Tag Archives: super middleweights

Minnesota’s Glamor Divisions

A couple of years ago it was written here that middleweight was the most talent-laden division in Minnesota boxing.  That statement could easily have been expanded to include the entire Upper Midwest – at the time the premier division boasted the premier names of Bonsante, Kolle, Kost, and Vanda.  Since then, however, the landscape has changed significantly.  Bonsante is retired, Kost might as well be for all the action he’s been getting, Kolle wants to move down to junior middleweight, and Vanda has been testing the waters of the super middleweight division.  Furthermore, no fighter is obligated to stay in any particular division, so any analysis has to allow for the certainty that weights will change over time.

With that said, what is the best division in Minnesota boxing now?

Let’s survey our most prestigious divisions.

Junior Featherweight (130#):

Players: Jason Litzau (27-2 with 21 kayos), Wilton Hilario (12-1-1 with 9 kayos), Willshaun Boxley (5-7 with 3 kayos), Ismail Muwendo (6-0 with 5 kayos), Gary Eyer (8-0-1 with 6 kayos), Allen Litzau (13-6 with 7 kayos), Hassan Wasswa (5-11-3 with 2 kayos), Darby Smart (11-4 with 4 kayos), Brad Patraw (6-3 with 4 kayos), Antwan Robertson (6-3 with 4 kayos), Vicente Alfaro (4-0 with 1 kayo)

Jason Litzau (right) lays some hurt on Verquan Kimbrough

Summary: Admittedly I’m being a little bit generous to the division by including a few men from lower divisions, but it’s a fact that in those lower divisions the fighters have to be willing to travel.  Jason Litzau is the only sure-fire world class fighter in Minnesota.  How do we know?  A sure sign that a fighter has reached that echelon is that lesser men are naming Litzau as a desired opponent.  Wilton Hilario has been on national TV before and will be again in less than two weeks.  It was less than two years ago that Tony Grygelko was calling Boxley “the second best fighter in Minnesota,” but the bright and affable Boxley seems to have no more idea how to manage his career than do the buttons on his shirt.  Proof of this fact: Boxley has now lost seven fights in a row against fighters with a combined record of 60-2, after starting his career with fight straight wins.  Hilario, Boxley, Muwendo, and Eyer are all very credible second-tier guys who fans would love to see matched against each other.

Junior Middleweight (154#):

Players: Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos), Kenny Kost (14-4 with 6 kayos), Dave Peterson (12-0 with 7 kayos), Corey Rodriguez (4-1-2 with 3 kayos), Jon Schmidt (9-1 with 6 kayos), Javontae Starks (4-0 with 4 kayos), Danny Figueroa (3-1 with 2 kayos)

Andy Kolle after a job well done

Summary: Kolle is the current Minnesota middleweight title holder, and he’s on the cusp of cracking the top 15 in the world in that division.  Though Kolle has continued to campaign as a middleweight, for the last couple of years he’s been intermittently been protesting his desire to move down a class to take greater advantage of his length and power.  Expect to see Kolle finally make that move in the coming months, and he will stand head and shoulders above everyone on this list when he finally gets to 154.  Kenny Kost gets kudos for his experience and a win total in the teens, and for beating Matt Vanda back in 2007, while slippery Dave Peterson is credited with an unbeaten record and a hard-earned win against Corey Rodriguez in 2009.  This division is thick with prospects, none of which come with greater hype and potential than Javontae Starks, who has devastating power, and whose amateur accomplishments give him a national reputation.

Middleweight (160#):

Players: Kolle, Kost, Cerresso Fort (10-0 with 8 kayos), Tyler Hultin (1-0-1 with 1 kayo), Caleb Truax (15-0-1 with 9 kayos), Matt Vanda (43-11 with 23 kayos)

Caleb Truax

Hot prospect Caleb Truax

Summary: Kenny Kost isn’t officially retired, as far as anyone knows, but he hasn’t fought for two years and he isn’t getting any younger.  Caleb Truax is seen as an up-and-comer in this division, but the truth is that usually he weights in a pound or two over the limit.  With three wins against Matt Vanda and the now-retired Tony Bonsante in the last few years and no immediate challengers, Andy Kolle rules the roost here until he leaves.  Minnesota fans have asked for a Kolle-Truax matchup, but the promoters haven’t seen fit to make that fight.  One possibility: both fighters’ management are smart enough not to want to risk cashing in their fighter for the relative pittance that an all-Minnesota fight is likely to generate.

