Canadian Boxing: Garside and Garbatt April 24; Reflections on CBF Cruiserweight Contender Kevin Reynolds; James Cermak vs Frank White for the Vacant WBC Continental Americas Title April 30

by GM Ross, photo: Alliance Promotions - World class boxing returns to British Columbia this weekend as Jeannine Garside of Duncan, BC, by way of Windsor, Ontario, takes on Lindsay Garbatt of Oshawa, Ontario, at the Fuller Lake Arena in Duncan. The contest is scheduled for ten rounds in the women's featherweight division. The winner will be awarded the vacant Women's International Boxing Association (WIBA) title. Garside comes into the contest with a significant edge in experience, having fought in ten round, championship contests six times, for WIBA and International Female Boxing Association (IFBA) titles. She has a win and a draw with multi-title holder Lisa Brown of Scarborough, Ontario, and has reigned as WIBA super bantamweight champion. As of late, however, Garside has struggled to find the win column..

In 2008 she took her show on the road, fighting for three titles, in three different weight divisions, in three different countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, USA and South Korea). Garside lost close split decisions in New Mexico and Sarajevo, missing out on IFBA lightweight and WIBA featherweight titles respectively. In Hanam City, South Korea, Garside lost a close, albeit unanimous, decision to Ji-Hye Woo for the IFBA super featherweight crown. Since this three loss skid, Garside has bounced back, winning the WBC International Female featherweight laurels against Dominga Oliva of Brooklyn, New York. The less experienced Garbatt comes into the fight with a record of 4-2-0. In her most recent contest, at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, she won a six round unanimous decision over Ayana Pelletier of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In a somewhat recent article in the Comox Valley Record, Earle Couper disputes my contention that James Cermak of Edmonton, Alberta, deserves the next shot at Canadian Boxing Federation (CBF) cruiserweight champion Ryan Henney. Instead, Couper touts Kevin Reynolds of Vancouver, British Columbia, as Henney's most legitimate challenger. In all honesty, I chose Mr. Cermak based on his work-rate and recent successes. Although ranked No. 1 by the CBF, Reynolds has not fought since December of 2008 and has been dropped from the rankings due to inactivity. He is also excluded from the rankings of the newly reorganized Canadian Professional Boxing Council (CPBC), as well as those of the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), presumably for the same reason. Cermak, on the other hand, is ranked No. 12 by the NABF, No. 2 by the CBF and No. 3 by the CPBC (behind Henney and Troy Ross).

I'd like to make one thing clear, however. I do not doubt the abilities of Kevin Reynolds. Quite the contrary, I respect what Reynolds has accomplished thus far in the sport and would love to see this cruiserweight standout return to the ring, have a few tune up fights and challenge for a national title. He had amassed a respectable 10-1-0 record before his hiatus, including a majority decision victory over former CBF champion Frank White. Reynolds also lost a close majority decision to current CBF title-holder Ryan Henney and owns a victory over experienced American journeyman James Brock.

At the moment, however, I maintain that James Cermak has earned another shot at the CBF cruiserweight title. Cermak has remained busy in the sometimes stagnant Canadian fight scene, switching weight classes and moving up to heavyweight when necessary. Thus far in 2010, Cermak has already fought twice, scoring wins as a heavyweight over Matt Anderson of Minnesota and Alston Brown of Vancouver. Although Cermak's recent opponents haven't been world-beaters, he has won five in a row since his loss to Ryan Henney in 2007, including a victory over the more experienced Ernesto Zamora (17-17-0 at the time) of Mexico.

This matter becomes significantly more complicated at month's end. On April 30, Alliance Promotions and Nischay Promotions have arranged for Cermak to meet former CBF cruiserweight champion Frank White of Sarnia, Ontario, for the vacant WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title at Edmonton's Palace Banquet Centre. Should the winner wish to enjoy a reign internationally, it is the practice of the CBF to remove the fighter from their Canadian rankings. This is not set in stone, however. According to the CBF's website, “If they become interested in [and] available to fight for the Canadian Title, they would be rated and allowed to compete for their respective championship, notwithstanding, the Committee shall not permit any match it perceives as a mis-match, due to boxer safety concerns.” According to Alliance Promotions, the winner of the Cermak-White contest will be ranked fifteenth by the WBC, significantly expanding that fighter's international prestige. Thus, its safe to assume that either Cermak or White will be on to bigger and better things following their clash on April 30.

Article posted on 21.04.2010

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