WBC nothing to do with NABC's match

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Maybe Vanna White could be brought in to turn over a vowel.

Tonight's 12-round main event on the Size Matters card at the River Cree Resort and Casino has been touted as being for the World Boxing Council/Native American Boxing Council heavyweight championship.

But when either Tye Fields (47-2, 37 KOs) or Nicolai Firtha (16-5-1, 7 KOs) is handed the belt, the WBC says it has nothing to do with it.

"The World Boxing Council has absolutely nothing to do with this fight and has no affiliation with the Native American Boxing Council," WBC vice-president Rex Walker said in an e-mail to Sun Media yesterday.

"The Native American Boxing Council is from Oklahoma, and the executive director of their boxing program is Gerald Woffard. Peter McKinn is supervising the fight for the NABC; he is not the WBC's championship supervisor."

Fair enough.

Quasi joined-at-the-hip affiliations of the sanctioning organization not withstanding, the big prize hasn't lost any lustre in the eyes of Fields and Firtha.

"This one is really special," Fields said at last night's weigh-in.

"My mom was born on the Flathead reservation in Montana, so winning the Native American heavyweight title obviously is something very meaningful to me.

"I've held the USBA and the Continental Americas super heavyweight titles, but this is a big step up.

"This is the fight that will put either me or Nicolai in with the elite contenders, just one step from fighting for the world championship."

Firtha, who had former No. 1-ranked contender Ray Austin as his main sparring partner in preparing for tonight's showdown, expressed similar sentiments.

"My dad used to say 'belly up to the bar, roll the dice and see what happens,' " said the slick slugger from Akron, Ohio.

"When we lost him to cancer a couple of years ago, it was devastating. But when the opportunity came along to fight for this title, I immediately thought of my dad and what it would mean to him.That's why I'm dedicating this fight to him.

"Timing is everything in this business, and I truly believe this is my time to break out of the pack and get into that elite echelon - the world's top 10 or 15 heavyweights.

"My dad always told me that everything happens for a reason, and I've never forgotten those words.

"It gives me an inner calm, knowing that I'm in control of my own destiny.

"This is the biggest fight of my life, and I'm going to put every ounce of my being into winning it."

An interested special guest at the weigh-in, which was held in the centre of the River Cree Casino, was former world No. 1 contender Gerry Cooney - the prototypical heavyweight giant of the the 1980s.

"When I was fighting, my size was a big deal," said the six-foot-six Cooney, who lost a titanic battle to champion Larry Holmes in 1982 -- a bout that still ranks among the top 10 gates in heavyweight history.

"I never would have believed that 25 years later most of the top heavyweights in the world would be huge guys like Tye and Nic.

"It's great, because in addition to being talented fighters, they're really great athletes."

Cooney arrived in Edmonton at noon yesterday and was able to feed his golf addiction by getting in a quick nine holes before being mobbed by fans at the weigh-in.

He had another tee time set for 6:30 this morning, and he'll be at ringside for the card, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Official weights

Here's the skinny on Size Matters, in order of the bouts:

Frank White (196.5) vs. Brock Stodden (198), six rounds, cruiserweight.

Ivan Rodriguez (171) vs. Jason Douglas (171.5), six rounds, super middleweight.

Jason Gavern (231) vs. Cisse Salif (262.5), eight rounds, heavyweight.

Trevor Moyah (159.5) vs. Anthony Lessard (160.5), six rounds, middleweight.

Tye Fields (264) vs. Nicolai Firtha (247), 12 rounds for the vacant Native American Boxing Council heavyweight championship.

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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