to fans in over 199 countries worldwide and has a video library exceeding 8000 combat sports videos comprising more than 5,000 hours of programming.   GFL is especially proud to have served greater than 5 million public viewers over the years with more than 250 combat sports related website affiliates in its network.  GFL is also available on Roku, Boxee, Android, IPhone, IPad, as well as other internet ready devices. Check the event page for details. Join us at: www.GFL.tv or https://www.facebook.com/GoFightLive.tv or  twitter.com/GFL or youtube.com/Gofightlive or inquiries contact press@gfl.tv

 

Ultimate Reno Combat 40 Review

April 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Past Events, Press Release 

Courtesy of Mike Searson and examiner.com

The Reno Events Center played host to Rick Collup’s Ultimate Reno Combat 40 last night. The 40th event for this local MMA promotion featured 14 hard-hitting MMA Cage fights, including a title fight in the flyweight division, which was won by Oscar Ramirez.

Lara vs. Herrera Jesus Lara (1-1) of Midtown MMA from Eugene Oregon, defeated Ryan Herrera (1-0) of Sacramento, California by TKO at 1:59 in the first round.

Bettencourt vs. Benson Cameron Bettencourt of the Reno Academy of Combat triumphed in his debut match against Jordan Benson (1-1) of Sektion 8 Fight Team by TKO at 1:35 in the first round.

Gallegos vs. Carrino Tony Gallegos (1-1) of the Reno Academy of Combat defeated Cory Carrino (1-3) by triangle choke at 2:08 in the first round.

Eldridge vs. Vannarath In a very impressive debut for Dakota Eldridge of the Apocalypse Fight Team from Hawthorne, Nevada. Eldridge defeated Steven Vannarath (1-3) of Team Sharp Nux by arm bar at 1:56 in the second round.

Carpenter vs. Babaeghian In the first of two female fights, Brieta Carpenter (1-0) of Sacramento’s Sektion 8 Fight Team scored a stunning KO victory by way of an impressive head kick over Silvia Babaeghian (debut) representing the Reno Academy of Combat at 2:56 in the first round.

Ladd vs. Mix In the second female bout of the evening Aspen Ladd (1-0) of Folsom MMA deftly bested Michelle Mix (debut) of Rondori Dojo via an arm bar at 108 in the first round.

Powell vs. Perry In the Light Heavyweight Division, Jordan Powell (1-0) of Team Havok Skwod defeated Brian Perry (debut) of “Getting Fit with Brian Tracy” via first round TKO.

Nava vs. Ramirez James Nava (2-0) of 360 Martial Arts defeated Danny Ramirez (3-0) of Mountain Warrior Fight Team with three seconds remaining in the second round via arm bar.

Amaro vs. Taclay Brando Amaro (1-0) of Reno Academy of Combat defeated Tyson Taclay (2-1) of Folsom MMA at 2:34 via referee stoppage due to ground and pound.

Whipple vs. Miller In his first fight under the Ultimate Reno Combat banner, Willie Whipple (1-1) of Nevada Muay Thai won a third round TKO victory over Anthony Miller (3-1) of Team Alpha Set.

Harris vs. Robascotti Derek Harris (2-0) of Midtown MMA defeated former Light Heavyweight Champion Brad Robascotti (3-2) of Mountain Warrior Fight Team with a contentious TKO at 2:51 in the first round. From my angle it looked as if the strike was to the back of Robascotti’s head.

Steinheimmer vs. Reynolds Scottie Steinheimmer (2-0) of Reno Academy of Combat defeated Chris Reynolds (2-1) of Weapons Factory at 2:09 via referee stoppage due to ground and pound.

Ellis vs. Miller In the final fight of the under card Justin Ellis(6-5) of Midtown MMA defeated Austin Miller (6-3) of Team Alpha Set.

Ramirez vs. Walsh In the main event, local favorite Oscar Ramirez (9-2) of the Reno Academy of Combat defeated Cody Walsh (4-3) of Methodical Beatdown for the Ultimate Reno Combat Flyweight Title. Ramirez displayed confidence and dominance throughout the 2 minutes and 9 seconds of this fight until he forced Walsh to tap out. Ramirez announced from the cage that he would soon embark on a professional fight career.

ShoFight 26 Preview

April 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Press Release, Upcoming Events 

ShoFight is back on GFL as it presents ShoFight 26 from Branson, Missouri on April 27.  This will be an epic MMA card as it features title fights in the main event and co-main event along with a card full of exciting matchups all of which promise to be high octane barnburners.  ShoFight has made its mark with MMA fans as it has been a launching point for tons of fighters as some of the best prospects in the Mid-South have fought on a ShoFight card.  ShoFight 26 will do the same.  Who will stand out, once the cage door closes?