Super Middleweight (168#):

Players: Traux, Vanda, Phil Williams (11-3 with 10 kayos), Tim Taggart (4-2-2 with 2 kayos), Bobby Kliewer (10-11-2 with 5 kayos)

Heavy handed puncher Phil Williams

Summary: Despite the fact that he usually weights over 160#, Truax has been billed and marketed as a middleweight.  Matt Vanda is small for a super middleweight, but this seems to be where he wants to live, while Phil Williams is a former light heavyweight who moved down.  Taggart and Kliewer are young guys who will gain weight with age.  My point?  For most of these guys, the super middleweight division seems to be a way station on the road to somewhere else.  Nevertheless they are here now, and some interesting matches can be (in fact have been) made.

The Fistic Mystic says: The two best divisions in Minnesota right now are junior feather and junior middle.  This quick survey of active fighters and their records suggests that while middleweight still holds the potential for some very interesting matches, it’s junior featherweight and junior middleweight that have the most potential for fireworks.

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Truax-Williams: What’s at Stake?

Phil Williams’ publicist, Brett Mauren, sent out a release Tuesday in which he announced that the Minnesota super-middleweight state title (presumably vacant since the December retirement of Jungle Boy Zach Walters) will be in play when Williams (11-3 with 10 knockouts) and Caleb Truax(14-0 with 9 knockouts) tangle on April 23rd.  That was a surprise to me, given the unusual catchweight at which the bout is being contested (164#) and the fact that Truax already holds the WBF International super middleweight title.  (It’s unclear whether the WBF title will be on the line on April 23rd.)

It got me wondering, apart from the hardware, what are these guys fighting for?  I asked the question of each man.

Truax’s attitude was typically candid and laid back, his remark brief and straightforward: “I think it’s a good test for me,” he said.  “I’ve never fought anyone who can punch like Phil can.  He’s a big puncher, and it’s a good tough fight for me to get behind me.”

The uncharacteristically intense Williams had more to say.  “This fight will get me back on track, where I’m supposed to be.  You know, I had a little slump my last two fights.”  Williams pauses briefly before confessing, “After the Vanda fight I had a period where I didn’t care as much.  Since the loss to Donovan George, my feeling is back into it, and I feel like this fight is going to put me back where I need to be.”

Williams has kind words for Caleb Truax the person, but he offers a more pointed assessment of Caleb Truax the boxing prospect.  “I’m glad that Caleb has finally stepped up, to fight a powerful and a more dangerous fighter.  You know that his career has been managed very well, and very carefully.  He’s been matched with very safe opponents.  I just don’t believe that he’s of my caliber.”  Williams takes a deep breath.  “I’m not taking anything away from him, but I really think that’s why they wanted me to come down to 164 pounds.  In the amateurs, you know, Caleb fought at 178 pounds.  And I beat him and I beat his stablemate Jon Schmidt, too.  Now as a pro he’s fighting 14 pounds lower than that.  And I’m the reason why he moved down to middleweight.”   On a roll now, Williams continues:  “Caleb is a really good dude, I like him.  I always knew that we were going to fight in the pros one day, that’s why I was always reluctant to spar him.  But I’m glad that he’s 14-0 now.  You’ve seen my career, I’ll fight anybody.  I just have always done that, I’ve fought Oliveira, Upshaw, Echols, Vanda, George…I’m gonna put on a show that night.  I’m gonna give that crowd what they paid for, and what they deserve.

The Fistic Mystic says:  This bout matches two of the ‘good guys’ of Minnesota boxing.  There’s a handful of fighters in Minnesota who are unfailingly polite and friendly to fans and media, and both Truax and Williams are among those few.  For Truax this fight is an opportunity for a chin-check and to bolster his resume.  But Williams sees this as is his opportunity to prove that he’s still a prospect.  Pride and desperation have stoked a fire in Williams that could make him a very dangerous man on April 23rd.

Press Release from Phil Williams: Fight Announced

A press release from Phil Williams by way of publicist Brett Mauren:

Super middleweight Phil Williams has signed on to do battle with Donovan George at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago on January 29.

