One happy new year

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

It's been a big week for Edmonton middleweight Adam Trupish.

First, the two-time Olympian who trains out of the Beverly Bronx Gym learned he'll be part of the festivities when the Olympic torch relay hits town Jan. 13, en route to the 2010 Winter Games.

Even better was the news he'll sandwich that event between fights on Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 at The Palace banquet facility.

With two quick wins under his belt since turning pro in October, Trupish will square off with Halifax veteran Juan Sanchez (3-4-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder on the Jan. 8 card, headlined by the return of Edmonton cruiserweight James Cermak (14-2, 10 KOs) against an as yet unsigned opponent.

The show will launch an ambitious schedule of three cards in 10 weeks by promoters John Mendonca and Sheldon Hinton, with the ultimate objective of positioning Trupish, Cermak, super featherweight Omar (The Mexicutioner) Valdez and unbeaten super middleweight Jason De Laronde (10-0) into Canadian title contention by the end of February.

Mendonca has already signed Cermak and Vancouver's Kevin Reynolds to top the Feb. 27 card with a 10-round showdown for the World Boxing Council's vacant intercontinental championship, and expects to have as many as four other title bouts supporting what has the makings of one of the best brawls of the year.

"Some of these guys weren't too happy when they read in the Sun recently that they were getting lazy and falling out of contention ... but that was the honest truth," said Mendonca, who doubles as a trainer. "That (column) really lit a fire under them, and now they're training like demons. If you don't believe that, just drive along the Avenue of Champions (118th Avenue) any morning between 6 and 7 a.m. and you'll see them sweating through their roadwork."

Trupish is particularly pleased with the accelerated schedule.

"John's pretty much been merciless ... but if it means getting more fights sooner, it's all good," he said. "I can't go light on the roadwork because he literally is driving right behind me. But I'm cookin', man ... down to seven-minute miles. In this cold, that's pretty good."

Still recovering from bruised ribs sustained in his four-round decision over tough light heavyweight James Dearmin on Oct. 30, Trupish said he expects to resume heavy sparring as early as next week. An added incentive is that his girlfriend, crowd-pleasing Cougar Boxing Club star Vanessa Bradford (40-18), will make her pro debut at 132 pounds on the Jan. 8 card.

"I'm real excited about that," said Trupish. "Vanessa has been training real hard and I know how much this means to her. It's going to be a big night for both of us."

QUICK JABS: Mendonca and Hinton have dubbed their upcoming trio of pro shows "The Fight For Food," and are offering reduced ticket prices in exchange for donations to the Edmonton Food Bank.

"Unfortunately, too many people in our city need to rely on the food bank, especially at this time of year," said Mendonca. "We want to do whatever we can to help out, and we're very grateful to Roger Sarma at The Palace for getting on board with us. Roger is a terrific supporter of both boxing and charity."

Donations can be dropped off at Beverly Bronx Boxing (6514 118 Ave.) or The Palace banquet centre (3223 Parsons Rd.). For more details, call 780-777-1643 ... The Yellowhead Inn is hosting the amateur provincial box-offs on Dec. 19, with 13 bouts. Some of the winners will advance to the Jan. 26-30 national championships in Montreal ... Unbeaten super featherweight Arash Usmanee (3-0, 2 KOs) of Red Deer steps up in class to take on Minnesota's Willshaun Boxley (5-2, 3 KOs) tomorrow night at the Montreal Casino. It will be the opening prelim to the WBO intercontinental junior middleweight title bout between Joachim Alcine and Chris Canclaux.

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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