In the main event, undefeated Champion Ross “Dental Floss” Campbell (7-0) puts his ShoFight Lightweight Title on the line as he fights CJ “Groundshark” Hunter (17-9).  The undefeated Campbell won a grueling one-night tournament where he submitted all 3 of his opponents in the first round.  Campbell is a submission master and battle-tested in the cage and will be looking to defend his title for the first time against a gritty challenger. Campbell is a very fast starter and has won every fight via stoppage and only had one fight get out of the first round.  For Hunter, he will look come into the cage with an experience advantage as he has over three times the fights of Campbell.  Hunter is riding a 5 fight winning streak with 4 of them ending in first round submissions.  Hunter is deadly on the ground and will be the toughest test for Campbell in his career.  Expect a chess match in the cage if this fight hits the mat.  It could also turn into a shootout on the feet as both men could be wary of taking the other fighter to the ground.

In the co-main event, ShoFight Middleweight Champion Rance “The Punisher” Foust (10-1) battles DeAndre Fane-Davis (3-0) for gold.  Foust is a ShoFight veteran and a machine in the cage.  He is well-rounded and can finish the fight standing or on the mat.  A solid grappler who possesses a dangerous striking game is hard to beat in MMA and that is exactly what Foust is.   This will be Foust’s eighth title fight in his career, so he is used to being in the pressure cooker and will come out of the corner looking to put Fan-Davis away early.  Fane-Davis is a promising middleweight who has shown great cardio condition and KO power in both hands.  Fane-Davis has outworked everyone he’s ever been in the cage with and he will look to push the pace from the outset and try and get Foust on his heels and fighting defensively.

Don’t miss this electrifying event featuring some of the top regional mixed martial arts talents from around the Mid-South. Watch all of the fights live or anytime on video on demand (VOD) for life as ShoFight presents ShoFight 26 live on pay-per-view exclusively at GFL.tv.

GFL PRESENTS “REAL FIGHTS” ON THE COMCAST NETWORK & COMCAST SPORTSNET ROCKTAGON MMA PRESENTS “ART OF WAR” BEGINNING APRIL 15

 

GFL PRESENTS “REAL FIGHTS” ON THE COMCAST NETWORK & COMCAST SPORTSNET

ROCKTAGON MMA PRESENTS “ART OF WAR” BEGINNING APRIL 15

April 11, 2013

GFL and Comcast continue their weekly combat sports series, REAL FIGHTS, with world class MMA, as Rocktagon MMA presents another show stopper with Rocktagon MMA XXIV – Art of War featuring a full lineup of extreme cage fights.  Founded in 2010, Rocktagon MMA has successfully completed events on two coasts and is the only national amateur fight series in the country and the only promotion able to offer four types of shows to meet the needs of various markets: all Amateur, all Professional, Pro-Am, and Rock-n-Rage.  Art of War promises to continue in the storied tradition of top-notch entertainment provided by one of the country’s leading MMA organizations.

In the main event, Tyler “The Shoot” Beckley (6-1) takes on Matt Masterson (9-3) in a light heavyweight scrap that is sure to live up to the hype.  Both fighters are grizzled vets and have held titles in other organizations.  This bout promises to separate the cream from the crop as the winner will have bragging rights as one of the top 205ers in the Midwest.  Beckley has never had a fight go to decision as he has cut through his competition like a butter knife ending fights with his fists, but also with a terrific grappling game that saw Beckley notch 5 of his 6 wins via rear naked choke.  Masterson also comes into the bout riding a 3-fight win streak including 2 finishes.  Masterson has a small edge in the experience department and also likes to attack the neck of his opponents but with a more diverse arsenal, as Masterson has wins via triangle choke, rear naked choke and guillotine choke on his record.  Expect this fight to be a barnburner no matter where it ends up.

In the co-main event, with the Rocktagon MMA Welterweight Championship on the line, Josh “The Romanian Hammer” Krizan (5-1) battles the undefeated Xavier “Spartacus” Nash (4-0) in a shootout of two of the most exciting fighters in MMA.  Neither fighter will back down as both are alpha males that love to take the center of the cage and enforce their will on their opponents from the opening bell.  What is going to happen when these two indomitable forces clash with gold on the line?

