Andy “Kaos” Kolle (25,3) vs Cerresso Fort (14,0,1) Friday night, Hinckley Grand Casino…

Andy “Kaos” Kolle (25,3) fights in yet another huge MN vs MN showdown tomorrow night… Kaos Kolle has entered the ring 28 times as a pro… He beat Matt Vanda two times, the second in almost a shut-out, and KOed Anthony Bonsante in the 3rd round… In his last fight, he was weighing 158 the day before he entered the ring April 7, until he found out he was fighting a super middle, 164…. In that fight vs Walker, Kaos fought all but one round without his left (Andy Kolle is a southpaw) winning a wide UD… Kolle does not plan on getting in the ring above 154 again, and Friday night is a nice step towards continuing his quest to keep fighting, but at his natural weight… In Fort, he has a guy who has yet to taste defeat.. Cerresso is (14,0,1) and he believes he is the best at Jr middle after winning over Dave Peterson (13,1)… It has been widely known that Fort considers himself the best of the middles and Kolle is happy to give him the same shot, he got himself when Vanda first fought him back in 2007. Kolle/Fort will be for the vacant MN Jr. Middleweight title…You are not going to want to miss this main event Friday January 25 at Hinckley Grand Casino, Hinckley MN… Follow MNBoxingLeague on Twitter. and MNBoxingLeague on Facebook. Below is a Q & A with Kaos…
How is your wrist and hand?
Kolle….My hand is feeling good, and I have been hitting with full power throughout this camp so I have no reservations about throwing it throughout the fight.

Back at your natural fighting weight of 154, do you see the Walker fight (April 7, 2012) as your last stop in the 160′s?
Kolle….I really hope so. When I got the call for the opponent switch I was already sitting around 158 a day before the weigh ins. So I went out and stuffed my face with pasta so when, I weighed in I wouldn’t come in so light. 154 really is the weight I feel the most comfortable at so moving forward I hope we can secure the remainder of my fights at that weight.
This past Saturday had a big MN vs MN showdown between Caleb Truax and Matt Vanda. Now you and Fort get your own regional showdown.. Like Vanda, you have been a part of many big local showdowns, beating Vanda twice by UD and knocking out Bonsante… Is there any special motivation when fighting an in state rival?
Kolle….There’s always a little extra motivation with in state fights, not necessarily because there is bad blood but because these are the fights that people remember and talk about. Also a little extra motivation comes from the fact that we will run into each other again and you want to be the guy that won the fight. My hats off to Caleb and Matt for putting on the show they did last week. I’ve been hearing about it everyday since, and that is the type of publicity that elevates MN boxing.
Cerresso Fort was given the impression he was fighting for the MN Jr. Middleweight title by promotion when he fought Dave Peterson last fall. This Friday you and he get to fight for the real title at 154.. Does fighting to be best in class in MN hold special value?
Kolle….I just like to compete and win. To me titles are more for the fans, but it is great to be recognized as the best.

Did you watch Fort/Peterson? Any thoughts taken from that fight?
Kolle….I watched parts of it, and it looked like one hell of a scrap, very fan friendly. My trainers and I picked up on a few things throughout the fight that I think will help me to be victorious on the 25th. Fort is an exception fighter but as long as I fight my fight and don’t get lured into his, we’ll be celebrating the W after.

Fort has been putting your name out there for some time, and I know you have welcomed the fight since well before your one handed victory over Walker. How glad are you to be able to get in there with Fort?
Kolle….Fort knows that to make it out of this state and be successful you have to fight the top guys in the state first. I am happy to get in the ring with him because I know it will be a challenge and thats what I love, to compete against whoever will push me. 

Your life has gotten really busy over the last 6 months, what have you been up to?
Kolle….Its been a wild few months I can tell you that. In September I moved back to Fargo so I could be closer to family, and so my girlfriend could continue her college goals at NDSU. Ever since this fight was signed I have been working for Aflac, which is a great opportunity for me to set something up for life after boxing. I’ve also been working part time at a bar to help pay the bills until I get this new career up and running. So between working full time during the day, part time at the bar, and traveling all over the state to train I haven’t had a whole lot of free time. But with the help of Todd and Jason we have made it work and I am ready to do what needs to be done on Friday.

This Friday brings a ton of great action, aside from your fight, as a fan, what would you most be looking forward to in Fridays event?
Kolle….If I had the opportunity to sit in the stands I would be looking forward to watching T-Rex do his thing, he’s really come a long way since he teamed up with Jason Hendrickson and has a bright future in this sport. Aaron Green is always one to watch as well. 

How do you see Kolle/Fort ending?
Kolle…I don’t know how it will end but my hand will be raised.

Is there anything you would like to add?
Kolle….I would like give a special thank you to Jason Hedrickson, for all the work/miles he put in to help me get ready for this fight. There is no way I would be ready for this fight with out it. Also, Todd Bechthold for getting this fight lined up and jumping thru whatever hoops needed to be jumped thru to make things easier on me since I’m not in the area anymore. A special shout out to Relf Optical and Kayla Bechthold for getting my my eye exam on Saturday afternoon, I appreciate it.

I am looking forward to a war on Friday night, and entertaining everybody that braves the cold to come and support MN boxing!

VIP’s and tables for Truax (20,1,1) vs Vanda (44,14) gone, three weeks out!!

According to MinnesotaBoxing.com it sounds like all table’s and most VIP tickets have been sold for Caleb Truax vs Matt Vanda! With the way tickets are moving for this show it could be the most well attended boxing event since Anthony Bonsante and Matt Vanda met in the ring back in 2007… To get your tickets to January 19′s event at the Minneapolis Convention Center go to ofights.com…. Get yours fast, you are not going to want to miss out!

Best of 2009

I am sorry for being so slow in getting this up. 2009 was quite a ride for The League. Our first year covering Minnesota’s boxing scene had it all, big time ups and big time downs. As the year went on the more I respected each fighter I covered. I watched Caleb Truax progress from the first time I covered him last January to his most recent fight this past November. The Truax of today would kick the butt of Truax from a year ago, that guy learns from every fight. I started out the year not really having a high opinion of Matt Vanda, today he is one of my favorite fighters. Ismail Muwendo and Jeremy McLaurin probably made the biggest impressions on me as new fighters. Gary Eyer proved what I already believed, he has one of he biggest hearts and body shots in the state. Andy “Kaos” Kolle is for real. Jason Litzau is still the man in Minnesota. We were able the watch some of Minnesota’s best fighters of the decade hang up their gloves, Zach Walters and Anthony Bonsante maybe didn’t get to go out as they wanted, but did so on their own terms. Below is our year-end awards.

 

Fighter of the year

Matt Vanda

Matt Vanda

1. Matt Vanda

2. Jason Litzau

3. Caleb Truax

4. Wilton Hilario

 

Fight of the year

Gary Eyer (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Gary Eyer (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Gary Eyer vs Levi Cortes

2. Matt Vanda vs Ted Muller

3. Caleb Truax vs Kerry Hope

3. Dave Peterson vs Corey Rodriguez

3. Antwan Robertson vs Brad Patraw 2

3. Cerresso Fort vs Lamar Harris

 

Most important fight of the year

Andy Kolle and Anthony Bonsante, Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Andy Kolle and Anthony Bonsante, Photo Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved

1. Andy Kolle vs Anthony Bonsante

2. Matt Vanda vs Phil Williams

 

KO of the year

1. Andy Kolle’s KO of Anthony Bonsante

2. Ismail Muwendo’s KO of  Josh Jungjohann

3. Marcus Oliveira’s KO of Otis Griffin

 

Biggest show of the year

Matt Vanda working the body, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Matt Vanda working the body, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

November 13 at Hinckley Grand Casino

 

Prospect of the year – new pro this year

Ismail Muwendo, courtesy SnapLocally.com

Ismail Muwendo, courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Ismail Muwendo

2. Jeremy McLaurin

 

Fighters of the decade

Zach Walters

Anthony Bonsante

Matt Vanda

 

Minnesota’s top P4P

Jason Litzau last April at the Target Center, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Jason Litzau last April at the Target Center, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

1. Jason Litzau

2. Andy Kolle

3. Caleb Truax

4. Wilton Hilario

5. Matt Vanda

“Bad” Brad Patraw to face Antwan Robertson October 23 for the MN Bantamwieght Title

Brad Patraw, Photo Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

Brad Patraw, Photo Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

Brad Patraw (6,0) and Antwan Robertson (4,1,1) will have a rematch of a fight Patraw won with ease back in March. The fight will be for the new Minnesota bantamweight title. Yes, I already have heard, “how can there be a bantamweight title fight and Willshaun Boxley (5,1) not be fighting?”, the answer, this is boxing. To be honest, my first thought was that the fight should be Boxley/Patraw if it is for the title, but I do see them as 1, 2 and 3 right now. So as long as Willshaun does not get blocked out from fighting the winner, I think it is a great thing.

