Ajax fighters showcased at double bill of boxing from Brampton


Published September 12, 2022 at 8:59 am

Brandon Cook of Ajax, shown here beating Steven Butler in Montreal in 2017, defeated Stepan Horvath of Czechia Saturday night at Bramption's CAA Centre via 2nd round TKO

A pair of Ajax fighters who shared main event honours at Saturday night’s United Promotions card at Brampton’s CAA Centre were both victorious but took different paths to glory.

Sukhdeep Singh, who might as well reside in Brampton as it seemed half of B-Town’s Sikh community turned out in support, retained his perfect record, now 13-0, and captured the IBA International Middleweight title Saturday with a unanimous decision victory over an experienced and very tough Albanian fighter named Xhuljo Vrenozi.

Singh, who is also the Canadian Middleweight Champion, won nine of the ten rounds on two scorecards and all ten on the other but could not put away Vrenozi, much to the disappointment of the pro Singh crowd, who sported ‘Team Chakria’ (his hometown in the Punjab) t-shirts and chanted “Sukhdeep” after every jab.

‘Bad Boy’ Brandon Cook, meanwhile, made short work of Chechia fighter Stepan Horvath, knocking him down twice in the second round – the second with a vicious straight right – before referee Floyd Porter called a halt to the proceedings.

There were six fights in all Saturday and six bouts the night prior in a double bill of championship boxing not seen in many years. Is boxing back? Hard to gauge from Saturday’s crowd which was slow to arrive but eventually filled the ringside tables and a good portion of the stands.

Singh, who has legions of fans in Brampton and Ajax and indeed across the GTA, was the main attraction and while he and Vrenozi delivered an entertaining fight, the crowd didn’t get the knockout they wanted.

Chalk that up to superior defence from Vrenozi, who got in his share of hard shots as well, though the only time Singh was troubled was the fourth, the only round the Albanian fighter won.

Sukhdeep Singh

Cook, who four years ago was fighting Jaime Munguia for the WBO World Welterweight title in Las Vegas, improved to 23-2 with his victory over Horvath, who was on his feet and ready for more when Porter declared him unable to continue.

Cook said that even if Porter had allowed the fight to go on, it was only a matter of time.

“I wanted to give everyone a good showing,” he told Michell Sturino of DAZN Boxing in the ring, post-fight. “He was gonna get hurt. It just happened sooner rather than later.” Cook added he has a “lot of work to do” to improve for his next fight, which he expects will be in November.

Ricardo Brown, a former Jamaican Olympian in the heavyweight division, improved his perfect record to 5-0 with his second straight win over a decidedly plump Mexican fighter, this time Carlos Carreon, the 5’7, 272 lb Mexican heavyweight champion. Brown, who stands 6’7 and weighed in at 250, used Carreon as a punching bag for the first round to no avail before switching strategies and going for the body in the second. Both fighters began the second round swinging wildly before Brown got the KO 11 seconds in with a hard right to the chin.

Carreon went face first into the mat.

Brown’s manager DeWith Frazer, who owns the Mississauga boxing club where several of this weekend’s fighters train, said after the fight Carreon (8-8) is a lot tougher than he appears, calling him “tricky” and pointing out it took strategy to put Brown, who previous fight was a first round TKO over another portly Mexican fighter, in position to knock him out.

“He’s the Mexican heavyweight champion for a reason,” Frazer said.

Montreal’s Shakeel Phinn (22-3) won an entertaining super middleweight bout with Mexican fighter Josue Perez, who showed a granite chin in lasting as long as he did. Phinn bloodied Perez’s nose in the first round, opened up a cut over his eyebrow in the third and landed a hard right to the button in the fifth but Perez stayed on his feet.

But after a lethal combination of punches in the seventh Perez went down. He struggled to his feet, but the fight was oddly allowed to continue and seconds later went down again after another series of punches from Phinn. This time he was told to stay down.

In a battle of winless fighters Jamaica’s Gregory Miller showed his class in beating a game Drake Olchowecki of Hamilton with a third round TKO, while in the opening bout Salar Gholami, who is originally from Iran but now fights out of Toronto, gave his large contingent of fans what they came for with a third-round TKO over Montreal’s Sylvera Louis for the vacant Canadian cruiserweight title.

Louis is a former champion.

Josh Wagner

Friday night’s card was headlined by unbeaten welterweight Josh Wagner (13-0), who earned a hard fought ninth-round TKO from scrappy Mexican boxer Jorge Perez (13-3).

Wagner took some time to get going in the fight and the bout was actually tied at four rounds apiece when Wagner started landing some effective shots in the ninth; the first from a left hook and the second after a five-punch combination that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.

‘Marvelous’ Mark Smither of Barrie and rising star Joshua Frazer (DeWith’s son) of Brampton both retained their unbeaten records on the card, though one had the easier path to victory. Smithers (9-0) had to go to the judge’s scorecards to win the IBF International Super Lightweight title with a unanimous decision over experienced Bolivian fighter Andy Almendras (15-11-1); while Frazer won his sixth straight bout to start his career in decisive fashion with a second-round KO of Esteban Villalba of Mexico, who has 43 fights to his credit.

In other bouts, Daniel Roach of Toronto (2-1-1) and Oshawa’s Thad Buntsma (3-3-1) fought to a six-round split decision draw; Melinda Watpool (another Fraser Academy fighter) was on the good side of a four-round unanimous decision victory in her pro debut over Mexican super middleweight Silvia Barrarza; and Mehdi Abidi (Toronto, out of Bangalore, India) won his pro debut with a second-round TKO over middleweight Scott McDonald of Ajax.

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