Air times are listed below:

The Comcast Network (TCN) (Mid-Atlantic): Monday, April 15 at 7:00pm EST

TCN Replay (Mid-Atlantic):  Wednesday, April 17 at 10:00pm EST

TCN Replay (Philadelphia):  Friday, April 19 at 6:30pm EST

TCN Replay (Mid-Atlantic):  Friday, April 19 at 11:00pm EST

TCN Replay (all zones):  Sunday, April 21 at 1:00pm EST

CSN Philadelphia: Saturday, April 20 at 4:00pm EST

CSN Philadelphia Replay: Sunday, April 21 at 8:00pm EST

CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington DC & Baltimore):  Saturday, April 27 at 11:00pm EST

CSN Northwest:  Saturday, May 4 at 11:00pm PST

CSN Northwest Replay:  Monday, May 6, at 12:00am PST

CSN Northwest Replay:  Monday, May 13, at 2:00am PST

CSN regions in other major markets including; CSS, CSN Bay Area and CSN New England will also be airing Rocktagon MMA XXIV – Art of War in the weeks and months to come.

To stay connected with GFL and this unique fight series, visit these TCN & CSN online locations for up-to-the-date programming info.

The Comcast Network http://www.csnphilly.com/page/tcn

CSN Philadelphia http://www.csnphilly.com/ontv/listings

CSS http://www.csssports.com/ontv

CSN Washington http://www.csnwashington.com/ontv

CSN Baltimore http://www.csnbaltimore.com/ontv

CSN Northwest http://www.csnnw.com/ontv

CSN Bay Area http://www.csnbayarea.com/ontv

CSN New England http://www.csnne.com/pages/oncsn

Upcoming Events on Comcast
4/15: Rocktagon XXIV “Art of War” (MMA)
4/22: XFE XXI (MMA)
4/29: CFFC XXIII (MMA)

5/6: Roy Jones Jr. Presents Spadafora VS Frankel (boxing)

About GoFightLive

GFL is a pioneer in Internet Sports Broadcasting.  Over the years GFL has broadcast more than 1700 live events to fans in over 199 countries worldwide and has a video library exceeding 8000 combat sports videos comprising more than 5,000 hours of programming.   GFL is especially proud to have served greater than 5 million public viewers over the years with more than 250 combat sports related website affiliates in its network.  GFL is also available on Roku, Boxee, Android, IPhone, IPad, as well as other internet ready devices. Check the event page for details. Join us at: www.GFL.tv or https://www.facebook.com/GoFightLive.tv or  twitter.com/GFL or youtube.com/Gofightlive or inquiries contact press@gfl.tv

 

Ultimate Reno Combat 40 Preview

April 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Press Release, Upcoming Events 

Northern Nevada’s premier cage fighting event returns as Ultimate Reno Combat 40 premiers live on April 13, at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada. Voted the #1 Amateur MMA Event in the Nation, URC always showcases the top up and coming fighters from around Nevada and California.

In the main event, for the URC Flyweight Championship, defending champion Oscar Ramirez (9-2) battles Cody “the Spider Monkey” Walsh (1-3) in a rematch from 2010 which Ramirez won via TKO.  Ramirez is one of the pillars of URC and defends his Flyweight Title for the first time.  Ramirez is a fast starter and likes to attack his opponent at the opening bell.  Look for Ramirez to come out swinging and if the fight hits the mat, he will be very active and looking to lock on an armbar or choke to stop the fight.  For the challenger Walsh, this is the biggest fight of his career.  What he gives up in experience he makes up for in grit and determination.  He is a totally different fighter than the one that Ramirez beat three years ago and this is the perfect opportunity, with a title on the line, for Walsh to get his payback.

In other action, “Bad” Brad Robasciotti (3-2) fights Derek Harris (2-0) in a light heavyweight matchup.  Robasciotti is a former URC Champion and looks to get back in the title hunt with an impressive win over Harris.  Robasciotti is a heavy handed fighter who likes to land strikes on his feet and then follow up with strong ground and pound on the mat.  Harris is undefeated with both wins coming via stoppage in round one.  With a strong all-around game, Harris poses a real threat to Robasciotti.  The winner of this fight will establish himself as the clear cut #1 contender.

URC 40 will be no different as the very best of the best in the amateur ranks will compete in the cage where Blood Happens!  If you can’t be there live in Reno, experience the thrill of every punch, kick, takedown and submission via the comfort of your home.  Stream it live on the GFL Combat Sports Network.

Watch the champions of tomorrow compete today! Don’t miss this loaded event with loaded mixed martial arts fight as Northern Nevada’s Ultimate Reno Combat 40 comes to you live on GFL.tv on April 13.

 

 

 

XFE XXII Review

April 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News, Past Events, Press Release 

Xtreme Fight Events returned to Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack with XFE XXII, a star studded 11-bout card with 8 stoppages. XFE has quickly solidified itself in Pennsylvania as the top-tier MMA event where rising stars step into the battleground looking to destroy their opponent. This event was no different.  If you like fast paced, exciting fights then order XFE XXII now!