 

I have heard from the Antwan Robertson camp that this fight will be nothing like the one we saw on the undercard to Kolle/Bonsante. Little Superman plans to show some offence in this outing. I give Patraw a lot of credit for giving Roberson this second shot, and look forward to having another state title to go with the ones held by Andy Kolle (middleweight title) and Zach Walters (light heavyweight title). We can only hope the belt gains credibility through defenses like the middleweight belt has. Unlike the light heavy situation of the last few years, bantamweight has a lot of young talent and should make for a few interesting fights. This is why I am fully behind the idea, I think it can turn out to be like the middleweight title. Minnesota middleweight champs include, Anthony Bonsante, Matt Vanda, and now of course Andy “Kaos” Kolle. Though the middles were much more established as pros, the bantamweight belt could one day be looked at in the same way.

That’s what I’m talking about

Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

With all of the big instate fights being talked about, and some actually happening, we have one fighter who has been on this path well ahead of the rest. Before Wilton Hilario and Allen Litzau faced off, and two years ahead of Andy Kolle vs Anthony Bonsante, Matt Vanda was taking on all comers. 2007 saw Vanda pitted against, Anthony Bonsante, Kenny Kost, and Andy Kolle. 2008 was no easier for Vanda. He fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. two times. This year started off with John Duddy, Tocker Pudwill, and almost another fight with Andy Kolle. Now we all know the  result of all but one of these fights. Vanda may have racked up more L’s in these campaigns but more importantly he showed the heart of a true warrior. Whether you are a fan of his or not, almost all love his fighting spirit. I honestly think if Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell started calling out Vanda, The Predator would ask when and where. This was made apparent when Vanda started calling out the much bigger Zach “Jungleboy” Walters, and ended up in a tournament with Zach, Phil Williams, and a fighter to be named. How can you not like this guy? I look forward to seeing Matt go August 14 at the Myth nightclub, followed by a huge fight against a bigger and stronger fighter , Phil “The Drill” Williams, September 26 at the Target Center.

 

My hope is that Minnesota’s fighters continue to take notice of the example fighters like Matt Vanda have made. Vanda may have gotten beat by, Kolle, Kost and Bonsante. But since then he has been apart of PPV TV fights as well as headlining two more Target Center shows. That my friends is success in boxing. There is a limited supply of World Titles, but there doesn’t have to be limited fights for those who truly have a passion for the sport.

Part III of Laura Zink’s interview of Phil “The Drill” Williams

This series is best if read in order. Below are parts I and II.

7-01-09 Phil Williams part 1

>7-30-09 Phil Williams Part II

 

The Drill Speaks – Part 3

On his Transformation, his Boxing, and his Purpose

By: Laura Zink

Photograph by: 13twentythree.com

 

phil-right

 

After Phil Williams became his old high school’s mascot for a life gone wrong, Williams’ initial reaction was to laugh.

 

I laughed at it,” Williams said. “I thought it was all funny, like I didn’t care. That’s how we reacted at the time, like ‘Ha, ha! They said they don’t want to end up like me.’ It was more of a status thing.”

 

At the time, the public branding of Phil Williams as a violent criminal by his old high school was not surprising. In fact, to Williams, the situation seemed inevitable due to the wide-spread media coverage of the event.

 

I knew everyone was going to find out about it,” Williams explained. “My brother’s dad was calling from jail. My grandmother called…they could read all about it in the papers. They had me in there worse than it really was. They had me in there for a shooting incident that I didn’t even do, but because of my involvement with what was going on, they just threw my name in there as the primary suspect, saying that I was doing all of the shooting.

 

And did he actually participate in any part of the shootings which the media accused him of?

 

I didn’t,” Williams stated. “My cousin got shot like 5 times. A girl got shot in the head…the one that got shot in the head was a stand-byer…and another got shot in the leg. And they had me in for all of it. I got blamed for shooting my cousin 5 times! They messed it all up in the paper, and so that was why I was in there laughing. As it happened, we got caught with one of the weapons, but the gun ended up not matching to the gun in the shootings. But with the news, they were so quick to write the story that they blamed me because I was the one that went to jail for it.”

 

So after the laughter subsided, Williams’ sentiments about this experience began to change. Here he was, just 18 years old, and he was already being written off by his old high school and the media as a hopeless case. It was around this time something set a fire under Williams.

 

I just started getting a drive in me,” Williams remembered. “I don’t know if it was that I wanted to prove people wrong…because I remember when my principal had a meeting in the auditorium and told all the kids that they didn’t want to end up like Phil Williams, you know, ‘like him’…I was like, ‘Wow, that’s what they are talking about me.’ And so, I wanted to prove people wrong. If I can fight, what do you think that I can’t do? I think that’s my drive. I want to do something that you think I can’t do.”

 

With this new motivation, Williams started to change the way he approached his life. This transformation began when Williams returned to his education.

 

So I went back to school,” Williams explained. “I went to an extra year of school. I went to night school and then I went to summer school…and I got my diploma. Then after that I went to barber school because I knew I could cut hair. I wanted to show people that I could do something. But my mom, she never came to my graduation. She didn’t know what barber shop I was working at either.”

 

In fact, Williams’ mother had begun to fall away, disappearing for days and weeks at a time, leaving Williams the primary caretaker of his half brother.

 

“There was times when I would come home, and the lights would be off, the water would be off… so I ended up being my brother’s guardian,” Williams remembered about that time. “And I signed on to become his guardian because there was nobody else home. There was nobody there to take over the deal. So I had to be in the streets. I had to do what I had to do, and that is what my brother was following…me doing that.”

 

And though he wasn’t always setting the best example for his half brother, he was the only adult in his half brother’s life. So when his 14 year old brother was about to be released from jail, 20 year old Williams had to go down to the courthouse and make a case that he could be held responsible for his sibling’s well-being.

 

“I was trying to go to meet with the counselors in court,” Williams explained, “Tim Alexander was the judge who let to get my brother out. And I remember that he asked, ‘Well, where is his mother?’ They said ‘They don’t know the whereabouts of his mother.’ Then he asked, ‘Where’s the father?’ ‘He’s locked up.’ And then he asked, ‘Well do we have anybody?’ And they said, ‘Well, we got his brother right here.” I remember that. It was because our mother walked out that made that judge release my brother. And after they released him, they came out with another warrant saying that he robbed somebody else. They wanted to take him back to jail. They kept him. He was 14. He pleaded guilty and ended up with a year and a half. He got out when he was 16. It happened all the time. All the times he would get sent back to jail, I had to be down there to represent him. His mom didn’t even know where he was at. I had the paperwork. My brother did 3 years at St. Cloud, and she didn’t know where he was at. She was staying in Indiana at the time, and we didn’t know it.”

 

Neither Williams nor his half-brother would know where their mother was for the next 6 years. But it was during this time that Williams began to return to his talents with a different level of dedication. At 20, he began working as a professional barber. Granted, he was still running into trouble here and there, mostly for minor weapons charges, and, of course, for fighting.

 

“I started working at the barber shop at 20,” Williams explained. “I went right to New Dimensions. For like the first year, I didn’t talk very much. I was trying to get my life together, and I didn’t want to really let the owner know that…you know. It was an older man who ran the shop. I didn’t want him to know that I was fighting. He eventually found out because a lot of stuff ended up happening in the shop. I think I had about 4 fights at that shop. Two fights inside the shop and two fights outside. And the two outside were right in front of it. It was like my outside life was coming into the shop.”

