Fighting for respect

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

The last time we saw Robin Black, the Pinawa-born glam rocker was drifting towards unconsciousness in the cage at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Regina's Janz Stein had the Toronto resident in a rear naked choke just 1:36 into their mixed martial arts fight in November, and luckily for Black he tapped out before he went to sleep in front of 2,000 fight fans.

"I wanted to stand and bang with him, and he wanted to take me to the ground and work his superior jiu jitsu. He was able to do that," Black said last night during the weigh-ins at the Carlton Inn. "He won fair and square.

"I went back to the drawing board and took the loss like a man. Now I'm gonna dish out a win like a man."

Black is talking about tonight, when he will fight on the inaugural Canadian Fighting Championship (CFC) card at the Convention Centre. It's the new promotion for Giuseppe DeNatale, and some are calling it the best fight card Winnipeg has ever seen.

Winnipeg kickboxer (Dangerous) Dave Zuniga will headline the show against Ottawa's Mark Holst, while local MMA heavyweight Rodrigo Munduruca will tangle with Heath Roth of Blaine, Minn., in the co-main event.

Black, meanwhile, will go after his first victory against Moncton's Stephane Poirier after two losses to start his pro career.

"Putting on a good show and losing is not good enough for me," Black said. "So I'm coming in here to beat this guy and to show that I'm here and I'm for real."

Black takes a beating on the message boards, with many saying he's not tough enough to be in the MMA game, that he should go back to wearing makeup and tight pants.

It's more difficult for him to win over MMA fans than it is to take down an opponent.

"It's tough enough to be trying to make it in a sport like MMA when you come from singing in a rock band where there's pictures of you wearing false eyelashes and spandex pants," he said.

"It's tough enough to get respect in MMA, but to start out with a couple of losses makes it only tougher. But I started this journey and I started this sport because it's an incredible challenge, not because it's easy."

Poirier, who weighed in at 131 pounds, is 1-0 as a pro fighter for Team Saigo. Black was 134 pounds when he stood on the scales.

"I intend to make all the statements and answer all the questions in the ring and leave Winnipeg excited to have my first win," Black said.

Munduruca, meanwhile, was supposed to fight Brock Lesnar's training partner, Kurt Koslowski, in the co-main event, but the latter suffered a training injury a few weeks ago.

So the 6-foot-4 Munduruca (5-0) will instead step into the ring with the 6-foot-3 Roth, who brings a 3-2 pro record to the encounter.

"He looks big and strong. That's good. I like fighting big, muscular guys. I love it," Munduruca said.

"I always find that they always tire because they use so much strength and they get tired first. We'll see."

But almost everyone, including some of the fighters, can't wait to see the always entertaining Zuniga go toe-to-toe with Holst, who trains out of Renzo Gracie's club in Ottawa.

"As soon as I win," Black said, "I'm going to go in the back, get cleaned up, and I'm going to come out and watch Holst and Zuniga throw down. It's going to be an amazing fight."

The action begins tonight at 7 o'clock.

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THE CARD

Main Event

Dave Zuniga, Winnipeg vs. Mark Holst, Ottawa (kickboxing)

Co-Main Event

Rodrigo Munduruca, Winnipeg vs. Heath Roth, Blaine, Minn. (MMA)

The Undercard

Lindsey Hawkes, Winnipeg vs. Joseph Latour, Brampton, Ont. (MMA)

Robin Black, Toronto vs. Stephane Poirier, Moncton (MMA)

Chris Fontaine, Winnipeg vs. Dan Chambers, Lethbridge, Alta. (MMA)

Justin Barnard, Winnipeg vs. Brandon McArthur, Fernie, B.C. (MMA)

Dominick Blais, Winnipeg vs. Corey Knapp, Edmonton (MMA)

Mark Durant, Winnipeg vs. Neal Fox, Milwaukee (kickboxing)

Eric Perez, Winnipeg vs. Dean Lewis, Fort McMurray, Alta. (MMA)

Jon Henderson, Winnipeg vs. Justin Smethurst, Windsor, Ont. (kickboxing)


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