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Boxing: Pugnacious program has become a summer fixture

Thursday, July 29, 2010
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'Night of Future Champions'

WHERE: Saratoga Springs City Center, Broadway, Saratoga Springs

WHEN: Friday night, doors open at 6 p.m., first fight at 7 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $125 - $40

MORE INFO: www.pugnaciouspromotions.com

Remember when they called Saratoga “The August place to be?”

For Lisa Elovich, it’s the only place to be.

For the sixth straight year, Elovich’s Pugnacious Promotions will be holding its annual “Night of Future Champions” fight card at the Saratoga Springs City Center, and this time, she’s pulling out all the stops.

In addition to one of the best cards Elovich has ever put together, the Friday night event will include models displaying swimwear and casual attire suitable for Saratoga Race Course; recently retired heavyweight Shannon Miller of Troy will be honored at intermission; and a fundraiser for Peaceful Acres Horses Inc. also will be included.

“This is our sixth year in a row at the City Center,” said Elovich. “We love Saratoga because we’ve come to realize that horse racing fans and boxing fans go hand-in-hand. There’s a lot of crossover. People who like the excitement of horse racing like the excitement of boxing because it has the same adrenalin rush.”

Elovich’s original “Night of Champions” in Saratoga Springs was held under a tent at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, but the venue proved to be too small.

“We had to turn away about 400 people that night,” said Elovich. “That’s why we went to City Center. It holds about 2,000 people.”

And Elovich should have no trouble filling the seats.

“This is the most depth of any card we’ve ever had,” she said. “We’ve got a total of nine fights. Three are amateur fights, but these are top-notch amateurs. and the six pro bouts all have a local flavor, with the exception of the girls.”

But even the fight between world-ranked featherweight Maureen Shea (14-2, eight knockouts) and veteran Liliana Martinez (8-10) has an intriguing twist.

Shea, 29, first gained notoriety as Hillary Swank’s sparring partner as Swank prepared for her Oscar-winning role in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby.” Swank not only trained and sparred regularly with Shea, but also attended the Bronx native’s amateur fights in the New York area.

The main event will have Guilderland’s Mike Faragon (11-0, five KOs) against Eddie Soto (12-1, 4 KOs) of Rhode Island, in what will undoubtedly be Faragon’s toughest fight to date.

“Mike’s taking a big step up,” said Elovich. “All his fights have been against tough guys, but Soto isn’t his typical opponent.”

The amateur fights will feature super heavyweight Josh Dulmer of Greenwich, who will be fighting as an amateur for the last time before turning pro; highly rated prospect Amir Iman of Albany, who is coming off a gold-medal performance in the Empire State Games; and 11-year-old Mike Barcia of Saratoga Springs, whom Elovich describes as “the toughest 11-year-old you’ll ever see.”

A raffle and silent auction will benefit Peaceful Acres Horses Inc., a farm located in Schenectady County that provides a safe haven for abused horses, as well as a shelter for battered women and at-risk youths with learning disabilities.

“Every year, we work with a different charity,” said Elovich. “I visited the farm last Saturday with my kids, and I was taken back by the peacefulness and the great work they’re doing there. The people and the horses help heal each other.”

Doors for the “Night of Future Champions” open at 6 p.m,, with the first amateur fight to begin at 7. Ticket prices range from $125 for ringside seats to $40 for general admission.

The card Bouts subject to change:

-- Mike Barcia, Saratoga Springs (2-1), vs. Riley Mabee, Waterford (3-4).

-- Amir Iman, Albany (62-9), vs. Ray Velez, Troy (36-15).

-- Josh Dulmer, Greenwich (12-2), vs. Owen Minor, Worcester, Mass. (7-2).

-- Joe Yerdon, Berlin (0-1-1), vs. Steven Williams, Raleigh, N.C. (pro debut).

-- Eric Davidson, Coram (pro debut), vs. Felix Rangel, Niagara Falls (pro debut).

-- Zach Smith, Delmar (3-1), vs. Ryan Batts, Niagara Falls (pro debut).

-- Shawn Miller, Troy (2-1), vs. Chris Dammones, Portsmouth, Va. (1-1).

-- Maureen Shea, Bronx (14-2), vs. Liliana Martinez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (8-10).

-- Mike Faragon, Guilderland (11-0), vs. Eddie Soto, Pawtucket, R.I. (12-1).

 
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