 

It was about a year before my first fight in the shop,” Williams continued. “I ended punching this dude in the chair who was talking mess. He was talking mess to me outside the shop, and he ended up talking mess to me inside the shop, so I ended up punching him right in the chair…and I messed up my hand…that’s why I got these big knuckles. That’s where it came from. But then I thought to myself that if I’m already fighting, why not get paid for it, you know?”

 

That inquiry led Williams to Glover’s Gym where he began training with Papa Joe Daschkewitz.

 

“I went up to Glover’s, and that’s when I met Papa Joe,” Phil remembered. “He was Scott LeDoux’s trainer. I was just boxing and training for about 3 weeks, and he could see that I could box…that I had a natural ability. And he was like, ‘Have you boxed before?’ And I was like, ‘Nah.’ So one day he let me go into the ring and spar. I was sparring 2 weeks later with a pro named Quinton Osgood. He could see that I could fight. At first I was just street fighting, so I didn’t know how to go three minutes. I would just start throwing punches and trying to hurt the dude, but he saw something in me, like ‘Dude. This man can fight though. He needs to start getting his wind up and running miles.’ Then, I couldn’t run a mile. I would never run, but I started getting my wind because I kept sparring everyday.”

 

And as Williams was proving himself in the gym and trying to transform his street fighting into ring fighting, Williams got his first amateur fight. And while it was his first fight, Papa Joe wanted the records to show that Williams already had five.

 

Papa Joe would see how good I was at boxing and he would say, ‘Well, you’re pretty good,’” Williams said. “So about 2 months after being at that gym, I had my first fight. But they didn’t want to have me fight as a novice. They wanted to have the doctor write that I had 5 fights. They wanted to throw me in open class right away because they thought that I was too advanced to be a novice.”

 

Williams first match would be against a kickboxer named Peyton Russel, a kickboxer who had Anthony Bonsante’s trainer, Bill Kaehne, in his corner.

 

I lost that fight,” Williams admitted with a laugh. “So I lost the first amateur fight that I ever had. I was so frustrated because I thought that I could beat people. I was hitting him with the harder punches. I had his nose and mouth bleeding. But I didn’t have the conditioning to hold up for the whole three rounds. I had my hands down for the whole last round, and he was hitting me with clean punches and stuff. And after I got out of the ring, Fred Askew came up to me and said, ‘You did good in there, but you’ve got to get in condition. You can’t just go in there and street fight.’”

 

Williams took heed of the old Minnesota pro’s advice. He began more and more to focus on his training.

 

After that, I started a whole new league,” Williams commented about his next amateur fights. “I beat everyone that I fought in Minnesota. I even came back and fought Peyton Russell my third fight. And I whooped him. I dropped him twice. I dropped him in the first round with a jab, and I dropped him in the second round with a left hook.”

 

After the Russell rematch, Williams fought at the amateur state championships in 2003, where, donning his new ring name, “The Drill,” he won the Minnesota State Amateur Championship. Williams went to the Amateur State Championships the following year and won the title again against Chad Tostenson. Unlike his fight with Tostenson in 2003, Williams wobbled him this time, earning Tostenson 2 standing 8 counts, which caused Williams to win an even more convincing decision over Tostenson than he did the previous year. Before the year was up, he fought Tostenson again at the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves in Hinckley, this time knocking him out in the third round with a right hook.

 

“That’s when I fell in love with my southpaw style,” Williams commented about the old victory.

 

He ascended to Nationals that year, the first day winning a 1st round KO against Philip Johnson, but losing a decision to Donyell Livingston of California on the second day.

 

I went to the Nationals of Golden Gloves in Kansas City,” Williams said. I knocked the dude out in the first round in Kansas City the first night. The second night I lost to Donyell Livingston out of Oakland. That was my second loss. I never had the amateur style to fight. You know those pitty-pat punches? I was more of a set you up and catch you with hard, clean punches. And was not what the amateurs was about. When I lost the national tournaments, they were close decisions, but I never had the experience of fighting in the amateurs, so I was trying to fight like a pro in the amateurs.”

 

But back home in Minnesota by 2005, no one wanted to fight Williams for the amateur state title anymore. That year in Blaine at the USA Tournament, Williams was given the title just for showing up.

 

“I just had to walk in the ring and they gave me my title,” Williams said. “I just had to make weight. Everybody pulled out. Nobody wanted to fight me for that one. I just walked into the ring and got my title.”

 

He returned in 2005 to the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves tournament, this time showing the tendencies and ring style he would use as a professional. He won 2 knockout victories, one 2nd round KO against Collin Kelly and a 1st rounder against Patsadora.

 

But Nationals in Little Rock that year posed another pitty-pat problem. That year it came at the hands of then #1 ranked amateur, Edwin Rodriguez. Williams lost a decision to him on the first day.

 

“I was rushing for points. Trying to fight like an amateur,” Williams said about the bout. “It didn’t end up working out for me so I decided that I was going to turn pro. Put the small gloves on. I was ready to take the head gear off. And I fought my first fight in Duluth. I came in at 168, and Medina, he came in at 174. That’s why I don’t know why people say I couldn’t make 168. My first fight was at 168. I didn’t have to come down in weight. That was the weight that I came in at.”

 

Williams had that first fight in Duluth 28 years old. And a mere three fights later, Williams made headlines again. But this time, he got his television appearance for knocking out Brandon Burke in 10 seconds of the first round at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in June of 2006.

 

And as he stacked up 5 of first round knockouts in the beginning of his career, his experience with professional boxing still seemed slightly surreal.

 

“What started happening was that I started having a different focus,” Williams noted. “And a lot of my time was took up to go to work and to go to the gym and to go fight. And once I started winning, it started to feel more real because it didn’t feel real to me yet. I would still just come back after fights and do what I do now. I just thought that I was going to fight, BOOM, get a couple dollars, and that was it. Go Home. But after I lost the Oliveria fight was really what edged me to start training a little better. And this Echols fight is what really turned me on. Now I feel like a real professional fighter. I didn’t feel like a real professional fighter until like, really, now. And it still doesn’t seem real to me.”

 

When I first started, I used to tell people, ‘Watch, I’m going to be the main event,” Williams said. “’I wanna be state champ. I wanna fight Zach Walters’…since my third fight. I knew I could do it, and people around me knew I could do it. But I am actually doing it now. The opportunity is there for me right now. The whole state is recognizing that. Now I am somebody to really worry about when it comes to boxing.”

 

And while his boxing career is beginning to provide Williams with the opportunities to really shine on the professional scene, Williams remains grounded. For Williams, the press, the publicity, the approbation, and the after-parties are not the reasons he chooses to fight. In fact, for Williams, those elements of the boxing game are actually a distraction from what really matters…and the real reason he is fighting.

 

“I don’t want to get caught up in that hype too much,” Williams commented. “That is why I stay away from it. I come right back to the city after I am done fighting. I don’t go out there and just start kicking it and hanging out because I don’t want to get lost in thinking that I’m some bigheaded star or something. I want to come back right to where I know that I’m more grounded. I come back to work the next day right after my fight. Win, lose, or whatever, I am at work the next day. Then I can be around people who I know are gonna love me regardless. Now matter what, if I still don’t do nothing, it’s ‘I love you.’”

 

These people come to see me because they really care about me and not just what I can do for them,” Williams explained about his friends from the neighborhood. “None of them ask me for nothing. They just treat me like I’m one of them. And when I fight, they feel like they are a part of that. I mean, those people that come in the ring with me that all wear the same shirts. The last fight we came in with the Kingdom Cuts shirts, and most of our customers had them on. That’s because they are a part of me. We are a part of each other. So that’s why they come, and that’s why I do it – to let them know that they are a part of this. It’s not just me in here doing this. You are all following what I am doing. Y’all motivate me so I can do what I am doing so that I can show y’all that we can do something. There is a lot more that we can do. And when I talk to them, they listen more. Like, ‘You know that I am coming from the same thing that you are coming from, so whatever you want to do, do it. And go hard at it. Just start doing it. We got to live our life. We got to do something…something that you can be proud of, something that your kids can be proud of. You gotta be some type of role model for somebody.”

