Samuel Vargas vs. Ali Funeka undercard
The August 19 Lee Baxter Promotions card at the Brampton Powerade Centre isn’t just a showcase for one of the most successful Ontario fighters of the past ten years in Samuel Vargas, it’s a proving ground for some of Canada’s best prospects as well.
For Nick Fantauzzi, he’ll be looking to prove himself for the second time in less than a month, as he takes on Tyler O’Donnell on the undercard of Samuel Vargas-Ali Funeka. The Italian-Canadian prospect made his debut at the Danforth Music Hall on July 21. Though he’d expected a novice opponent with a handful of fights, last minute circumstances put him in a position to face a new foe with 24 professional bouts, or not fight at all.
There was never any debate for Fantauzzi at all, who ended the night with a scintillating knockout in the first round, in front of a near-capacity crowd—many of whom were outfitted in his t-shirts.
“To be honest, I’ve been in the gym for 11 years, training for this for 11 years, so I wasn’t gonna say no to anybody, I didn’t really care how many fights they had,” said Fantauzzi. “I dont know anything about Tyler either, so I’m just going to get myself ready and be prepared for whatever they bring to the table.”
Fantauzzi built a reputation as an amateur as a fighter who would take fights on short notice, and against opponents at various weight classes. The light heavyweight would often sign up to face heavyweights and super heavyweights—and beat them. It’s that kind of mentality that led him to several Brampton Cup victories.
“That was a gutsy move for a fighter making his pro debut. There are a lot of guys who would have dropped out and waited for another day. Not only did Nick take the fight, he might have also got the biggest crowd reaction of the night,” said Lee Baxter, who expects an even more enthusiastic turnout in support of Fantauzzi this time around.
When it comes to crowd favorites, “The Monster” Mladen Miljas has become exactly that during his career thus far. That’s because he’s made his nights short and sweet every time he’s stepped in the ring. Consider this: Miljas has faced five opponents thus far, none with losing records, and none of them have made it out of the second round.
At 6’6” and a chiseled 250 pounds, the 24-year old with just one year of ring experience is already one of the most physically imposing heavyweights in the world. Once an elite hockey player, Miljas soon found that his brute strength was better suited to the squared circle. The Mississauga native linked up with trainer Billy Martin, who helped guide Steve Molitor to the IBF super bantamweight title, and Sandy Tsagouris—who will defend her title on this same card—to a WIBA super featherweight crown as well.
“If you were to create a heavyweight in a video game, you’d create Mladen Miljas. You couldn’t ask for better raw materials than what he has—height, reach, power. Nobody has been able to go rounds with him yet, and I think as long as his career goes, guys are always going to have a problem staying in there with him,” said Baxter. “It won’t be long before we’re talking about Miljas getting a Canadian heavyweight title shot. That’s how good he is already.”
Rounding out the stacked undercard is up and coming welterweight Kane Heron. After an injury plagued year off, Heron has already picked up an exciting victory over Fernando Valencia this past March, a knockout win over Leonardo Julio in Colombia in May, and a unanimous decision over Luis Montelongo in June.
Perhaps more importantly, Heron’s bouts on each of those cards were considered by many to be the most exciting of the night.
“Not only can Kane box, but since he’s been back from injury, he’s showed that he also can get in there and bang,” said Baxter. “He’s in the best shape of his life right now, and he’s cutting a kind of pace that a top prospect should. By the time 2017 ends, he might have five or six wins on the year.”
The 26-year old Heron is taking the battle-tested Cesar “Dolar” Chavez in an eight round bout. Chavez is one of boxing’s most notorious and well-travelled gatekeepers, having shared the ring with a litany of Canada and Mexico’s top prospects over the past several years. Training hard in the hills of Guasave, Mexico, Chavez has won five of his last six bouts, and is looking to pull the upset on foreign soil come August 19.
Tickets are on sale and are available for as little as $40. Tickets will are available through Ticketmaster at this link.
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