First Sydney pro boxing card in almost 30 years might not be the last
Those who climb into the ring for the first professional fight card in Sydney in almost three decades and those promoting the night are well versed in the history of the sport locally and abroad.
Centre 200, L-jack Promotions and Thunder Boxing will bring pro fighting back to the centre on Nov. 25 with a nine-fight card featuring fighters from Canada, Slovakia and Mexico.
It’ll be the first professional card in Sydney since 1988 when Willie Dewitt defeated Tony Morrison, and likely won’t be the last.
“In Cape Breton, the history of boxing is so great,” said Paul Macdonald, general manager Centre 200, during Wednesday’s press conference for the card.
“There are so many great people who have been involved in it. I just felt the time was right.”
Reserve Mines native Aubrey Macleod is part of the team that built L-jack Promotions.
They’ve already brought professional boxing back to Fredericton with numerous successful cards, and he’s hoping the same can happen in Sydney.
“When Centre 200 was built they did three shows here and then it just disappeared for a long long time,” Macleod said. “It’s got a huge boxing history and we are hoping we can bring that back.”
A look through Cape Breton’s boxing history, he said, will reveal a long list of pro fight nights all around the island.
A successful return, could mean new opportunities for the many quality fighters from Cape Breton who are already finding success at the amateur level.
“Boxing didn’t go away, just the professional boxing kind of died off for a little bit,” he said.
One of the more accomplished former amateurs Macleod referenced was Ryan Rozicki.
The Sydney fighter will take to the ring for the main event of the upcoming card for his third pro bout when he goes toe-to-toe with the third ranked cruiserweight in Slovakia.
A great fighter from boxing’s history, though not a Cape Bretoner, remains the brawler Rozicki fashions his budding career after.
“We are doing it a different way than most pros today, we are taking the hard road,” he said.
“I am going to prove something every fight. If you follow Facebook and stuff I say a lot I am a modern day Jack Dempsey, in that case I mean taking the tough road like he did. We are not here to pick easy fights.”
As a result, Rozicki promised local fans an exciting fight.
“If you watch the amateur fights and my pro fights so far you know I don’t look to leave it up to the judges. I look for the knockouts.”
On fight night, Macdonald said promotors plan to pay tribute to Cape Breton’s boxing past as they attempt to set the stage for its future.
“I think that’s a really important thing to let the fans know and then it allows the new guys coming in to understand we have a history.”
He said that reminder to some and introduction to others should go a long way towards rebuilding the professional side of sport in this area.