 

In fact, another one of the reasons Williams stays grounded is not just for his fans, it’s for his half-brother, “Rev”.

 

“My little brother has been in prison for the last 7 years, and he’s 25 years old,” Williams said. “And he’s in a federal joint. I wait on him to get out because that is my only brother. What I am doing out here is essentially trying to make something happen, so that when he gets out, he won’t have to go the route that he was going. He’s not used to me doing what I’m doing now. I’m being a lot more disciplined. He was following me, and that led him into prison. And so if he’s gonna keep following me, I’m gonna have to change my ways. And that is something that help me change my ways. If I don’t, it’s gonna hurt him. And it will hurt my kids. I’m the only thing that they got to look after them, so I have to do this. It’s like this is what I have to do.”

 

And while his boxing represents his personal mission to be a role model for his brother and all of the people who come from struggle, Williams also has a mission for Minnesota boxing. He wants to help create a new face for Minnesota boxing. And what does that new face to look like?

 

I want that face to look like we finally have somebody who can compete on a national level who is a good fighter. Not just an opponent,” Williams said. “Minnesota has that aura right now that. The world don’t see anything in a Minnesota fighter. But if you offer them a fight, they will come in running to take that fight. The history of the Minnesota fighters is that all of their records are built up, that they don’t fight nobody. And I want to show Minnesota that y’all got a real fighter man. You all got a fighter. Get behind me, and I will show you what we can do. They are going to start respecting Minnesota. And that will help the other fighters in Minnesota that will come up after me. Minnesota’s going to start getting respected a lot more after this. I’m gonna push as hard as I can, and the other fighters behind me? They got to start doing the same thing. I’m trying to set the blueprint.”

 

But when it all gets down to it, his boxing and all of his experiences are directly related to his life in the inner city. And just as his boxing allows him the chance to provide a better example for his brother and for all Minnesota boxers, Williams also wants to be a motivation for kids who still have to live through the struggles that he once did.

 

“Everything that I did, and everything that I still do is involved in here, in the inner city,” Williams said. “I know that there are kids out there who were just like me. And people are ready to write them off and build a jail for them. Instead of building schools for them, they are building jails for them. So we want to prove them wrong. You’re building the wrong buildings for them. And I want to be a better motivation for them because these kids know me, and they know where I am coming from, and they know that I am here and that I am still in touch with them. They can always come talk to me. And they say, ‘Wow. When you win that world title man, is that it?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, you can come into the shop, and I will be right here. I’m not going nowhere. I am here for you.’”

 

And in the meantime, Williams will spend his days in the barber shop talking to the folks from the neighborhood and his nights with his three children. But in the evenings, Williams will be training for the biggest fight of his career. With each step that gets him closer to September 26th, Williams knows that the time will come when he will have to fight to honor that ring name given to him by his friends 6 years ago. For Williams, being “The D.R.I.L.L” is not just about himself. By being Directly Related to the Inner-city with Love and Loyalty, Williams makes each fight a quest to provide a better model not only for Minnesota boxing, but for his children, his half-brother, and everyone he knows that comes from a struggle. So when you see him step into the ring 2 months from now, you will be seeing a man ready to fight not only for his future, but for the future of the inner-city, and for Minnesota boxing as a whole.

 

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Headlines for Kaos?

Photo Courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Photo Courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

Here is a list of Andy “Kaos” Kolles last five fights; (records are from time of fight) Nov,17-07 Matt Vanda (37,4), June,7-08 Jonathan Reid (34,9), Sept, 25-08 Paul Williams (34,1), March, 28-09 Anthony Bonsante (32,10,3), June, 18-09 Anthony Shuler (20,5,1). Andy won all but one of these fights. The only person in this state who could match the opponents Kaos has faced over the last couple of years would be Matt Vanda but he didn’t bring home the W’s. The reason I bring this up is, Where is the buzz? The major talk around the state has been revolving around; Matt Vanda, Zach Walters, Phil Williams, Jason Litzau, and Wilton Hilario. Hasn’t Kolle been the one guy who has brought home the bacon? Jake Wegner recently listed Kolle along with Litzau as somebody who was right there as far as the national scene goes, going as far as to say he was one of the better south paws in the Country. Where are the headlines? Where is the buzz?

 

There was a lot of talk and excitement after Chuck Horton and Tony Grygelko made their gentleman’s agreement to have “Golden” Caleb Truax take on Kolle this fall. But with all the calling out, and big fight announcements the Truax/Kolle affair seems to have lost steam. Would setting a place and date for this fight kindle the fire again? Are Andy and Caleb just not outspoken enough to stir the fans imaginations? There are not many in the state who would argue there are better middle weights then, Andy Kolle, Caleb Truax, and Kenny Kost. With Kost having not fought for a very long time, doesn’t that leave Kolle/Truax as the best middle weight match up in the state? Its often been said that middle was the strong division in Minnesota, why the lack of love?

 

Okay, Okay, I hear you, the name Andy “Kaos” Kolle often finds its way into my writings. But instead of talking about what he has done, shouldn’t we be pondering what might be. What national fighters should team Horton have their eyes on? How can Andy get some quality TV time? It would seem to me that he is a marketers dream. He is obviously not afraid of anything or anyone in the ring. He is only fighting quality record boxers. He has proven power. And he has an Oscar type look. What’s the problem? Boxrec’s # 6 in the Nation Andy Kolle (19,2). Bring on the headlines….

 

From our Jake Wegner interview

 

M…. What MN fighters do you think have the greatest potential to make waves on the national level.

 

Jake….   Obviously Jason Litzau is already there.  I like Andy Kolle, but he needs to talk more and do more interviews—be more accessable.  I’m told by those that haveinterviewed him, that he only does them by email.  His team needs to market him outside of Duluth because he has a lot of potential.  I think Andy Kolle is one of the better southpaws in the land, but provided he makes it past Truax in the Fall, and then hopefully Kost, I would really like to see Andy in a nice fight on ESPN against a guy similar in talent.  In other words, he shouldn’t haveto fight killers like Ward and Paul Williams to be able to get a fight and a payday on ESPN.  He should be matched evenly and allowed to shine.  I like Caleb Truax’s athleticism and counter-punching, but I want to see him be more aggressive out there, and I think that certainly Phil Williams has the right stuff to shine on a national level.  Had Codrington showed up that night when he ended up fighting Echols, Phil just may have killed him.  He looked that good, and everyone that was there noticed the power and speed of his jab.  It had the force of a cross.  Joey Abell is in the right weight class, and definitely has the right skin color to get him televised fights, but I want Joey to see a hypnotist, Anthony Robbins, or whatever it takes to get his full confidence back, and then step up and fight some serious names in the Heavyweight division.  If Wilton Hilario beats Jason Litzau this Fall, then his name jumps to the moon automatically.  It’s a crime that a Light Heavyweight with Zach Walters’ record has not been invited over to Germany to face a European belt holder and get a career payday.  I can put him in touch with the right people overseas to make that happen if he’s interested. 

Jake Wegner, Author of “Land of 10,000 Bruises…100 Years of Minnesota’s Greatest Boxing Rivalries”, as well as writer for Boxing Digest

Jake Wegner is probably Minnesota’s greatest resource in terms of boxing history and relevance. His book may be a

Jake interviewing Cerresso Fort, Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

Jake interviewing Cerresso Fort, Courtesy of SnapLocally.com

while out yet, but from all I have heard and what Jake has shared with me, it will be well worth the wait. Jake writes for one of the worlds premier boxing magazines, and his work has been seen on numerous newspapers, magazines, and websites including ESPN. I am a big fan of his commentary for radio, TV, and webcast. He may have another full time job, but talking with Jake, lets you know his passion is boxing. Unfortunately, with his book still in the works, he was not able to go into a whole lot of detail in its regards, but in a phone conversation I had with him, he read me portions of his work. “Wow”, and “I cant wait”, were my exact thoughts. Jake’s research is not only important in keeping boxers past alive, but maybe even more importantly keeping it from being lost forever. Much has been misplaced, thrown away, taped over and so on. Jake has spent countless hours searching for everything boxing in Minnesota. He has talked to virtually all living and recently deceased boxers from the past, as well as their friends and families. I am honored that Jake was willing to share a little with us.

