For the Minnesota boxing fan, the dog days of summer came early this year. After a busy spring (11 fight cards in-state by the end of June)) that brought us some highly anticipated local matchups, we’ve entered the summertime doldrums that are so characteristic of Minnesota boxing.
For the local fan, when things slow down, it isn’t always easy to find something to get excited about. So the Fistic Mystic has decided to help everybody remember the good things – fighters, events, and other happenings that can help us cope with the relative lack of activity until things heat up again this fall.
- The Rise of Kolle and Truax – Middleweight has been Minnesota’s most crowded division for years, and the cream continues to rise to the top. Since the end of spring a persistent rumor has been that state middleweight champ Andy Kolle would accept a challenge from top prospect Caleb Truax in the fall. Kolle (19-2 with 14 kayos) has won four of his last five fights against fighters with combined records of 157-29. The popular questions here are whether Truax (12-0 with 8 kayos) is ready to face a fighter of Kolle’s stature, and where the fight will take place if it actually happens.
- Clash of the Titans – On September 26 at Target Center we will see Matt Vanda, the most famous boxer in Minnesota for the last five years, square off against Phil Williams, who is bidding to replace him as the face of boxing in Minnesota. Whoever wins the fight, Minnesota fans will be all the richer. And no, you aren’t going to get a prediction from this writer until the fight gets much closer.
- Derek Winston Turns Pro – Rumors of the talented bantamweight’s pro debut have circulated before – he was expected to fight at Target Center in April – but this time we’re sure that we’re sure that he’ll fight, as long as a suitable opponent can be found. And that’s always a trick here in the Midwest.
- Ismail Muwendo, Who Are You? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. We actually know who Muwendo is. He’s a fighter who had a stellar amateur career in Uganda and came to the US with dreams of pro success and stardom. But for anyone who has seen the young man fight, Muwendo’s speed, precision, and power are a revelation. This prizefighter’s potential is perhaps limited only by the quality of coaching and management he receives.
- Gifted Amateurs – Robert Brant, Javontae Starks, Jamal James, Oscar Soto, Tony Lee…there are others, I know. We have a lot to look forward to as the next crop of gifted young amateurs gets ready to turn pro!