By Ned Bekavac
Kevin Lyon pulls no punches when asked what fans can expect at Saturday’s Royal City Rumble boxing card in downtown Guelph.
“It’s an action packed card,” says Lyon. “I may sound a little egotistical right now, but it’s the best fight card Ontario has seen in five years.”
Lyon, of Guelph, is vice-president of the Thornhill-based ProForce Promotions Inc., which is putting on Saturday’s fight night at the Sleeman Centre.
He says it’s the first time Guelph has hosted a full-fledged, top-to-bottom pro boxing card and he’s pumped to be part of that “piece of history.” (Previous boxing events in town have included exhibition bouts as part of the bill, Lyon says.)
Saturday’s main event pits the highly regarded Logan McGuinness of Orangeville against Krzsztof Szot of Poland. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds, and Lyon says it’s one that looks like it could go “eight to 10 rounds.”
The night includes a return to the ring by Kitchener’s Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool, a winner of multiple professional championships. He will take on Phil Rose of Oshawa. It’s Vanderpool’s first bout since the mid-2000s.
“He’s training harder than he did when he was champ,” says Lyon, a graduate of John F. Ross CVI in Guelph. “He has a lot to prove. This is personal for him.”
Doors for the licensed Royal City Rumble open at 6 p.m. and bell time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Lyon said ticket sales are “a little slow,” but interest is picking up, and having a highly touted area fighter like McGuinness and a household name like Vanderpool on the card is a big boost. On Tuesday, Lyon said about 2,400 tickets had been sold and he’s looking for a crowd of roughly 3,000 to 3,500.
Among highlights on the evening will be interviews with Canadian boxing legend George Chuvalo, and Nicky Furlano, a local former boxer who, Lyon says, was 29-8-1 as a pro fighter and held the Canadian titles in both the lightweight and light welterweight division. A run-down of the card appears at the bottom of this page.
The event isn’t limited to the evening, though.
At noon, the bell will ring on an amateur card, one that will include boxers from Guelph’s TNT Boxing Academy.
The TNT boxers are: Fabricio Portillo, a 23-year-old, 178-pounder; Brandon Cao a 15-year-old 190-pounder and Taveena Kum, a 27-year-old 110-pounder.
Weigh-ins are at 10 a.m. Tickets are available at the door.
“We’re truly trying to promote the amateurs and get people seeing the local fighters,” says Lyon.
Royal City Rumble Card:
• Orangeville’s Logan McGuinness (17-0-1) vs. Poland’s Krzsztof Szot (16-3-1), 10 rounds, 132 pounds.
• Mississauga’s Natasha Spence vs. Hungary’s Alexandra Grog (2-2-0), six rounds, 132 pounds.
• Kitchener’s Fitz Vanderpool (24-7-4) vs. Oshawa’s Phil Rose (4-1-1), six rounds, 140 pounds.
• Orangeville’s Buzz Grant (9-4-0) vs. Belleville’s Harrison King-McBain (3-4-1), six rounds, 140 pounds.
• Brantford’s John Mercante (3-2-1) vs. New Brunswick’s Emile Arsenault (7-1-1), six rounds, cruiserweight.
• Brantford’s Craig Hudson (debut) vs. Oshawa’s Frank Rill (debut), four rounds, heavyweight.
• For info and tickets, visit www.proforcepromotions.com,
www.ticketmaster.ca or the Sleeman Centre box office.