 

M…. Talking boxing with you is like having boxrec right there, its one of the things that make your broadcasts so interesting. You are considered a Minnesota Boxing historian. How do you come about such a title?

 

Jake….  It wasn’t self-appointed, that’s for sure.  I guess it was earned over the course of the past 12 years of my life.  The greatest boxing historian Minnesota has ever known is my good friend, George Blair.  George has been my mentor so-to-speak about all things boxing-related in Minnesota history, but he’s 76 now and doesn’t care much for the sport anymore.  The fact that he’s leaving me all of his stuff when he dies will definitely give me something to do, as it will take years for me to get through it all.  In any event, I have written boxing for years, but those around the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press have looked at me as a historian for a while now, but it probably wasn’t until I was the first person to officially debunk the long-standing mythof Willie Pep supposedly winning the 3rd round of his 1946 fight against Jackie Graves without ever throwing a punch.  When I proved that was nothing more than fairy tale, Ring Magazine gave me credit, ESPN called me for an interview, and many east coast radio stations began asking me to call in for interviews.  Then Fox called and said they really wanted me for a special on Billy Miske, and I guess that not only put my name out there on an international scale, but also my face as well.  I don’t know if still stands as true or not, but since I was a voter in my mid 20’s for both boxing Hall of Fames, the World Boxing Hall of Fame out in California, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York, I was told at that time I was youngest person in history to be a voter for both Hall of Fames.  Since having a personal dispute with one member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame a few years ago, I didn’t associate myself with them for a couple of years, but would now be interested in getting involved once again with them.  I also belong to a historian club called the International Boxing Research Organization, which is mostly made up of many historians you may have heard of like Bert Sugar and the late Hank Kaplan, but also a great many others you may not have heard of, but are equally as knowledgeable, each in their own certain areas.  I’m very proud of my association with them.  Lastly, I have been invited for a few years now to join the Boxing Writers Association of America.  I think I will this time, but have always considered myself more of a historian than a writer.  But I’m sure my editor at Boxing Digest would think otherwise.
 
M…. Did you ever box? When did you realize your passion for boxing?

 

Jake….  I boxed some while going to college during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but it was never anything like I had joined the Golden Gloves or anything.  Nothing like that.  It was supposed to be just to lose some weight and stay in shape, but I ended up sparring and liking it.  But nothing official.  Actually, I had always loved boxing since being a kid and watching fights with my dad; the earliest memory being Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini killing Deuk Koo Kim in 1982.  I was 6 years-old then.
 
M…. I have seen some of your articles printed in various places, what was your first boxing piece and who was it written for?

 

Jake….  I don’t know if I can even remember that.  I really don’t.  It may have been the interview I did with Jackie Graves for the website www.cyberboxingzone.com  back in early 2003.
 
M…. How many publications have you been printed in, online and print? Broadcasts you’ve done?

 

Jake….  You know, I’m not sure if I know the answer to that either.  Mostly because I have been telephone-interviewed by several newspapers both in and out of state, and I don’t remember all of them.  Also a lot of different websites have called me for interviews and I’m told stuff with me is out there here and there.  I don’t really follow it all to be honest with you.  If I had to guess, I would say somewhere around a dozen or so different publications, spanning some 30 or so articles.  As far as broadcasts, I think I’ve done 11, if you include radio (4), online streams (5), and television (2).
 
M…. What was your most memorable boxing experience?

 

Jake….  Getting to know perhaps Minnesota’s greatest Featherweight of all time, Jackie Graves.  I knew Jackie for a while and his stories were surpassed only by his character.  What a great guy he was.  So close was I to him later on, that his family asked me to be a pall bearer at his funeral.  I also put on a slide-show of his life and career at the wake.  I did his eulogy as well.  
 
M….  The greatest Minnesota boxing event you have had the chance to be at?

 

Jake….  That’s easy.  Anthony Bonsante—Matt Vanda.
 
M…. Can you tell us, from your research, who was the most popular MN boxer up to now.

 

Jake….  That’s not as easy as the last question.  There were many very popular stars; and “stars” is the right word.  They were that big.  Jackie Graves would be hard to beat when talking popularity, but I think Mike and Tommy Gibbons probably were more popular, as was Mike O’Dowd.  Del and Glen Flanagan were big-names here also, as well as King Tut—he was huge too.
 
M…. What time period would you say boxing was at its peak in this state?

 

Jake….  The 1920’s through the early 1950’s.  Those were the power decades where Minneapolis and St. Paul competed right up there with New York City and Philadelphia. 
 
M….”Land of 10,000 Bruises…100 Years of Minnesota’s Greatest Boxing Rivalries” , How long has this book been in your minds eye?

 

Jake….  3 years
 
M…. I was able to briefly talk to you about some old TV footage of some of these bouts, and you informed me that many of the tapes were simple reused by the TV stations, How hard has it been digging up these stories from the past?

 

Jake….  You don’t want to know.  It’s very hard.  Especially because I am an admitted perfectionist.  Everything has to be just so with me.  All the facts as best as I can uncover them, have to be told in as great of detail as I can give, plus all the behind-the-scenes banter, cross-talk, quotes, and personal stories and interviews have to all be put together in an accurate, yet exciting way.  And it has to be that way.  I’m not interested in just re-telling what happened in round-by-round accounts.  I go beyond that.  Simple round-by-round accounts are like listening to Sergeant Joe Friday on old Dragnet episodes.  I try to stay away from that and do such deep digging with the fighters (if still alive), their families, friends, former trainers—you name it.  It’s extremely hard work to get all of this information, especially since I put that same sort of dedication into my real job in sales.  I also have a wife and 4 kids, and so my time is very, very, limited.  If I get any facts wrong in this book, they will be few and far between.  That’s how serious this is to me.  Those who have seen “sneak-peaks” of certain chapters in the book, know just what I am talking about here.  When it is finished, I hope it is a large work that others can open up at night and read all about the many great fights between our own fighters and get all the details—without having to do all the work I have done.  I’ve considered breaking it up by decade or 1900-1950 and 1951-2000, but I like the idea of one complete work.  Follow-up smaller books will be done every 10 years for as long as I live in the 21st Century.
 
M…. How big is the effort now to save this information from the past?

 

Jake….  Well the effort is little to none Todd.  I don’t know of anyone but myself and a few close friends like Denny Nelson, Don Weller, Bill Kaehn, Jim Glancey, and Jeff Flanagan that haveany interest in helping to preserve this type of stuff. It’s sad really.  Take Duane Bobick and Scott LeDoux for example.  Their first fight was huge, huge, huge.  NBC paid promoter Ben Sternberg $7,500 for the rights to come here and film and televise the fight ($7,500 in 1976 is like $30,000 today adjusted for inflation).  But do you think anyone has the film footage?  Nope.  Not any of the local television stations like Fox 9 or Hubbell Broadcasting, and not even NBC themselves.  I’ve had friends like Jeff Passolt at Fox help me, and we’ve always come up short.  I have searched long and hard for that film footage, and have not been able to locate it.  And I know all of the largest film collectors in the world, including the people who ESPN Classic and HBO use for really rare film footage.  No one has it.  I was on the phone for a total of 3 hours with the Sports Executives of NBC, they no longer have it either.  They taped over it years ago they tell me.  This is the really frustrating part of loving Minnesota boxing history.  That stuff is sacred to me.  That’s how I feel about it.  Todd, I even dream about old-time fighters.  It’s the single weirdest thing that has happened to me since I started this book.  I don’t believe in any type of psychic stuff.  I never really have.  But I can tell you that I have had fighters appear to me in dreams at night—old fighters, some that are in my book.  How’s that for weird?  It weird, it’s strange, and it’s kind of creepy.  I’ll be the first to admit that.
 
