Ultimate fights for 'Peg

SCOTT UNGER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Downtown Winnipeg will become the focal point of ultimate fighting in late September at Colosseum of Champions III.

Local boxing promoter John Vernaus is bringing a 14-bout mixed card of female boxing, mixed martial arts and Muay Thai to the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Sept. 23.

"We have two female fights and we're getting a lot of good mixed martial arts," Vernaus said, adding there were five knockouts at Colosseum II in April.

The main event will be in the Muay Thai category will feature Winnipeg's Giuseppe (The Godfather ) DeNatale.

Muay Thai, originating in Thailand, and mixed martial arts are almost identical.

"The only difference is (in Muay Thai) they can't go down on the ground and grapple," Vernaus explained between swings at a local golf tournament. "It's like kickboxing and elbows and everything. It's really exciting."

The event will be taped and shown nationally on TSN, a first for the Colosseum series. It could also be available live.

"We're close to signing a deal for pay-per-view right across western Canada," Vernaus said. "If that happens it would be really good."

After being a boxing promoter for 12 years, Vernaus is slowing moving over to the mixed martial arts area of fighting.

"That's what's happening right now. It's all about ultimate fighting," said Vernaus. "It's all over TV. There's more ultimate fights than there is boxing now. We're still going to do both, but we're not going to concentrate as much on boxing. We'll bring a few fights in and it will be good. But we won't push the boxing as the main fight."

Vernaus will continue to work with local boxers, but "the boxing doesn't seem to be as good right now."

Tickets for the event are going fairly quickly. Roughly 70 of the 100 ringside tables have been sold. Table tickets can be purchased by calling Vernaus Auto Body at 982-4540. General admission is also available through Ticketmaster for $30.


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