Pro boxing returns to the Coast Convention Centre in downtown Langley, Friday, April 7, with Sarah Pucek of Fort Langley headlining the card.
Pucek is a world class professional boxer set to fight for the iconic North American Boxing Federation title (NABF). Some of boxing’s outstanding fights have been for this title. The second fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was for a NABF title. Boxing legions such as Muhammad Ali, Thomas Hearn, George Foreman, Sonny Liston and Claressa Shields have all won this title.
If the name Claressa Shields seems out of place with the other historic boxers it is something to get used to. Shields won gold at the Olympics twice and was not only the first American woman boxer to win gold at the Olympics; she is the first American boxer, man or woman to win gold at the Olympics twice.
Shields became the first woman to win the NABF Championship on March 10 on a Showtime Boxing show. Sarah Pucek will look to join Shields, who won at 154 lbs. Pucek will challenge Marquita Lee of San Francisco for the NABF Championship at 130 lbs.
Women have become very significant in pro boxing over the past ten years and especially in the past two years. Last September Pucek became the first woman to win a British Commonwealth Championship, boxing’s oldest title. This historic match took place at the Coast Convention Centre when Pucek defeated Montreal’s Lucia Larcenese in a 10 round fight.
Pucek, a blue eyed blonde, looks like she belongs on the catwalk not a boxing ring, however, she is very comfortable in a boxing ring and has won every fight at featherweight and has been in the ring for most of the last decade. She will face a very tough challenge against Marquita Lee of San Francisco, at super featherweight she's four lbs. above Pucek’s normal fighting weight. After a period of inactivity Lee took on a 19-1-0 Shelly Vincent of Providence Rhode Island in a losing effort over 8-rounds last December.
A win April 7 will secure Pucek as the highest ranked featherweight in the world without a world title belt, something she hopes to remedy by the end of 2017. Her long time trainer/manager Dave Allison say she should be in a world title fight by the end of the year.
Pucek/Lee will be the main event on April 7, with amateur standout Julian Kim making his pro debut against Ed Reyno from Calgary in the semi main. Kim is a BC amateur Champion and pound for pound could be B.C.’s best amateur boxer. Reyno is a tough journeyman who will test Kim and will let him know the difference between the pros and amateurs.
An exciting amateur undercard will be part of the event and will include Gina Skopelitis who went 1-1-0 against Pucek about 8-9 years ago in the amateurs. Langley’s Cal Bennett is coming off a big win at the last Clash @the Cascades March 17. He will face Elroy Fruto who has been one of Pucek’s sparring partners to prepare for this fight.
Tickets can be bought at the door and will be available at 7 p.m. with fights at 7:30. Card girls as well as bar service and free parking are all part of the package. General admission is $40 and kids 12 and under are free.