M…. I write out of Duluth, do you have any interesting stories from this area you could share?

 

Jake….  Just you wait.
 
M…. What has been your biggest victory, in terms of information gathering?

 

Jake….  Nothing in particular Todd, just all of the really cool insight I’ve gathered from the fighter’s themselves or from their friends and families if certain fighters are deceased.  I’ve gathered funny quotes that never made the papers, and cool insights and details of what happened in certain fights that none of the newspapers even reported.  I dig deep.  I’ve said this many times before.  I never intended on publishing this book.  It was just going to be a hobby thing for me, and when it got completed, it was just going to be printed with my own money and handed out to a few close friends of mine.  That was basically it.  But things changed.  It will never be a New York Times best-seller or anything like that.  It’s a local interest book, to be sure.  I certainly didn’t write it to make money, or I would have done things differently, starting with the focus of the book.  But I do have a list of more than 700 copies to be pre-sold so-to-speak.  But I guess some nice “victories” for me if I have to pin down some, would be that the magazine I write for (Boxing Digest) will give it a nice book review, Barnes & Noble at the Mall of America has expressed an interest in carrying it when completed, and some local T.V. stations have some interest in having me on to talk about it when its done.  So that’s all nice stuff.
 
M…. Has it always been this hard for promoters to work together? Were there big fights that should have happened but didn’t?

 

Jake….  Oh gosh, yes.  It wasn’t a lot different when it came to local promoters back then, than it is today.  Part of that comes down to money, and the other part is pride—both of which are factors built into boxing promoters’ DNA.  That’s not always good for fans, and that’s not always good for the fighters either.  Minneapolis has ALWAYS had a HUGE rivalry with St. Paul—in terms of buildings and architecture, theaters and ballparks…and boxing too.  In every era, except maybe right now; there has always been one premier Minneapolis boxing promoter, and one premier St. Paul boxing promoter.  They were like czars, really.  Rarely did any big fight happen in their city without it happening through them.  Let me be clear about something…I’m not saying there was only one promoter in each city, but I am saying that there was usually only one BIG one in each city.  The second part of your question asks if there were big fights that should have happened but didn’t.  Hell yes!  It still makes me mad that some never occurred.  But you know what?  The unfortunate fact that a lot of big fights never happened were often not the faults of promoters, but the faults of the boxer’s managers.  Either they were too afraid to throw their guy in against another local rival out of fear of losing and taking a setback for their fighter’s career, or else they were greedy.  You need to understand one very important thing here.  Today with the Muhammad Ali Act and similar pieces of legislation, we aren’t supposed to see the managers of fighters also being their promoters.  Yet, in Minnesota we all know that is not what we have.  You don’t want me to go into specifics, and you shouldn’t need me to either.  But back then, managers were not the ones promoting the fights—not usually anyways.  I’ll give you an example.  Why are a lot of “big fights” we could potentially have going, not happening right now?  Well, because the manager of “Boxer A” is also his promoter.  Same story with“Boxer B”—i.e. both managers/promoters want to be the one to promote that fight and make the money.  When talks break down because neither can agree as to just who will promote the fight, the mud-slinging then begins, and now the two sides are sore at each other and that only makes it more difficult to come to the table to talk again.  It’s just how it is today, that’s all.  What big fights did Minnesota miss out on?  A lot.  I won’t go into them all, but certainly we know that Bonsante-Vanda almost fell into that category.  Lucky for us fans, it didn’t.  But one huge one from the 1920’s was when My Sullivan and Jock Malone’s handlers could never quite agree on terms, and the fight along with all the money, fell by the wayside.  On a more recent note, the 1980’s and early 90’s saw a crime that Dan Schommer and Danny Morgan never fought, and in the 90’s we certainly missed out on Johnny Montantes vs. Mike Evgen.  A better question might be “What fights occurred, but occurred too late”?  In other words, what really would have happened if Pat O’Connor and Rafael Rodriguez would have fought 4 or 5 years earlier?  On a national scale, what would have happened if Lennox Lewis would have fought a prime Mike Tyson?  Back to local and recently, what would have happened if Andy Kolle would have fought Anthony Bonsante back when he whipped Matt Vanda, rather than in the last fight of Bonsante’s career?  Those are fun questions to ponder too.  One thing I can tell you withabsolute certainty, is that there has NEVER been a rivalry between the Twin Cities and the Twin Ports.  It’s just not true.  What you see and hear a lot of, especially if you liveup in Duluthlike I know you do, is that the Twin Cities people resent Duluth, and that we always have.  Todd, I can tell you with reasonable certainty that is not true today, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that was never the case historically either, as either the late Don Jasper would have admitted, as would have Duluth’s greatest promoter, the late Sammy Gallop.  What’s being circulated today is manufactured.  Perhaps it helps sell fights, I don’t know.  Those that want to believe it, will. 
 
M…. Looking at today’s boxing picture. I know Minnesota is small on the larger boxing scale, but what in state fights would you like to see most?

 

Jake….  Actually, I would say that “yes” Minnesota does not have the larger scale fights happen here.  How could we?  Look at our income tax rates. Why would Mosley or Pacquaioever want to fight here, where even if we could sell out the building, their earnings would be taxed at such a rate that they wouldn’t be able to keep nearly as much as if they fought in Vegas.  But we are one of the more active states right now as far as volume and frequency of fight cards.  But what fights would I like to see most?  In no particular order: Kolle-Kost (but Kost needs a tune-up or two, and deserves one), Kolle-Truax, Walters-Williams (if this fight doesn’t happen, the fans will never forgive them for it, even long after they are done fighting), Boxley-Allen Litzau, Hilario-Jason Litzau, Rodriguez-Laboda, Abell-Butler; Muwendo-Allen Litzau (yes, you read that correctly.  I like this Muwendokid).  I’d also like to see Dave Peterson make a believer out of me once and for all, but to do that I need to see him fight somebody who has the chance to hurt him.  I wouldn’t midn seeing Antonio Johnson fight him.
 
M…. What MN fighters do you think have the greatest potential to make waves on the national level.

 

Jake….   Obviously Jason Litzau is already there.  I like Andy Kolle, but he needs to talk more and do more interviews—be more accessable.  I’m told by those that haveinterviewed him, that he only does them by email.  His team needs to market him outside of Duluth because he has a lot of potential.  I think Andy Kolle is one of the better southpaws in the land, but provided he makes it past Truax in the Fall, and then hopefully Kost, I would really like to see Andy in a nice fight on ESPN against a guy similar in talent.  In other words, he shouldn’t haveto fight killers like Ward and Paul Williams to be able to get a fight and a payday on ESPN.  He should be matched evenly and allowed to shine.  I like Caleb Truax’s athleticism and counter-punching, but I want to see him be more aggressive out there, and I think that certainly Phil Williams has the right stuff to shine on a national level.  Had Codrington showed up that night when he ended up fighting Echols, Phil just may have killed him.  He looked that good, and everyone that was there noticed the power and speed of his jab.  It had the force of a cross.  Joey Abell is in the right weight class, and definitely has the right skin color to get him televised fights, but I want Joey to see a hypnotist, Anthony Robbins, or whatever it takes to get his full confidence back, and then step up and fight some serious names in the Heavyweight division.  If Wilton Hilario beats Jason Litzau this Fall, then his name jumps to the moon automatically.  It’s a crime that a Light Heavyweight with Zach Walters’ record has not been invited over to Germany to face a European belt holder and get a career payday.  I can put him in touch with the right people overseas to make that happen if he’s interested. 
 
M…. How would you fix boxing’s declining popularity?