Williams is coming off a split decision loss to Matt Vanda in a Minnesota grudge match November13. Although Williams did not come out with the win he did look impressive in his first ten round affair, and states that he feels he could have gone several more rounds.

For the 18-0 George the fight is a major step up as Williams( 11-2) will be the best opponent statistically he has faced thus far.

Williams who has gained notoriety in Minnesota for his one punch power will be traveling out of Minnesota for only the third time in his career but will be accompanied by new trainer Jacque Davis, a man he credits for instilling several new facets to his offense.

Williams-George is scheduled for January 29 at the UIC Pavillion and ticket information will be available at http://www.uicpavilion.com

Phil Williams: Ready for Jungle Boy

Fistic Mystic: First of all, congratulations on a great performance.  You guys put on quite a show.  I hope you got some ice afterwards!

Phil Williams: Oh yeah, a little bit.  I didn’t need much ice though.  My hand is real good.  Doesn’t bother me at all.

Fistic Mystic: Phil, tell me what you thought of your opponent, Antwun Echols.  And did you get a chance to talk to him afterwards?

Phil Williams: Yeah, we talked a little bit.  I was glad he came to fight me.  I hope he’ll come to spar me and help me get ready for my next fight.  He said he appreciated me fighting him clean, and I appreciated him giving me a chance to fight him.  You know, in a way I was glad that Jaidon Codrington dropped out.  Because when he gets hit his whole body gets weak and he falls apart.  Echols gave me a much better fight than I think Codrington would have.

Echols his me with a good punch in the fourth round but I was more tired than hurt.  I’ve never been in a fight like that before, where we kept going back and forth like that.  But now I have, and it felt good!

Fistic Mystic: Now we have to talk about Zach Walters.

Phil Williams: He don’t want no part of me.  It isn’t personal, Zach is a nice guy, and I always say that every time I talk about him.  But he don’t want me.  He’s running scared.

Fistic Mystic: Have you heard what they’re saying up in Duluth now?  According to Todd at Mnboxingleague.com, Chuck Horton and Jungle Boy are on board.  They want this fight to happen, too.  But now, if it’s a state light heavyweight title fight, they’re probably going to claim the right to defend in their hometown.  Would you be willing to go to Duluth to fight him?

Phil Williams: That fight doesn’t deserve to be in Duluth.  Even though I could come up there and knock him out in his back yard, that fight needs to be in Minneapolis.  That fight should be at the Target Center.  Let’s get the biggest crowd we can get, and that isn’t going to happen in Duluth.  I don’t have a specific home territory where I fight at.  The casual fan wants to see this fight.  Jungle Boy and I, as fighters we need to make this fight happen.  We’ll be cheating the Minnesota boxing fans if we don’t fight.

The Fistic Mystic says (part 1): Both The Drill and the Jungle Boy are moving down from light heavyweight to super middleweight.  Both men say that super middle is their natural weight, and as Williams is pleased to point out, he outraced Walters to their new division.  So why would the Minnesota light heavyweight title need to be at stake in a meeting between the two?  It would make more sense for them to fight for the (presumably) vacant Minnesota super middleweight title.  Then there would be no point in making the fight in Duluth.

The Fistic Mystic Says (part 2): Williams is self-managed, so he wants Chuck Horton or Zach Walters to contact him directly to begin negotiations for a fight.  Chuck and Zach, if you don’t have Williams’ phone number, please contact me and I’ll give it to you.  You both have my email address.

Ivan Stovall Goes On The Record

For several weeks now Minnesota boxing fans have been treated to some interesting bulletin board chatter from the previously unknown Californian Ivan Stovall, who has been calling out hometown boy Caleb Truax.  But nobody knows Stovall, and despite all he has said about himself, nothing much has been said about him by anyone else.  It seemed to the Fistic Mystic that it was time to go to the source.  Here’s the fruit of my labor:

Pomona’s Ivan “Sitting Bull” Stovall, a 5’10” super middleweight, is currently sitting on a professional record of 10-2 with 7 kayos.  His amateur record was 49-10, and by his tally it was highlighted by three city chamionships, three California state championships, two national Blue & Gold championships, a bronze at the 2002 PAL championships, and a qualification for the 2004 Olympic Trials.  “I was a late starter,” says Stovall.  “I started fighting as an amateur when I was 19.  I had been in the gym since I was 13 but I never took it seriously until after I had graduated from high school.  I was just wanting to be in shape, running around the gym and looking at the girls.”

