Among Minnesota’s boxing fans, those that don’t just follow hometown heros, and those who look deeper than what a promoter or promotion tells them, have had mixed feelings about Minnesota’s new ranking system and processes for becoming a state champ. Ever since the “State Champ” came back into play with Zach Walters winning and defending his state title one time over 5 years, while several quality and most think favored fighters were avoided. The only state title given any credit had been at middle weight. The middles seemed to understand sport/sportsmanship in their competition, giving each worthy foe an opportunity to challenge to see who REALY is the best at a given weight. Vanda, Bonsante, Kolle, Truax, all fought each other. Some a few times…
Mr. Walters decided abusing the belt system would be great to start up his new promotion by creating and naming his own title challengers, causing the Minnesota Boxing Commission to step in and try to set up a system of rankings and rules for winning and defending state titles. This should be and probably will be a good thing for local boxing and helping promotions to challenge their fighters and make for better fights for the fans and for the growth of what for many years has been known as a farm league for guys on the rise elsewhere…
The problem, not all weight classes have active boxers. Walters and Sands took full advantage of the rules and bought themselves a belt! (winning it by beating a guy who had not boxed since 2010 and is now (2,2)…) Nothing new here, those in Minnesota have seen this act come out of Duluth for 10 years… If it works, don’t break it! Unless of course you’d like to compete on a national level against worthy opponents. Duluth, MN will probably be at Jungle Boys feet no-matter the facts, but it hurts those trying to go about boxing in a sporting fashion… Do we want to promote bullying? Does Duluth want to be the new home of pro wrestling? There has been a good reason Minnesota on the whole has distanced themselves from Duluth fighters and “belts without meaning.” Okay, Okay, rant finished. But statements that Al Sands and Jungle Boy Walters have made about taking on the best and cleaning out the state are a farce unless of course you live in Duluth MN….
This brings us to a real title State title fight…
On the undercard of “Golden” Caleb Truax (21,1,1) vs Don “Da Bomb” George (24,3,2) June 21… Seconds Out Promotions and Warriors Boxing is bringing a stellar undercard featuring what we feel is a legit Minnesota State boxing championship… Tony Lee (7,1) vs Jeremy McLaurin (10,5) for MN 135 pound strap… This is the sort of fight I am sure Minnesota’s commission and rankers had in mind when setting things up. Both Lee and McLaurin have been in tough, with McLaurin getting a wide UD over Duluth’s Gary Eyer.. Along with that, both Lee and McLaurin have fought and impressively defeated Joel Flores and went one and one with Hector Orozco…
I think Minnesota’s top promoters will do their best to handle the states belt system with respect and most things will come out in the wash. The beauty of boxing, if you step up, you will find out where you truly stand… No matter how much protection received from promotion and managers…
Below is Minnesota’s official rankings for May, beside is how we see it… (ours do not follow same guidelines… main difference, is since we don’t have the amount of boxers as many boxing mecca’s, we use those who have fought in a weight.)
First the League’s P4P list…. 1. Caleb Truax (21,1,1) Middle 2. Cerresso Fort (16,1,1) Middle 3. Jason Litzau (29,3) lightweight 4. Andy Kolle (25,4) middle 5. Ismail Muwendo (13,0) Super Featherweight.
Minnesota’s official rankings in bold below.
Heavyweight 201 plus
1. Joey Abell 2. Rafael Butler 3. Aaron Green 4. Ray Edwards 5. Serhiy Karpenko
We wouldn’t have any changes in the top 5 here. Both Abell and Karpenko are believed to be fighting in separate bouts June 21….
State Champ. Al Sands.
1. Tyrone Gibson 2. Harley Kilfain 3. Lucas St. Clair 4. Joe Lorenzi
5. John Moxey
We would have Phil Williams, Gibson, Lorenzi one,two and three. Harley has been on a pretty long losing streak. St. Clair hadnt fought since 2010 just being easily beaten by Sands…
1. Phil Williams 2. Harley Kilfian 3. Tim Taggart 4. Lexie Keshick 5. Jerome LaBarge
We agree with this, like cruiser, just not any title worthy fights… Phil Williams could easily be champ at both light-heavy and cruiser if he desired.
Super Middleweight 161-169
1. Caleb Truax 2. Phil Williams 3. Cerresso Fort 4. Bobby Kliewer 5. Jon Schmidt
Again, pretty much agree, but Kolle has fought there in the last two years and would rank above Kliewer and Schmidt in our opinion…
State Champ. Caleb Truax
1. Cerresso Fort 2. Andy Kolle 3. Charles Meier 4. Michael Faulk 5. Jon Schmidt
Agree for the most part with list… Rob Brant and Tyler Hultin could be in consideration…. Meier fights Hultin June 21 and could shake things up if they don’t hit 154. (We fully expect Meier/Hultin to be at light-middle 154)
Jr Middleweight 148-154
1. Andy Kolle 2. Cerresso Fort 3. Dave Peterson 4. Antonio Johnson 5. Jamal James
Understand the ranking given Fort/Kolle was fought at 155, but I think 1 and 2 could be swapped…
1. Jamal James 2. Mohammed Kayongo 3. Hector Orozco 4. R.J. Laase 5. Javontae Starks
To those wondering about Orozco being ranked ahead of Laase… They fought twice, the first fight was at welter, with Orozco winning close SD… When Laase won by UD to avenge loss they fought at Junior Welter… I think 3 through 5 are interchangeable at this time.
Jr. Welterweight 136-140
1. R.J. Laase 2. Tony Lee 3. Hector Orozco 4. Winston Anderson 5. Mike Davis
We agree with the rankings here. Lee beat Orozco at this weight but lost to him at Welter.
1. Jason Litzau 2. Ismail Muwendo 3. Tony Lee 4. Jeremy McLaurin 5. Gary Eyer
Again, hard to argue with these rankings, but Lee or McLaurin will be champ after June 21. Over the last couple years talks of McLaurin/Muwendo, Litzau/Muwendo have come up without fights happening…
Jr lightweight 127 – 130
1. Jason Litzau 2. Wilton Hilario 3. Ismail Muwendo 4. Jeremy McLaurin 5. Brad Patraw
Again, pretty set in stone list. Just like lightweight, lots of interesting fights here.
Featherweight 123 – 126
1. Jeremy McLaurin 2. Gary Eyer 3. Hassan Wasswa 4. Jonathan Perez
5. Nate Seelye
Another tough weight to judge and really not ready for title.. Not sure if some of these guys will see this weight again.
Jr. Featherweight 119-122
State Champ. Vicente Alfaro
1. Antwan Robertson 2. Brad Patraw 3. Jake Backus 4. Brad Herroff
There are two more weight classes that serve as a mix of above fighters.
One thing to look forward to is that under Minnesota boxing’s new rules “champs” will have to defend their titles or prove there was not an opportunity to do so. ( may be easier said than done)…. Like we have said from the beginning we do believe the negatives will shake out and there will be weak divisions. It’s our hope that the Minnesota boxing commission may learn from the Al Sands vs St Clair fight, that just because they have 5 guys, does not mean a title is warranted. It’s too late now, but the bright side is that Walters and Sands may end their fear of an actual fight and try and avenge the brutal beating Gibson put on Al Sands before he went on the give-me tour. Phil Williams, TJ Gibson, Joe Lorenzi could all make for nice fights and help undo some of the damage Promoter/Manager Walters has done to MN boxing.