Some say boxing is a dying sport. Fans clamor for a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight against Manny Pacquiao. Boxing fails to deliver.
"Iron" Mike Tyson was the last big draw in boxing circles. In fact, for the most part, the boxing universe has always revolved around the heavyweights.
Tommy Morrison captured the imagination of America and more specifically Oklahoma. He felt like one of our own.
When YouTube sensation and certified street brawler Kimbo Slice entered the professional boxing realm, his first fight took place in Green Country. Okies ate it up.
Proud Cherokee citizen and up and coming heavyweight boxer Wes Nofire has a long way to go in his pro journey. He made his professional debut back in August with a rousing knockout victory.
"It went great," said Nofire of his first pro bout. "I think the fans enjoyed it."
Nofire needed only 1 minute and 22 seconds to put a stop to Marc Webb. He out-boxed a brawler and used a stiff, accurate jab to set up the big finish.
"He had a MMA background, so he came out swinging big and once I started to work my jab on him he just wanted to show that he could take it," said Nofire.
Webb took a punch or three to the cranium and then decided to taunt his opponent by dropping his hands. Bad idea as Nofire flattened him. "I guess he found out the hard way you can't take me as just another slow boring heavyweight."
Much of boxing's plight can be attributed to the heavyweight division. No one outside of the Red Square cares about the Klitschko brothers. And for now, the Klitschko brothers dominate and bore the heavyweight division.
Can Nofire electrify the masses? It is too early to tell, but he is young, hungry and learning from one of the best.
The graduate of Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah is a natural athlete having played basketball. He moved to Tulsa and started training at Cecil Pettigrew's gym just trying to stay in shape.
He eventually moved over to King Street Boxing and worked with Rick Adams. He captured the 2010 Kansas/Oklahoma Golden Gloves amateur boxing title. He moved to Florida last February and hooked up with legendary trainer John David Jackson.
He relishes the opportunity to fight in front of his home crowd.
"It is a pleasure to be able to come back home and fight in front of local fans and friends," said Nofire. "Being Cherokee and coming to a place where they can all come out and show their support is a very big thing. They are not like any other fans. I greatly appreciate them and I am glad to come back and give them a show."
His next bout is Friday night at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Xtreme Fight Night 5 is a mixed discipline card catering to a wide fan base.
Expect Dale "Apollo" Cook to deliver another spectacular show featuring boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. He is bringing in former UFC Champion and current co-host of Inside MMA Bas Rutten.
"It was a great experience to see different styles of fighters and hear of their experiences through the fighting world," he said in regards to XFN 4. "I think it makes for a great show for the fans."
Nofire faces fellow Oklahoman David Fuller in a battle of goliaths.
"Just like our last opponent we don't know a lot about him," said Nofire. "We know of his height and weight and some basic info. We will just make any adjustments at the fight once we get in the ring and get a close look."
Fight, Fight, Fight
Mixed Martial Arts is the new breed. When the UFC teamed up with Fox to bring MMA to the masses this past weekend, America got a taste. The buzz centered on the MMA action while Manny Pacquiao did what boxing fans are growing accustomed to doing. The fight left the general masses scratching their heads.
Xtreme Fight Night 5 features another stacked card. The majority of the fighters are local, but the caliber in the ring will be high.
One of our favorites, Trey Houston, takes on a tough challenger from Texas. When Houston isn't wearing a lab coat at TU, he is moonlighting as the XFL 185-pound champ. He admits his two worlds are polar opposites.
He annihilated his last opponent in 15 seconds and he looks to be in better shape this time around. It is only a matter of time before the big leagues call.
Dylan Smith trains with Houston out of the WFC gym in Tulsa. He called out XFL 170-pound champion Codale Ford following his last win.
He got his wish. This is the headline MMA bout on the card. Both fighters possess one-punch knockout power. They are also well-versed in the ground game.
A couple of kickboxing super fights are scheduled. Heavyweight sensation and Owasso product Randy Blake steps up his competition against veteran badass Marvin Eastman. Yes, that Marvin Eastman.
Thomas Longacre and Anthony Macias were scheduled to battle at XFN 4. An injury postponed the war, but both have been salivating in anticipation.
A women's title fight features Chelsea Colarelli taking on Ashley Cummins. Say what you will about female combatants, but these girls bring it.
Also expect fireworks from always exciting fighters Andrew Todhunter and Jarrett Rouse.
The preliminary fights start at 7:15pm. Visit the Hard Rock Box Office or call 918-627-7070 for tickets.
See you there.
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