Since turning pro with a 4-round decision of Daniel Stanislavjevic in 2005 Stovall has been self-promoted.  “I’ve been a free agent since I turned pro when I was 25 years old.”  Stovall’s two losses came in his fourth fight (to Alfonso Rocha) and his eleventh fight (to James Parison), and he vehemently disowns the former.  In the latter, he says that he and Parison were told they were fighting for a promotional contract, but in the end neither the winner nor the loser got a contract.

When I asked Ivan how he happened to crash the Minnesota boxing scene, he showed admirable candor in revealing that it was Minnesota boxing gadfly Cory Rapacz who orchestrated the entire controversy.  “It was my friend Cory, and he told me to check out Caleb Traux…I was looking for a promoter on the Boxrec forum, and that’s how Cory contacted me.”  At first he was apprehensive: “I was like ‘I don’t know anything about this guy, I don’t even know who he is.’  I found him on Boxrec and I saw that he’s 8-0, then I saw video of him fighting on Youtube and I saw good speed, good footwork and some nice little feints – he’s a pretty good fighter.  But I thought ‘I can beat this guy,’ and Cory told me that he’s promoted by Seconds Out.  He told me I should come over to this Minnesota Boxing bulletin board and also the Seconds Out board and see if I can get a fight made.”   Stovall doesn’t limit his interest to Truax, either: “I know who Kenny Kost and Andy Kolle are because I’ve seen them on TV and I know that I can handle either of them…Some fans even want me to fight Matt Vanda, I would love to fight that guy.  I heard he ain’t scared of nobody, and that he will fight anybody.”

Stovall’s take on the Minnesota scene is interesting, and perhaps revealing – at least to the extent that it illustrates how local fighters are viewed outside of the state.  “Now I’m not stupid, I’m not going to fight just anybody, but I’ll fight anybody in Minnesota.”

Round-by-Round: Anthony Bonsante -vs- Adonis Stevenson

We’re all business in the preflight stuff.

Round 1

It’s stricly jabs to the 2:37 mark, Bonsante goes down from a left hook at about 2:30…and jumps up at the count of six or seven.  The ref has waved off the fight even though Bonsante is up and alert and Bonsante is incensed!  He’s alert and his mind seems clear and he’s very angry.  Bonsante and the ref are yelling at each other!  A little later Bonsante had a brief discussion with Stevenson in which the two came to a quick agreement on something.

Post Fight

This is definitely the weirdest fight I’ve seen this year.  Was Bonsante deciding whether to get up or not?  Was he waiting for the world to stop spinning before opening his eyes?  Why did the ref wait until Bonsante was getting up to wave off the fight, instead of doing it while he was flat on his back with his eyes closed?

Update: Bonsante -vs- Stevenson

The upcoming (August 1) fight between Anthony Bonsante and Adonis Stevenson, originally published as an 8-rounder, has been upgraded to a 12 round bout with Stevenson’s WBC Continental Americas super middleweight belt at stake.

Picking a favorite for this one is tough because Bonsante has fought naturally bigger men before, not always with stellar results.  On the other hand, it’s difficult to know just how good the 30 year old prospect Stevenson is, because his 11-0 record wasn’t exactly chiseled out of stone.  In fact, Bonsante will be a big step up in class for Stevenson, whose best previous opponent was probably Marlon Hayes – who was on a 1-6 tear at the time.

To be perfectly honest, the Fistic Mystic would like to see Bonsante campaign at middleweight, but it’s understandable, if the middleweight opponents don’t materialize, that Bonsante would want to take a good payday when and where he can find one.  Just the same, all of Minnesota is salivating over the possibility of a Bonsante-Andy Kolle fight, which seems like a natural next step for both men.  Won’t somebody please make that fight happen?

The Fistic Mystic says: Tune in to ESPN2 on August 1st to see Bonsante take out his frustrations on the unfortunate Stevenson.  That’s right, I’m picking Bonsante.