'(Maurer) has no idea'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

If Darren Apels holds true to his words, Mike Maurer is going to receive an ugly welcome to the fighting world.

Although the media conference for Friday's Maurer-Apels mixed-martial arts bout isn't until this afternoon, Apels is already delivering some harsh shots through the Sun.

"Nothing is going to make me happier than kicking the (tar) out of (Maurer)," remarked Apels from Kelowna yesterday.

"He has no idea what he's got himself into.

"We will see how he feels once I hit him - and break his face."

And that is just a taste of Apels's tirade.

Labelled as Darren "The Big Nasty" Apels in the ring, the 25-year-old West Coast native isn't predicting a win Friday night during the Maximum Fighting Championship IX card at the Shaw Conference Centre - but he's guaranteeing Maurer will feel major pain.

And it's the fear of injury that has the Edmonton Eskimos worried. A nine-year CFL veteran, Maurer was named the Most Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup last November after replacing injured fullback Mathieu Bertrand.

Maurer doesn't believe Friday's fight violates his football contract and the Eskimo organization isn't stepping in the way.

But Apels adamantly states the Green and Gold has every reason to be concerned.

"They should be worried - let's be serious," commented Apels.

"This is not football. (Maurer) won't have his teammates to save his (butt) or make him look good.

"(Maurer) will be hurt in this fight - there is no way around it. I did not train and eat like a (darn) rabbit (to make the weight limit) not to hurt him."

There are some rules to be followed on the Maximum Fighting Championship card, but the sport is really a wicked combination of boxing, wrestling, karate and ju-jitsu with no headgear and four-once gloves.

Unlike Maurer, Apels has professional fighting experience - and his debut was a resounding success.

"Darren knocked out this gorilla," said Mark Pavelich, the president and CEO of the Maximum Fighting Championship.

"He cracked the guy and he went down like a spruce tree."

Although he gave up nearly 70 pounds on the tale of the tape in his only scrap, Apels knocked out Jim Dobson in the first round last September at the Shaw Conference Centre.

"And with that fight, I never trained at all," recalled Apels, who holds a considerable height advantage over many opponents at six feet, eight inches.

"I never touched a weight or even hit a punching bag.

"I just threw on some shorts, put the gloves on ... and knocked out a (darn) near 300-pound fighter."

However, even with experience in the ring, Apels is being touted as the underdog.

After watching Maurer train with other Maximum Fighting Championship scrappers last month, Pavelich boldly stated: "I don't think (Apels) has a chance."

That kind of statement only seems to prime Apels' motor even more.

"So what if (Maurer) came down and rolled around with some MFC fighters," questioned Apels.

"The only people who are saying (Maurer is the favourite) are the people around him. And they're (saying it) to make him feel better and not be worried.

"He's obviously putting his livelihood on the line by stepping in the ring against me."

- - -

WHO: Mike "The Wolverine" Maurer vs. Darren "The Big Nasty" Apels

WHAT: Light-heavyweight bout, Maximum Fighting Championship IX card

WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Shaw Conference Centre.


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