In the main event, in the heavyweight division, Keith “Bad News” Allen (3-2-1) defeated Azunna “Zulu” Anyanwu (4-1) via KO, 12 seconds into round one.  Allen threw a left hook followed by a right hand, neither of which did any damage.  But then Allen unloaded with a high kick to the head, with his shin smashing into the head and face of Anyanwu. Anyanwu was immediately knocked out as he fell to the mat.  It was such a scary knockout that paramedics had to be called to the cage to help Anyanwu.  Anyanwu was given an oxygen mask and was placed on a stretcher as the paramedics took great precautionary care of Anyanwu who was moving by this time.

In other action, Bellator veteran Jesus Martinez (8-3) defeated Chase Owens (4-4) via KO in round one.  Martinez got a takedown with an inside trip.  Owens landed an elbow to Martinez’s spine and time was called for the foul, but no point was taken away.  The ref then stood the fighters up, which is unusual, where they continued to fight.  While the fighters were exchanging, Martinez landed a punch that dropped Owens and Martinez followed up with a series of huge right hands on the fallen Owens as the ref stopped the fight.  The stoppage earlier in the fight was a weird deal as no explanation was given and the fight just restarted in a different position after the fighters got to their feet.  Martinez took full advantage of the set of circumstances as he took Owens out quickly once action resumed.

Xtreme Fight Events returns with epic fighting in front of a worldwide audience courtesy of the GFL Combat Sports Network. Watch XFE XXII anytime.  Order the show on video on demand at GFL.tv and own if forever.

Finally sober and still undefeated, Spadafora wants shot at Mayweather

April 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Article, Boxing News, Upcoming Events 

AMBRIDGE, Pa. — Paul Spadafora struts into Tommy Yankello’s World Class Boxing Gym with a cream-colored pit bull named Baby. As the dog tugs on a chain leash, the uneasiness is palpable. Her foreboding fangs and conspicuously muscular physique epitomize every U.S. Postal Worker’s worst nightmare.

Nonetheless, within moments of arrival, Baby casually meanders between heavy bags and weight benches in pursuit of a friendly pat. Once it becomes clear that the pugnacious-looking pooch is only on the prowl to make a new buddy, she quickly wins over the room.

Spadafora can relate.

“A lot of the public thinks I’m a thug or bad guy,” he says as he watches his pet curl up at his feet. “That’s the misconception about me. I’m actually a good guy. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”

And he certainly doesn’t want to inflict any more damage to himself.

Since returning from a seven-month stay at Transitions Recovery Program in Florida last summer after nearly overdosing on heroin, Spadafora has been on the fast-track to resuscitate his once luminous boxing career. After severing ties with long-time manager Al McCauley and promoter Michael Acri in July to rejoin ex-trainer Yankello, new manager Robert Ortense, advisor Joe Horn and Troy Ridgley of TNT Promotions (a company advised by Roy Jones Jr.), the former IBF lightweight champion has scored unanimous decisions over Humberto Toledo and Solomon Egberime to remain undefeated (47-0-1, 19 KOs).

A win over Rob Frankel (32-11-1, 6 KOs) Saturday at the Mountaineer Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va., could possibly inch the 5-foot-9 southpaw closer to his ultimate goal — a megabout against WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KOs). Spadafora believes he edged the ubiquitous pound-for-pound king in a sparring session 12 years ago and, if given the opportunity, trusts history will repeat itself.

Even though middle age is approaching and the window of opportunity continues to close, Jones thinks Spadafora is an interesting anomaly who still packs the punch to finish the job. “[Paul] is a 37-year-old white boxer who has never been beaten, and that’s just unheard of,” he jokes. “Right now he has the best record outside of Mayweather, but he should probably be dead or in jail for life. God must be looking out for him in some kind of way.”

Spadafora can’t help but agree. Many of the tattoos that stretch across his sinewy frame reveal an ominous timeline of tragedy and pain. The most significant artwork covers the space on his left forearm. It serves as a permanent reminder of the only opponents to hand him losses, the only adversaries to push him toward multiple arrests and the near-shooting death of a past girlfriend. “Right there is the word ‘Truth,’ and it’s surrounded by an ecstasy pill, crack pipe, needle and [heroin] stamp bag, and a gun,” he says, tracing over the images with his finger. “All of these things nearly ruined my life.”

Spadafora’s assiduous efforts to stay clean and sober haven’t gone unnoticed by Yankello, who only hopes that his prized pugilist has knocked out the inner demons that nearly cost him everything. “I made a deal with my new manager — if I do drugs, I’m out,” Spadafora says. “One slip up, I’m done. And for me, that means death.”