 

Jake….  Who can answer this?  Far be it from me, but my thoughts are these:  I would like to see a national boxing commission.  Basketball has the NBA, football has the NFL, and so on.  Boxing is the world’s oldest sport and the only one without a real national body to keep things organized.  This would not only help to get rid of all the ridiculous alphabet titles which hurt the sport by confusing the average fan who the real champion really is, but also bring some needed credibility back to the sport.  Pensions and the like, that many non-profit boxing advocates have long been trying for would become a reality as well.  I would also reduce the weight classes.  I might not go back to just the 8 we used to have, but would I trim down the 17 we currently have.  Then some of the answer starts young.  I would like to see the Police Athletic League (PAL) get more involved with troubled youth like they used to.  Offer kids that would otherwise end up on lengthy probation sentences get a chance to havetheir records cleared for participating in boxing classes via PAL.  Next, the amateur Golden Glove association has to get rid of their insane methods of scoring that they employ, and go back to the old ways that produced great fighters.  Every major sport has an amateur program or minor leagues that are designed to produce pro talent.  Not boxing.  Just the opposite.  The Golden Gloves even states often that they do not try to produce professional boxers.  Do you know how insane that sounds?  Why else has the U.S. fallen off lately in international competition?  We don’t train young boxers on how to really fight anymore.  The scoring sucks, the training and coaching is not what it used to be.  This is why we are the only sport where you hear people say, “That fighter has a very good amateur style to him, but no pro style at all.  He will not do well as a pro.”  Do you hear that in any other sport???  Of course not!  You don’t hear people say, “That kid has great skating speed, a 100 mph slapshot, and good physical size…but…he won’t do very well in the pros.”  No.  Instead, we get excited about that player and draft him with one of the first few picks in the NHL Draft.  Lastly, we need do some public relations withlocal newspapers.  With the exception of a few writers, most major newspapers would rather report on a dart game on 5th & Hennepinthan report on a boxing fight.  That has to stop.  We need to get the local reporters excited about the sport.  Free tickets, dinners, and invites are key.  Get the Press on our side again.  Boxing also needs to more than just that.  We need to get proactive.  Promoters need to ask for permission to have boxers show up for free at parades and state fairs and hit speed bags, do heavybag work, and spar for the passers-by.  This is too loaded of a question for me to answer fully here.
 
M…. Is there anything you would like to add?

 

Jake….  Yes, I enjoy meeting true fight fans, so please come up and introduce yourselves to me when the opportunity arises.  Also, Denny Nelson and I are working to make an official Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame where past great Minnesota fighters can be truly honored for their accomplishments and contributions.  It will be cool and we have solid backers as well.  It’s a few years out though.

Bridge Battle II, Fight Report

 

Fight Report: Bridge Battle II – June 18, 2009

By: Laura Zink

A capacity crowd of 1,000 people packed into Grandma’s Sports Garden last night to see two of their favorite and most accomplished hometown fighters, Andy “Kaos” Kolle and Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters. The Last time Twin Ports fans were able to see Walters and Kolle fight in Duluth was in 2005’s DECC Auditorium show “Truth in Duluth II.” Last night’s battle, dubbed “Bridge Battle II,” provided fans with an intimate and rowdy atmosphere to witness a critical transition in both fighters’ determined quests for world championships – a drop in weight class. After their fights, both fighters felt very confident that they are primed and ready for their respective campaigns.

Minnesota state middleweight champion, Andy “Kaos” Kolle (18 – 2), fought Indianapolis’ Anthony “Showtime” Schuler (20 – 5 – 1) in an 8 round bout. Schuler, coming off a 2nd round KO loss from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. back in

courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved.

courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved.

2007, came into the fight ready to get back in the game after his layoff. And Kolle, coming off of a 3rd round knockout win against Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante last March, came into the fight wanting to test out his new weight class, light middleweight. (While Kolle came in at 155 the original weigh-in, Schuler came to the weigh-in at 167, and after a short trip to the sauna, could only make it down to 163.)

In the fight, Kolle was the first man to land a punch, but Schuler quickly adapted to Kolle’s advance and used his crafty slipping to dodge the next two shots.

“I knew coming in that it was going to take a couple of rounds to figure him out,” Kolle said, “I knew it was going to be a feeling out process, and I would have to be patient. And I knew that since his name was “Showtime,” he was going to be a little bit flashy and slick. And he was. He was hard to hit.”

Schuler’s maneuvering would be his theme for the next couple of rounds. Kolle would advance and Schuler would bob, weave, and work his counters at angles. Yet, in round one, Kolle broke through Schuler’s slick movement and landed a 1,2 combination that wobbled Schuler. Staying true to his ring name, “Showtime” dropped his hands and flicked his head upward with a quick nod to send Kolle the telegraph, “Hey, whatever” to your power, and “bring it on” to whatever else you got. But by the end of the round, Kolle knew that Schuler didn’t like the taste of those punches.

“I hit him with a shot and I could see it in his eyes that he didn’t like it,” Kolle said. “Eyes don’t lie. No matter what they are trying to do, eyes don’t lie. He was hurt, but he was still strong, so I didn’t want to rush in. I decided to land some body shots for awhile.”

Round two held a lot more by way of punches, both men trading shots, Kolle trying to work his way in with jabs to kick off his body shot campaign. Schuler answered Kolle’s shots with right hand leads and body shots, all thrown at strange and crafty angles, Schuler often skirting to the left and starting his counter attack when Kolle was in profile. But Schuler did not just attack from the side. In mid-round, he also landed a body shot right to the guts, which, to the crowd, perhaps looked a wee bit low, due to the chorus of boos which followed. It was clear that the crowd was very attentive to any onslaughts on their champion, but Kolle, himself a clinical showman in his own right, found his opening toward the end of the round and got Schuler on the ropes, landing some bruising shots which shifted the chorus of boos to cheers.

In round three, Schuler proved even more slippery and almost mathematical, countering and fighting from irregular planes. Schuler caught Kolle from profile early in the round and landed a short series of head shots, which riled the crowd and caused Kolle, in a clever but somewhat uncharacteristic move, to flash his tongue at Shuler. He wanted Schuler and the crowd to know that the advance did not hurt him.

“He wasn’t hitting me a lot of times as much as the crowd thought he was,” Kolle said. “I blocked a lot of those shots but the crowd behind me didn’t see it. The crowd on the other side didn’t ‘ooo’ and ‘aahh,’ but the crowd behind me did because they saw me go back because he smacked me in the gloves. Other than that, it was just average power…but he was slippery.”

In round 4, the curtain dropped on “Showtime.” It all began about one minute into the round when Kolle landed some head shots. Schuler, who up to this point had more energy to slip and counter, began to move less. Kolle, more than ready to capitalize off of Schuler’s exhaustion, charged, pressuring Schuler back into his corner and landing a right hook opener with a left hand finisher. Schuler fell back on his rear, his gloves grazing the canvas in a futile attempt to regain enough leverage to stand up. Schuler stayed on the canvas and the ref waved his arms over Schuler, making the winner Andy “Kaos” Kolle by knock out 2 minutes and 5 seconds into the 4th round.

“He cocked off to me a little bit just like Bonsante,” Kolle commented after the bout. “He was a little bit flashy the whole time with keeping his hands down, and it kind of got under my skin a little bit. I don’t like that stuff. I especially don’t like being cocked off in front of my home town. I guess I’m glad that he did it because it got the crowd really revved up because they like to see someone like that get hurt. They always like to see a cocky person get knocked out. He was a nice guy, but that was his style. He isn’t a cocky person. But I caught him with that right hook and, then I saw him stall a little bit. I thought, ‘All right, your head’s not moving anymore,’ and I wanted to land that left hand and put him to sleep…and that is what happened.”

Shuler is also noted for fighting Luis Ramon Campus back in 2004. Interestingly, also on his roster are 2 victories against his cornerman for the fight, Indianapolis’ Reggie Strickland (66-276-17). He also won a first round TKO of Strickland’s brother, Jerry Strickland (13-122) in his pro debut in 2000, a win which retired Jesse Strickland from the pro game. Looking back on the bout, Kolle was pleased about the opportunity to fight someone like Schuler for his light middleweight debut.

“I thought it was a good debut,” Kolle said. “He had a solid record. He was no joke. He came in to fight. He showed me a new look that I never saw before. Since he came in heavy, I think that the other guys that I am going to be fighting at 154 pounds will not be that big, so I figure that my size advantage will really pull me through a lot of it. This is where I need to be so I can compete at that next level.”

