By Jesse Kelley
RJ Laase 146 vs. Benito Tovar 146.2
Al Sands 199 vs. Damon reed 195.2
Ryan Watson 199.6 vs. Tommy Ray 199.8
Joe Amouta 167.4 vs. Adam Willis ??
Markus Morris 146.2 vs. Wayne Martell 147.6
Winston Anderson 134.2 vs. Aaron Ely 134.8
Patrick Cape 139.6 vs. Homar Rios 136
Gavino Guaman 130 vs. Philip Adyaka 129.4
Venue: Black Bear Casino, Carlton, MN
Promoter: Jim Loons Promotions
Professional boxing is set for this Saturday night at the Black Bear Casino in Carlton, MN. The eight bout fight card features the comeback of Duluth, Minnesota super lightweight RJ “T-Rex” Laase (12-2, 8 KO’s) as he faces Wisconsin State super welterweight champion Benito Tovar (7-2-4, 5 KO’s) in the eight round main event. “The Haitian Temptation” Al Sands (16-2, 14 KO’s) of Duluth, Minnesota will clash with veteran “Dangerous” Damon Reed (48-18, 32 KO’s) of Topeka, Kansas in the co-featured cruiserweight bout which is also scheduled for eight rounds.
“I’m excited to be back. It’s been a long road to get to this point,” said Laase, who’s time in college has left him out of boxing for nearly two years. ” I’m very fortunate to be able to finally make my return to the ring so close to home. I haven’t fought this close to home since 2012 at The Wessman (Superior, WI). This fight has a lot of meaning to me. I’m matched up with a rugged, quality fighter who is coming to win. I expect to see the best out of him as well as showcasing the best of myself. I’ve been in a continuous training regime for five months now so I’m confident in my conditioning and experience to prevail to victory on Saturday. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of making this happen. Todd Bechthold, Jim Loons, Cory Rapacz, Aaron Resburg, and my stablemates for putting the time in the gym to prepare for this fight. I look forward to hearing my hometown crowd once again!”
Former NABA cruiserweight champion Al Sands is undefeated at Black Bear, winning all eight of his bouts inside the Casino’s Otter Creek Event Center. Sands says that he is focused on getting win number 9 at Black Bear and will be at his best when he meets his experienced opponent Reed.
“I have put in a lot of hard work for this fight and have done my absolute best to remove distractions throughout camp. I’m fighting a dangerous and well experienced veteran of the sport and I know I’ll need to be at my best.”
The 44 year old Reed’s career began back in 1995 and he has faced many top level fighters along the way including former multi-division champion James Toney as well as former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.
“I have had a really good camp and am coming to win,” said Reed. ” I am out to prove age only matters if your cheese. I definitely have situations that older fighters have. Sore elbows, sore knees. I just have to be smarter than him in the ring.”
Markus “Hooch” Morris (8-2, 4 KO’s) of Duluth, MN and Minot, North Dakota’s Wayne Martell (25-5-1, 15 KO’s) face off in an interesting super lightweight clash. Morris enters the fight on a two fight win streak that most recently saw him defeat Wisconsin’s Mike Fowler (5-2) in Hinckley, MN last April. 41 year old Wayne Martell is well known throughout the Midwest, having boxed all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.
Ryan Watson (2-0, 2 KO’s) of Duluth, MN and Fargo, North Dakota’s Tommy Ray (3-1, 2 KO’s) will box in a six round cruiserweight bout. The two men have met once in the past as amateurs with Watson getting the victory in that bout. Watson is a former Golden Gloves standout while Ray brings a lot of athleticism to the boxing ring being a former college football player at North Dakota State University.
“Training camp has been very smooth,” said Watson. ” For my last fight, I was trying to decide if I was going to drop down to light heavyweight or stay and campaign at cruiserweight. I’ve decided to stay at cruiserweight and I feel real strong and healthy. I fought Tommy Ray at the 2014 Upper Midwest Golden glove tournament and won. After my last fight he called me out and wanted this fight in the pros which was not the smartest move on his part. This win from him will look good on my record.”
“Training camp went just as planned, said Ray when asked to discuss preparation for Watson. ” We worked on my endurance, speed, and power. I was able to see a lot of different sparring partners (Jake, Matt, Joe, Lorenzo, Chris, Shawn). I would like to thank them for giving me their time and support. I feel more ready for this fight then all of the other fights I have been a part of thanks to Coach Jesse Barbot. Now it is time to perform and get the win that I worked so hard for. Ryan Watson is a very strong fighter and I know I need to bring my best to beat him. I have a lot of respect for Watson and he is very talented fighter. I wish him safety and good health throughout the fight. But I will be bring it hard for that win. I expect to win and I want to put on a good show for all of the boxing fans in Minnesota. I was raised most of my life in North Minneapolis, where I attended High school (Polar Pride) so I’ve got love for Minnesota.”
Exciting Minneapolis, MN super middleweight Talatonu “Joe” Amouta (5-1, 2 KO’s) will face undefeated Adam Willis (1-0) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a four round bout. Amouta defeated George Carter Jr. (13-2-1, 7 KO’s) last April in Hinckley, MN and is attempting to pick up his sixth win in a row against Willis. ”I am excited for the opportunity,” said Amouta. ” I’m looking forward to doing what I am passionate for and continue this journey as a boxer. God has blessed me with my coaches and good friends that are supporting me in my career. I am more than beyond blessed”.
Two late additions to the card were announced earlier this week. Moorhead, Minnesota’s Jose Homar Rios (0-2) stepped in to face Little Canada, Minnesota’s Patrick Cape in a four round super lightweight bout after Duluth’s Trevor Marmon fell off the card. Also, lightweights Philip Adyaka (5-6, 3 KO’s) of Saint Paul, Minnesota and Gavino Guaman (2-0) of River Falls, Wisconsin were added in a four round bout.
Local favorite Winston Anderson (4-2, 4 KO’s) of nearby Cloquet, Minnesota is sure to have a large crowd behind him when he meets Aaron Ely (0-1) of Leavenworth, Kansas. The two will meet in a four round lightweight bout.
First time promoter Jim Loons of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe will be presenting Saturday night’s action. Doors open at 6pm with the first bout scheduled for 7pm. General admission tickets are $20 at the door.