“If [no one was home], we took whatever we could.”

Paul Spadafora

*****

Spadafora grew up the second oldest of three boys, outside of Pittsburgh, in an area aptly called The Bottoms, a hardened, blue-collar McKees Rocks neighborhood that hugs the banks of the Ohio River. His earliest childhood memory includes the sound of a bullet piercing through the family room window as he took a bath. When Spadafora was 9, his father, Silvio, died of a drug overdose. Following the funeral, Spadafora temporarily lived with his stepmom before returning to his biological mother, Annie, who had substance abuse problems of her own. His older brother, Harry, took over as the surrogate parent.

Through it all, sports were an escape from his chaotic home life. Spadafora excelled at youth football and basketball. Since it was rare for a relative to attend any of his games, he was initially happy when another adult — a coach — began to take an interest in him. The man bought Spadafora shoes, gave him rides around town and paid to have braces put on his teeth. These were unaffordable luxuries that eventually enticed Spadafora to move in with the coach just before he entered the seventh grade.

But he learned quickly that the gifts came with a risk. It started with the awkward flirting. Then came the playful invitations to wrestle. One night, Spadafora walked downstairs and caught the man rolling around with another child in the dark. “The coach never did anything wrong to me, but I knew his intentions,” he says. “I was a kid from the streets and woulda [hurt] him had he tried.”

Spadafora stayed with the man for more than a year and started drinking alcohol as a means to dull the tension. The timing was fortunate when he finally returned to his mother. The coach was later arrested on two counts of statutory rape and is now a registered sex offender. “The guy fell in love with me,” Spadafora admits. “I was poor and stayed by his side to get things I needed. It was a survival technique. To this day, I don’t feel bad about how things went down.”

But he does have other regrets — namely the crimes he committed as a kid. Spadafora burglarized houses with a group of older teens. It would have continued had he not been caught and sent to juvenile court. “I was the little kid who would knock on the front door,” he says. “If someone was home, we’d know we couldn’t break in. If they weren’t, we took whatever we could.”

Spadafora yearned for stability, but it never came. His mother rarely had money to pay rent. They relocated often. As a result, Spadafora transferred schools every few months and repeatedly was forced to adapt to life as the new kid. This led to numerous fights and subsequent expulsions.

While his past made him tough, Spadafora longed for the comforts of a normal upbringing. “I don’t remember having any birthday parties or having any Christmas trees,” he says. “There were years of my life when no adult was really there for me.”

“Floyd said, ‘Does your boy wanna get some work?’”

Tommy Yankello, Spadafora’s trainer

*****

It only seemed natural that Spadafora would eventually discover boxing. His father was a former Golden Gloves champion. His older brother was becoming a successful amateur with ambitions of turning pro. The sweet science was in the family bloodlines. “I always felt like a boxer when I was fighting in the street,” he says. “When Harry [Spadafora] brought me to the gym one day, that was it.”

Spadafora became a quick study under Charles “P.K.” Pecora and by 14 was routinely sparring with professional fighters. He was naturally right-handed, but adopted his older brother’s southpaw stance. This, coupled with deceptive speed and agility, made it difficult for opponents to connect on clean punches. Over time, he became one of the best conditioned athletes in the gym, built to go the distance.

But most impressive was Spadafora’s intuition. He became a prescient counter-puncher who saw the ring like a chess board. “Even when he was younger, he always seemed to be a move ahead of his opponents,” Yankello says. “Larry Bird always had an instinct to know where the basketball was coming off the backboard. Paul was like that as a boxer — always in the right position.”

By 16, Spadafora had already won Golden Gloves titles while simultaneously contributing to his high school varsity football and basketball teams. Pecora put things into perspective for him. “P.K. told me that I was never going to be dunking a basketball or playing in the NFL, but had a good future in boxing,” he says. “Then we talked about why I was even in high school, so I dropped out the next day.”

As Spadafora gained direction in the ring, his life unraveled on the streets. On the night of Dec. 24, 1994, Spadafora was a passenger in a car that crashed into a telephone pole after a failed attempt to outrun police. Both he and the driver were inebriated. An officer approached and accidentally discharged his gun, lodging a bullet into Spadafora’s left leg. Spadafora filed a lawsuit and won a judgment, but the injury derailed any chance of earning a spot on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. “Paul has always had issues to deal with,” Yankello says. “Everything in his [personal] life had been so scattered, but when he got into the gym he was completely focused. He always trained like a madman.”

