Albany convention center to host pro boxing

Kyle Garrett, Staff Writer

New York’s Capital Region is seated not far from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota and New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the “Mecca of Boxing.”

Former undisputed heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson was born in Catskill and had his first fights in Albany and Troy. Tracy Patterson won the World Boxing Association super bantamweight title in Albany. As an Albany-born amateur fighter, Abraham Nova recently won a national championship in the 141-pound weight class. Gyms like Schott’s Boxing, Sweeney’s Boxing and Fitness, and Albany’s Quail Street Gym regularly turn out professionals and amateur boxers.

Albany fighters often appear on Showtime’s boxing cards and fighters like the 19-0 Mikey Faragon continue to put the region on the map, as do shows like Star Boxing’s “KO at the TU” in 2012. This being one of two major boxing events, including an episode of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, the promotion brought to the Times Union Center that year.

Hudson Valley is not exempt from the boxing roots in this community, having turned out fighters like Zach Smith, Javier Martinez, Shawn Miller and former New York State Lightweight Champion Brian Miller.

Andrew Schott, psychology professor at Hudson Valley, is a former boxer, trained by Floyd Patterson, who fought as an amateur and professional on national television and has been all over the world. The boxing classes offered at Hudson Valley were originally taught by Schott and now by Kyle Provenzano as part of the physical education module.

“Anyone that gets involved in the sport tends to love it and appreciate it,” Schott said. “Once it’s in your blood, I think it’s in your blood for life, and that keeps the sport alive.”

Local promoters like Adam Neary from ARES Promotions have also held fights on campus.

“Wherever the gyms are, there’re the fighters, and where the fighters are, you’ve got fighters’ families [and] fighters’ friends,” said Schott.

“[Most local fans want to see] Joe Yerdon, Joe Gbolo, Will Madera, or Shawn Miller, or whoever […] they know somebody on the card, and they’re going because they want to see that person fight,” said Schott.

Fans of local fighters are going to have another chance to see some of their favorites in action this month as promoter Linda Miller, who has already put on a number of amateur cards and tournaments, is presenting her first professional show on Friday, Feb. 21.

Three of Schott’s fighters, Gbolo, Yerdon and Hudson Valley alumnus Madera, will be on the card. While Schott expects competitive fights he is confident in their chances.

Gbolo, who has one win and two draws as a pro, started fairly late at 21 but started his professional career after 19 amateur fights, and according to Schott he improves every week.

Madera, who was a top ranked amateur with over 60 fights, will be having his second professional bout, having earned a TKO victory in his debut.

Other local talent includes Matt Lettick from Sweeney’s Boxing and Fitness, and Louis King. Cruiserweight Eric Fields, formerly ranked fifth the world by the WBA before his career was sidelined by a motorcycle accident, will also be making a comeback on Friday. Shawn Miller is defending the World Boxing Federation’s light heavyweight championship the same night.

No matchups are confirmed just yet, but promoter Linda Miller has been drumming up interest through social media platforms like Facebook.

Much about the event is still in development, but it will be held in the convention center under the Egg in Albany.

General admission tickets will be $35 with ringside seats at $50 and tables for sale at $680. More will be released as information about the show comes out.


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