 

In the other professional bout of the evening, Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters (23 – 4) matched up against Lafayette Indiana’s “Jammin” James Morrow (11 – 12 – 3). Morrow also came into the bout rather heavy, weighing 178, where Walters hit his contracted weight. Walters was still game to take on the bigger fighter.

“I see this fight as my super middleweight debut even though my opponent was overweight,” Walters said after the

courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved

bout, “The debut started in camp when I started cutting and shredding my weight down. This whole camp was geared towards a super middleweight debut. I was told earlier this week that my opponent would come in a bit heavier. I didn’t care. I just wanted to bring my weight down. I brought it down as far as I felt I needed to just to feel the difference, and it was great. But my opponent came in a lot heavier. That tipped the cards a bit in his favor because of his size and his game plan: the big punch.”

It was clear from the first round that Walters’ assessment was right. Morrow began the round with a body shot starter, trying to get Walters to bring his hands down.

“I saw with Morrow that he was banking his money on power. That was why he didn’t come down in weight. He wanted to set me up with a punch, a real big punch. He wanted to try to finish me off with one shot. So I came at him with combinations. I knew that I could time him right and catch him.”

Walters began working his jab, but he did not use it only to keep Morrow off. Walters sent out that jab with bad intentions, snapping Morrow’s head back and wobbling him by the middle of the round. Walters continued on with the jab, sending it out each time with equal force and setting Morrow up for a deadly combination. With 10 seconds to go, Walters landed a straight jab, right hand and overhand right, which sent Morrow to the canvas.

“I call that one the 218er. I dropped him with 10 seconds to go. I was so happy with that,” Walters said after the bout. “Andy and I have been 218ers since we started boxing, and for a lot of time, 218 didn’t get much respect. But now, 218 is on the map!”

In round 2, Morrow tried out his jab, which Walters answered with fierce hooks to Morrow’s body.

“Every time I would hit him to the body he would gasp out loud. ‘Uuuuugh!’ like that,” Walters said, “He would gasp out loud. So I would duck down, and he would bring his arms down to block the body. It worked great.”

With Morrow’s arms down, Walters moved in with what he dubs “the Jungle Combination.” Showing his quickness as a middleweight, Walters landed this combination twice consecutively, causing Morrow to deflate and sink to the canvas. After his second 8 count, Morrow looked weary, and he continued on until Walters got him up against the ropes again. After landing a few shots, the ref didn’t want to see any more and jumped in between the fighters, calling the bout at 1 minute and 46 seconds into the second round. Walters was victorious with a 2nd round TKO.

“The ref is there to make sure that the fighters do not get hurt beyond what is reasonable,” Walters commented, “but I wish I could have finished him off.”

Morrow did return to the ring after the fight. During intermission, Morrow asked one ringside reporter where the ring doctor was. He had a question for him. After having Jeff Davis pointed out to him, Morrow confronted him, asking: “Have any of you seen my tooth around here?” No confirmation as to whether the tooth was located before Morrow left that night.

But for the victor of the match, the bout solidified the wisdom of his decision to campaign at super middle.

“Coming down in weight, I’ve lost a little muscle in my legs, but I’ve put on a lot of upper body strength,” Walters said after the bout, “I have a lot more pop. My punches are harder and faster and more accurate. I feel dangerous at 168.”

This victory is the start of Walters’ journey down this new road, a road which may be paved with battles against fighters from both ends of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis’ Phil “The Drill” Williams and maybe even St. Paul’s Matt “The Predator” Vanda.

“Yeah, Matt can get some whenever he wants some.” Walters said. “Phil, he’s gonna get some when the time is right. And his time is coming real close here,” Walters said. “Matt Vanda is a veteran in the state. He has held pro boxing down for years. He was pro when I was an amateur. He’s a high time player in the game in Minnesota. And Phil, he came up and he’s been talking trash. He’s got some good game, but I don’t think he’s up to snuff when it comes to taking on me. But he wants this, so we’re gonna give it to him.”

 

Preceding the main pro bouts, were pro exhibitions. Dubbed as “Professional Development fights,” these two 4 round bouts included head gear, but excluded professional judges. For these fights, the winner would be determined by fan applause.

Fergus Falls’ Tyler Hultin (1-0) had his exhibition with Rochester’s Scott Ball (9 – 6). For Hultin, the opportunity to have an exhibition fight with Ball was an opportunity for him to settle scores from the past. Even though this bout was an exhibition, Hultin viewed the bout as a grudge match.

“The grudge actually started when I turned 17,” Hultin explained after the bout, “I was fresh out of silver gloves and trying to make a statement for myself. I had just had my 17th birthday and I was going to make my first Golden Gloves fight against a 27 year old. His name was Jeremy Kirshner, and he was out of the Cities. They kept telling me about how he has this power, how I had to be careful. I went in there and did what I knew and I actually stopped him in the first round. And Scott was there, and he was like, ‘All right. This little punk thinks he can handle the Golden Gloves. Let’s set up a fight.’”

“I had seen him [Ball] at the Upper Midwest when I was following Zach and Andy…and he was a great fighter. But I thought, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ So we set up an exhibition 2 or 3 weeks after that. The first three rounds were excellent, but Scott took it over in the fourth round. I didn’t have the experience fighting four rounds, so he taunted me a lot. He’d throw a couple of body shots and keep his arms down and kinda smile at me. I knew that I lost the fight, but he knew that I was in it to fight. I vowed that we would meet again, and that I would be ready for it this time.”

The exhibition was definitely an entertaining showcase for both fighters. The bout picked up steam in round 1 when Hutlin tagged Ball as they were being separated from a clinch. In the following rounds, Hultin matched his power against Ball’s crafty maneuvering. Ball showed craftiness in round 2 by countering Hultin’s 1,2 combinations by tossing in straight shots and hooks in after Hultin’s jab, halting Hultin’s deadly right hand. Hultin led the advance into round 3, showing Ball that he is tough enough to bull through Ball’s crafty countering, that he was willing to take shots if he had to in order to land shots of his own. In round 4, Ball used more angles to both get away from Hultin’s power and to set up deliveries. By the end of the round, Ball landed a very crafty hook after spinning out of Hultin’s range. And Hultin, though did not use as many counters and angles, proved to fans that he is a strong fighter, a hard puncher, and completely durable from head to toe. Both fighters gave a great showing, but the crowd’s vote, by deafening landslide, was Tyler Hultin.

 

Before that, Jorey Olson (pro with a cancelled debut against Anthony Wallace last month) had an exhibition with Dave “The Prodigy” Peterson (10-0). This exhibition was also a test of crafty angles vs power. In round I, Olson began the bout by moving in after Peterson with Peterson keeping Olson away with slips, angles, and crafty footwork. In round 2, Peterson added more jabs to those angles trying to lead Olson in. It worked. Later in the round, Olson began to put on the pressure, getting Peterson onto the ropes and lands some body shots. Round 3 had pretty even exchanges, both fighters using interesting angles on the inside as they tried to shove and reposition each other to set up a target for a shot. And in round 4, both fighters were landing more to the head, and both fighters were sending out jabs that landed mutually throughout the round. With 10 seconds left, the punches flew from all sides, both men trading shots until the final bell. The crowd cheered heartily for both fighters, but the cheers for Olson clearly reached a higher pitch, making Olson the crowd favorite for the evening.

“He’s got the best angles,” Olson said as he exited the ring, “That was fun!”

Wow!!! Matt “The Predator” Vanda signed to fight Phil “The Drill” Williams.

Other breaking news: MSC has informed me that they have Matt Vanda signed to fight Phil Williams September 26 at the Target Center.Both of these men have spent time calling out Zach “Jungleboy” Walters, now they face each other. Winner gets Zach? I don’t know. But this is a very exciting announcement.

 

Just my thoughts, but if I were Phil, I would rather fight Vanda then Walters as well. Vanda’s best weight was at 147 and the signed fight weight will be at 165. Vanda’s losses to; Anthony Bonsante, Andy Kolle, and Kenny Kost were at a little under 160 and most people thought that was just too heavy for Vanda. All this being said, you have to credit Vanda for wanting to take on some of Minnesota’s best.