Fistic future

MURRAY GREIG, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

If the reception accorded Adam Trupish, Brad Marks and Rory Coveney on Friday night was any kind of a gauge, a glittering future awaits Edmonton's newest wave of fistic talent.

With just four pro outings between them headed into the Up 'n' Comers II card at The Palace banquet hall, all three men elicited an enthusiastic response from the packed house -- as did the seven amateur bouts that preceded them.

Middleweight Trupish, the two-time Olympian who packs paralyzing power in both fists, won his third pro outing by knocking out Ohio veteran Etianne Whitaker in 39 seconds. Marks, fighting at junior welterweight, dropped to 2-1 by losing a decision to Greg Jiminez of Brantford, Ont. -- but he won a huge ovation for his gutsy effort in the blood-soaked four-rounder. Coveney, making his pro debut at welterweight, was slick, quick and razor sharp in getting the four-round nod over Brantford's Isaac Maich.

"I know there were a lot of doubters saying you can't have three new guys headlining a pro-am show, but we proved 'em wrong tonight," co-promoter Sheldon Hinton said afterwards. "The amateur kids got the crowd warmed up, and then Rory, Brad and Trup took 'em to the next level. This was the future of Edmonton boxing on display here tonight."

Trupish, in particular, has struck a chord with fans. Two hours before he entered the ring, he was personally escorting elderly spectators to their ringside tables and taking the time to exchange pleasantries.

He also made a point of chatting up the young amateurs as they awaited their moment of glory, and, along with Hinton, he made sure everything ran smoothly.

"It's a small venue, a small show, but that doesn't mean the people who are supporting you are any less important," Trupish said prior to stepping in against Whitaker. "I really enjoy talking to people and hearing their comments about how the show is set up. And if my doing so helps bring them back to the next one, so much the better."

Another savvy move by Hinton and partner John Mendonca, of Alliance Promotions, was introducing some of the ringside luminaries who will be on their next card, slated for Jan. 22 at The Palace.

Undefeated super middleweight Jason De Laronde (10-0), who took a bow prior to the main event, will make his first appearance in 14 months in the headliner, while the undercard will feature the return of popular featherweight Omar (The Mexicutioner) Valdez, who worked Trupish's corner on Friday.

"All these guys have got a following here; our objective is to take that foundation of support and build on it," said Hinton. "Our next card will be another step up the ladder, setting the stage for a show at the end of February with multiple titles on the line. It's all good, man."

QUICK JABS: One of the biggest cheers of the night greeted the introduction of undefeated super featherweight Arash Usmanee (4-0, 2 KOs). The Red Deer product, now training out of Lodgepole, is slated to make his U.S. debut Jan. 29 in Uncasville, Conn., on the undercard of the NABF middleweight title bout between Peter Manfredo and Matt Vanda ... Winnipeg's Olivia Gerula, who took the WBC super featherweight crown from Jelena Mrdjenovich here last spring, notched a majority decision over Myriam Chomaz in Paris on Dec. 17 ... Speaking of Mrdjenovich, she took in Friday's card from a ringside seat. When asked if she's contemplating a return to the ring any time soon, she replied: "I'll be back in the spring."

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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