Main event hat trick

ADAM WAZNY -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

With three main events in three different disciplines, predicting the most explosive bout in tomorrow's Colosseum IV fight card at the Winnipeg Convention Centre is next to impossible.

First there's the Gladiators title fights -- one in Mixed Martial Arts and the other in kickboxing. Sagkeeng First Nation's Chris Fontaine will try to take Ohio-native Mitch Whitesell's Gladiators middleweight title, while Winnipeg's 'Dangerous' Dave Zuniga puts his Gladiators welterweight kickboxing belt on the line against Ryan 'The Lion' Madigan.

The third main event is for the boxing traditionalists, as Pine Falls' Larry 'Razor' Sharpe -- who just returned from a sparring stint in Montreal with the No. 2-ranked super middleweight (WBC) Lucien Bute -- will face Minnesota-product Chris Holt.

"The main events are all going to be good, in the sense that anything can happen," said event promoter John Vernaus. "They are all that close. Either guy (in each fight) could win. Even Larry is in tough, the guy he is fighting against can really hit."

Ten fights in total make up tomorrow's card, with MMA, Muay Thai and boxing all well-represented. Vernaus, an avid boxing supporter who has been promoting the sport through his King John label for 14 years, has recently delved into the MMA streams, finding an increasing interest and more importantly, a bigger audience.

"It's just the wave of the future in fighting," he said. "I'm a businessman and if you're not going forward, you're going backwards. The boxing was only drawing certain people and you can't really afford to bring in the big names anymore.

"People really like the MMA style, where you're slugging it out like a street brawl," he added. "It goes in spurts. Boxing is on the downslide, because you have no real great heavyweight champion. There are some great fighters out there, so I don't think it's ever going to die. Boxing is deep-rooted, but the MMA ... if you look at how many martial arts gyms there are in the city as compared to boxing, it's 30-to-1. And that's right across North America."

The driving force behind MMA is television, and that exposure will be present at Colosseum IV, as well. The event will be made available for pay-for-view, with UFC's Stephan Bonnar (who is currently serving a suspension), Duke Roufus and Aleks Paunovic providing commentary.

A slew of local combatants make up most of the undercard, but one fight which was going to make local MMA history appears to be shelved. Keri Crothers, who was scheduled to lace them up for Winnipeg's first women's professional MMA bout with Liz Posener, will not be at the WCC. She recently was diagnosed with cancer, and was scheduled to have surgery this week.

Vernaus said he hoped to find a replacement, but wasn't confident a suitable fighter could be found to take on Posener.

Tickets and tables are still available for the event. Call 982-4540 or Ticketmaster for more information.


Videos

Photos