Ross is too good for a title shot

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:50 PM ET

Troy Ross really wants the chance to don the Canadian cruiserweight belt. But now he’s going to be fitted for a straight jacket.

The man is flummoxed, baffled, confused ... you name it.

“I can’t believe what’s going on,” said Ross, normally one of the steadiest guys in boxing. “It’s very, very weird and I’m very angry.”

Who can blame him?

A media conference was held at one of those fancy feed bags owned by Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment on Monday to announce a limited Feb. 4 boxing card at the Molson Centre in Barrie.

One of the fights on the show, dubbed Super Brawl, was supposed to be Ross against Ryan Henney for the Canadian professional cruiserweight title. But, according to Ross and the promoters, Ontario athletics commissioner Ken Hayashi put the kibosh on that bout.

It seems that, in Hayashi’s eyes, Ross is too good for Henney.

“He feels Henney would be overmatched,” Ross said.

But here’s the strange part. Henney is the champion. Ross is the challenger. Henney has the title, having defeated Frank White for the belt back on Feb.13. Yet, the way the Ontario commission sees it, the champion is not good enough to defend his title.

Even in the bizarro world of the Ontario athletics commission, that’s a strange one.

Hayashi is on vacation and was not available for comment. A call to an associate at the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services wasn’t returned.

“I’m a Canadian citizen,” Ross said. “I fought for Canada at two Olympics. But now I’m being denied the chance to fight for my national title. It doesn’t make any sense.”

And it’s not like Henney is a stiff. The Canadian champion has an impressive 16-3 record with nine knockouts and has won his past five fights, including the title over White. His nickname is “The Hitman.”

They don’t give nicknames like that to wimps.

“I don’t blame Ryan Henney,” said Ross, who fought Philadelphia’s Steve Cunningham for the IBF world title in June. “He has agreed to fight me. It’s Hayashi, always throwing curve balls.”

The promoter of the Feb. 4 show, Rick Smiciklas, the owner of the Wild Wing restaurant chain, actually had praise for Hayashi on Monday, pointing out that the commish has been very helpful in putting together the card, which will feature Canadian heavyweight champion Neven Pajkic in the main event.

But for years, boxing promoters, fighters and trainers have complained loud and long about Hayashi making their lives a living hell with too many regulations and unreasonable demands.

What has Ross especially confused is Hayashi’s apparent willingness to allow him to fight Nigerian boxer Akinyemi Laleye on the Feb. 4 card, even though Ross defeated Laleye last year on The Contender series. Laleye’s record, 12-3, 6 KOs, isn’t as impressive as Henney’s while Laleye has lost his past two fights and hasn’t fought since last March.

Ross’ manager Mike Simon is still hoping that Hayashi eventually agrees to let Henney defend his title against Ross. Ross, though, isn’t the only fighter heading into the Feb. 4 card without an opponent ... so far.

The main event fighter, Pajkic, was hoping to finally face Tyson Fury, but the British giant, who fought on the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins card on Saturday, is not prepared to fight Pajkic at this point in time, though he has challenged Pajkic in the past.

To say the least, Pajkic, 15-0, 5 KOs, and Fury, 13-0, 9 KOs, are not on each other’s Christmas card list.

“The guy’s a pancake,” said Pajkic of Fury. “If he ever gets the balls to fight me, I will put my purse on the line ... the winner takes all.

“I saw his fight against Zack Page (on Saturday),” Pajkic continued. “It was so boring, I had to play games on my I phone. I never bad mouth opponents, but I would fight him in a parking lot, in a cage, a ring, anywhere.”


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