After nine months of intensive therapy following the shooting, that’s exactly what Spadafora did. He returned to Pecora, shook off the rust and made his professional debut on Oct. 18, 1995, gutting out a four-round unanimous decision over Steve Maddux. With his first victory in hand, Spadafora surged up the IBF lightweight ladder, winning his next 14 fights, with eight knockouts. “I was always on the undercard in the beginning, and when I looked out I wouldn’t see or hear too many people,” he says. “I always knew that if I wanted to fight in front of fans, I needed to be the main event.”

Spadafora would eventually get his chance, but he’d have to do it without the guidance of his greatest influence. Pecora passed away from a stroke in July 1997, a death that cost him a sage mentor and a father figure. But with his next fight only weeks away, Spadafora had little time to mourn the loss, so he pushed forward with Yankello. “P.K. had always said Paul was really good and would be a great pro,” Yankello says. “I always knew he had it — the ingredients and potential to go really far, to be a champion.”

Spadafora strung together a few more victories before getting past the biggest challenge of his career — veteran Rocky Martinez. In spite of Spadafora winning via unanimous decision, a relatively lackluster performance prompted ESPN2 Friday Night Fights commentator Max Kellerman to call him “a B-level fighter.” The criticism made Spadafora hungry. “I was overweight before the bout and had to lose it, and it was a depressing fight,” he says. “[Kellerman] was right that night, but what he said put a fire in my belly and drove me to another level.”

That level was experienced by Israel Cardona on Aug. 20, 1999 for the IBF’s vacant lightweight crown. Spadafora emphatically manhandled the 5-to-1 favorite en route to winning a 12-round unanimous decision and a world championship. The belt was his finish line, a culmination of the blood, sweat and tears he had shed throughout a childhood he almost didn’t survive. “I remember round-by-round winning every second of that fight,” he says. “Boom, Boom, Boom … here he comes! Bap, Bap, Bap! For all of the struggle and everything I went through growing up, it was to be there in that moment.”

It wasn’t until he faced Mayweather during an impromptu sparring session at a suburban Las Vegas gym in 1999 that Spadafora felt absolute omnipotence. “Floyd said ‘I’m the best fighter in the world,’ and ‘Does your boy wanna get some work?’” Yankello says. Spadafora politely accepted the challenge and the two champions went toe-to-toe, exchanging body shots and pushing the pace through six rounds.

At the very end, Mayweather collapsed to the canvas with a bloody nose as Spadafora casually trotted to his corner. “Mayweather wasn’t in the shape that Paul was — I’ll give him that — but it wasn’t his first day back in the gym either,” Yankello says. “That guy is always in shape. He’s the one who asked for the sparring session. When they sparred that day, [Mayweather] thought he would be getting the better of Paul, but he didn’t.”

Spadafora knows who won.

“I feel like when I’m at my best, I’m the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” he says. “If it wasn’t for some of my stupid choices, maybe I woulda had Mayweather’s life.”

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mma/news/20130405/paul-spadafora-boxer-comeback/#ixzz2PgrG9K2sAMBRIDGE, Pa. — Paul Spadafora struts into Tommy Yankello’s World Class Boxing Gym with a cream-colored pit bull named Baby. As the dog tugs on a chain leash, the uneasiness is palpable. Her foreboding fangs and conspicuously muscular physique epitomize every U.S. Postal Worker’s worst nightmare.

Nonetheless, within moments of arrival, Baby casually meanders between heavy bags and weight benches in pursuit of a friendly pat. Once it becomes clear that the pugnacious-looking pooch is only on the prowl to make a new buddy, she quickly wins over the room.

Spadafora can relate.

“A lot of the public thinks I’m a thug or bad guy,” he says as he watches his pet curl up at his feet. “That’s the misconception about me. I’m actually a good guy. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”

And he certainly doesn’t want to inflict any more damage to himself.

Since returning from a seven-month stay at Transitions Recovery Program in Florida last summer after nearly overdosing on heroin, Spadafora has been on the fast-track to resuscitate his once luminous boxing career. After severing ties with long-time manager Al McCauley and promoter Michael Acri in July to rejoin ex-trainer Yankello, new manager Robert Ortense, advisor Joe Horn and Troy Ridgley of TNT Promotions (a company advised by Roy Jones Jr.), the former IBF lightweight champion has scored unanimous decisions over Humberto Toledo and Solomon Egberime to remain undefeated (47-0-1, 19 KOs).

A win over Rob Frankel (32-11-1, 6 KOs) Saturday at the Mountaineer Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va., could possibly inch the 5-foot-9 southpaw closer to his ultimate goal — a megabout against WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KOs). Spadafora believes he edged the ubiquitous pound-for-pound king in a sparring session 12 years ago and, if given the opportunity, trusts history will repeat itself.

