Fields' dream

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

When giant heavyweight Tye (Big Sky) Fields makes his Edmonton debut June 20 at the River Cree Resort & Casino, another super-sized slugger will be checking him out at ringside.

Gerry Cooney, the hammer-fisted New Yorker who was the world's No. 1-ranked contender when he pocketed $10 million for a title fight with Larry Holmes in 1982, will be a special guest at the Rumble at River Cree card headlined by the six-foot-eight, 270 pound Fields facing Ohio's Nicolai Firtha in a 12-rounder for the World Boxing Association's vacant Native American championship.

"I'm excited about this fight for a lot of reasons," said the 34-year-old Fields, whose 41-2 record includes 37 KOs. "It's my first fight since my family and me moved to Edmonton and my first fight under my own promotional company. It's also the first step towards my goal of bringing a world championship bout to Edmonton."

Cooney has a well-founded reputation as a fan favourite and has a long association with two-time Canadian heavyweight champ Ken Lakusta, who's training Fields.

"For our inaugural promotion we want to show everyone how we're going to present professional boxing at the highest level ever seen here," said Jennifer Bell-Fields, the fighter's wife and president of Big Sky Promotions.

Fields, who is part Native American, hails from Missoula, Montana. He lived in and fought out of Las Vegas for the past seven years until relocating to Edmonton in March.

A southpaw with devastating KO power in both fists, his victims include ex-WBA world champion Bruce Seldon (KO 2) and former Top 10 contenders Roderick Willis (KO 1) and Saul Montana (KO 3). In 2004, Fields won a tough 12-round decision over Sherman Williams to claim the USBA heavyweight crown.

Fields represents a big step up in competition for the 30-year old Firtha, who's no shrinking violet at six-foot-five and 250 pounds. He reeled off seven straight wins to improve to 16-4-1 (7 KOs) before dropping a decision to unbeaten Canadian Neven Pajkic (9-0) last month in Toronto.

"Firtha will be a good test for Tye because it's his first fight in almost a full year," said Lakusta, who's been working daily with Fields since his arrival. "What's impressed me the most about him is that he's such a great natural athlete. When you watch him move in the ring, it's easy to forget just how big he is.

"The other thing I really like about him is that he's got the brains to go with his talent; he listens, and he's a very quick learner. He has the size, the style and the punch to give any heavyweight in the world fits; that's why he was the last guy to spar with Lennox Lewis before Lewis beat (Vitali) Klitschko.

"Lewis is no dummy. He wanted a guy who would give him the same look and power as Klitschko, so he picked Tye. And don't forget, he's a southpaw, too. That's gold."

The undercard for Rumble at River Cree will feature WBA FedeCaribe junior middleweight champ Kris Andrews of Edmonton against an as-yet-unsigned opponent, as well as the much-anticipated middleweight rematch between Edmonton rivals Trevor Moyah and Anthony Lessard.

In other bouts, Las Vegas heavyweight Cisse Salif (23-14, 21 KOs) will fight an eight-rounder, and undefeated super lightweight prospect Stan Martyniouk and unbeaten welterweight Gabriel Del Rio, both of California, will be showcased.

Further details will be announced at a media conference tomorrow afternoon at the River Cree.


Videos

Photos