Local boxers in spotlight at United Fight Night card at Pickering Casino

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Published April 8, 2024 at 6:28 pm

Durham Region’s brightest boxing stars will look to defend home turf on Saturday when United Boxing Promotions will debut its new United Fight Night series with a six-fight event at the Pickering Casino Resort.

World-ranked contender Melinda ‘The Whip’ Watpool (5-0, IBF #2, WBA #3) headlines against Olympic bronze-medallist and former world title challenger Adriana Araujo (6-1) in the main event while Oshawa’s ‘Bad’ Thad Buntsma (4-3-1) will battle former Mexican champion Luis ‘Coto’ Vidales (24-10 with 10 KO) in a co-main event that promoter and United Promotions President Tyler Buxton is calling a “career crossroads” fight for both men.

Melinda Watpool in action. Photo Jeff Lockhart

Designed as a showcase opportunity for rising prospects and local boxing talent, the series will kick off Saturday with Watpool, who grew up in Pefferlaw, started boxing in Ajax and now trains out of Dewith Frazer’s gym in Mississauga, as the main attraction.

“Our new United Fight Night series is about celebrating Durham Region, and there’s no better way to do that than with a world-ranked local product headlining her first main event,” Buxton said of Watpool. “The series is an opportunity for local boxers to fight on their own turf and in front of their own fans, who in turn will get to see both their favourite fighters and the next generation of rising stars in Ontario boxing.”

The Durham Region flair will continue on the undercard, with a pair of undefeated Oshawa products set to feature in light flyweight Evan ‘Kid Chrome’ Gillard (6-0-1) and light heavyweight Jerome ‘The Wildcat’ Gabriel (3-0) — the latter making a much-anticipated return to professional boxing.

It will also be a night of firsts, as World Champion kickboxer Michael ‘Spartan’ Fitzpatrick will make his professional boxing debut and Ajax welterweight Kyle ‘The Caveman’ McLaughlin (3-0, with all three wins by KO) fighting for the first time on Canadian soil.

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