Even though middle age is approaching and the window of opportunity continues to close, Jones thinks Spadafora is an interesting anomaly who still packs the punch to finish the job. “[Paul] is a 37-year-old white boxer who has never been beaten, and that’s just unheard of,” he jokes. “Right now he has the best record outside of Mayweather, but he should probably be dead or in jail for life. God must be looking out for him in some kind of way.”

Spadafora can’t help but agree. Many of the tattoos that stretch across his sinewy frame reveal an ominous timeline of tragedy and pain. The most significant artwork covers the space on his left forearm. It serves as a permanent reminder of the only opponents to hand him losses, the only adversaries to push him toward multiple arrests and the near-shooting death of a past girlfriend. “Right there is the word ‘Truth,’ and it’s surrounded by an ecstasy pill, crack pipe, needle and [heroin] stamp bag, and a gun,” he says, tracing over the images with his finger. “All of these things nearly ruined my life.”

Spadafora’s assiduous efforts to stay clean and sober haven’t gone unnoticed by Yankello, who only hopes that his prized pugilist has knocked out the inner demons that nearly cost him everything. “I made a deal with my new manager — if I do drugs, I’m out,” Spadafora says. “One slip up, I’m done. And for me, that means death.”

“If [no one was home], we took whatever we could.”

Paul Spadafora

*****

Spadafora grew up the second oldest of three boys, outside of Pittsburgh, in an area aptly called The Bottoms, a hardened, blue-collar McKees Rocks neighborhood that hugs the banks of the Ohio River. His earliest childhood memory includes the sound of a bullet piercing through the family room window as he took a bath. When Spadafora was 9, his father, Silvio, died of a drug overdose. Following the funeral, Spadafora temporarily lived with his stepmom before returning to his biological mother, Annie, who had substance abuse problems of her own. His older brother, Harry, took over as the surrogate parent.

Through it all, sports were an escape from his chaotic home life. Spadafora excelled at youth football and basketball. Since it was rare for a relative to attend any of his games, he was initially happy when another adult — a coach — began to take an interest in him. The man bought Spadafora shoes, gave him rides around town and paid to have braces put on his teeth. These were unaffordable luxuries that eventually enticed Spadafora to move in with the coach just before he entered the seventh grade.

But he learned quickly that the gifts came with a risk. It started with the awkward flirting. Then came the playful invitations to wrestle. One night, Spadafora walked downstairs and caught the man rolling around with another child in the dark. “The coach never did anything wrong to me, but I knew his intentions,” he says. “I was a kid from the streets and woulda [hurt] him had he tried.”

Spadafora stayed with the man for more than a year and started drinking alcohol as a means to dull the tension. The timing was fortunate when he finally returned to his mother. The coach was later arrested on two counts of statutory rape and is now a registered sex offender. “The guy fell in love with me,” Spadafora admits. “I was poor and stayed by his side to get things I needed. It was a survival technique. To this day, I don’t feel bad about how things went down.”

But he does have other regrets — namely the crimes he committed as a kid. Spadafora burglarized houses with a group of older teens. It would have continued had he not been caught and sent to juvenile court. “I was the little kid who would knock on the front door,” he says. “If someone was home, we’d know we couldn’t break in. If they weren’t, we took whatever we could.”

Spadafora yearned for stability, but it never came. His mother rarely had money to pay rent. They relocated often. As a result, Spadafora transferred schools every few months and repeatedly was forced to adapt to life as the new kid. This led to numerous fights and subsequent expulsions.

While his past made him tough, Spadafora longed for the comforts of a normal upbringing. “I don’t remember having any birthday parties or having any Christmas trees,” he says. “There were years of my life when no adult was really there for me.”

“Floyd said, ‘Does your boy wanna get some work?’”

Tommy Yankello, Spadafora’s trainer

*****

It only seemed natural that Spadafora would eventually discover boxing. His father was a former Golden Gloves champion. His older brother was becoming a successful amateur with ambitions of turning pro. The sweet science was in the family bloodlines. “I always felt like a boxer when I was fighting in the street,” he says. “When Harry [Spadafora] brought me to the gym one day, that was it.”

Spadafora became a quick study under Charles “P.K.” Pecora and by 14 was routinely sparring with professional fighters. He was naturally right-handed, but adopted his older brother’s southpaw stance. This, coupled with deceptive speed and agility, made it difficult for opponents to connect on clean punches. Over time, he became one of the best conditioned athletes in the gym, built to go the distance.

But most impressive was Spadafora’s intuition. He became a prescient counter-puncher who saw the ring like a chess board. “Even when he was younger, he always seemed to be a move ahead of his opponents,” Yankello says. “Larry Bird always had an instinct to know where the basketball was coming off the backboard. Paul was like that as a boxer — always in the right position.”

By 16, Spadafora had already won Golden Gloves titles while simultaneously contributing to his high school varsity football and basketball teams. Pecora put things into perspective for him. “P.K. told me that I was never going to be dunking a basketball or playing in the NFL, but had a good future in boxing,” he says. “Then we talked about why I was even in high school, so I dropped out the next day.”

As Spadafora gained direction in the ring, his life unraveled on the streets. On the night of Dec. 24, 1994, Spadafora was a passenger in a car that crashed into a telephone pole after a failed attempt to outrun police. Both he and the driver were inebriated. An officer approached and accidentally discharged his gun, lodging a bullet into Spadafora’s left leg. Spadafora filed a lawsuit and won a judgment, but the injury derailed any chance of earning a spot on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. “Paul has always had issues to deal with,” Yankello says. “Everything in his [personal] life had been so scattered, but when he got into the gym he was completely focused. He always trained like a madman.”

After nine months of intensive therapy following the shooting, that’s exactly what Spadafora did. He returned to Pecora, shook off the rust and made his professional debut on Oct. 18, 1995, gutting out a four-round unanimous decision over Steve Maddux. With his first victory in hand, Spadafora surged up the IBF lightweight ladder, winning his next 14 fights, with eight knockouts. “I was always on the undercard in the beginning, and when I looked out I wouldn’t see or hear too many people,” he says. “I always knew that if I wanted to fight in front of fans, I needed to be the main event.”

Spadafora would eventually get his chance, but he’d have to do it without the guidance of his greatest influence. Pecora passed away from a stroke in July 1997, a death that cost him a sage mentor and a father figure. But with his next fight only weeks away, Spadafora had little time to mourn the loss, so he pushed forward with Yankello. “P.K. had always said Paul was really good and would be a great pro,” Yankello says. “I always knew he had it — the ingredients and potential to go really far, to be a champion.”

Spadafora strung together a few more victories before getting past the biggest challenge of his career — veteran Rocky Martinez. In spite of Spadafora winning via unanimous decision, a relatively lackluster performance prompted ESPN2 Friday Night Fights commentator Max Kellerman to call him “a B-level fighter.” The criticism made Spadafora hungry. “I was overweight before the bout and had to lose it, and it was a depressing fight,” he says. “[Kellerman] was right that night, but what he said put a fire in my belly and drove me to another level.”

That level was experienced by Israel Cardona on Aug. 20, 1999 for the IBF’s vacant lightweight crown. Spadafora emphatically manhandled the 5-to-1 favorite en route to winning a 12-round unanimous decision and a world championship. The belt was his finish line, a culmination of the blood, sweat and tears he had shed throughout a childhood he almost didn’t survive. “I remember round-by-round winning every second of that fight,” he says. “Boom, Boom, Boom … here he comes! Bap, Bap, Bap! For all of the struggle and everything I went through growing up, it was to be there in that moment.”

It wasn’t until he faced Mayweather during an impromptu sparring session at a suburban Las Vegas gym in 1999 that Spadafora felt absolute omnipotence. “Floyd said ‘I’m the best fighter in the world,’ and ‘Does your boy wanna get some work?’” Yankello says. Spadafora politely accepted the challenge and the two champions went toe-to-toe, exchanging body shots and pushing the pace through six rounds.

At the very end, Mayweather collapsed to the canvas with a bloody nose as Spadafora casually trotted to his corner. “Mayweather wasn’t in the shape that Paul was — I’ll give him that — but it wasn’t his first day back in the gym either,” Yankello says. “That guy is always in shape. He’s the one who asked for the sparring session. When they sparred that day, [Mayweather] thought he would be getting the better of Paul, but he didn’t.”

Spadafora knows who won.

“I feel like when I’m at my best, I’m the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” he says. “If it wasn’t for some of my stupid choices, maybe I woulda had Mayweather’s life.”

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mma/news/20130405/paul-spadafora-boxer-comeback/#ixzz2PgrG9K2s

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    • Lee surprises Korobov for middleweight title December 14, 2014
      LAS VEGAS -- Andy Lee spent most of his career at the side of the late, great Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. They traveled everywhere together and became almost like father and son.Lee even spent several years living in Steward's Detroit home when he moved from Ireland to the United States. In their first title shot together, Lee got knocked out
      Dan Rafael
    • Stiverne to make first defense against Wilder December 14, 2014
      Heavyweight world titleholder Bermane Stiverne will make his first defense against unbeaten -- but untested -- Deontay Wilder in a long overdue mandatory fight on Jan. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
      Dan Rafael