Vargas victorious, eyes rival Lo Greco

Shawn Smith
12/08/2015 4:35pm

Lee Baxter’s first show as a promoter in the Toronto area took place on Tuesday night and, although the fights may not have been as competitive as everyone had expected, Baxter suggested it’s just the start.

In the main event, Samuel Vargas blasted Mexican opponent Ulises Jimenez in only two rounds. Vargas, 22-2-1 (12 KOs), used body shots and head movement to capitalise on Jimenez’s lack of footwork, pummeling him against the ropes. He dropped Jimenez three times before the referee finally stopped the bout.

“You have to let these guys know that it’s your house,” said Vargas after the fight. “If you don’t, they’re going to get an edge or think they have a chance. Once you break that chance, they will be too scared. I had to let him know I was the big dog.”

After his fight, Vargas took to the microphone to call out crosstown super-welterweight Phil Le Greco for bragging rights in the city. Although Vargas was respectful, he believes the fight could go a long way in helping the city rebuild its boxing foundation.

“I would like to fight Phil Lo Greco, that would be a big fight here in Toronto,” said Vargas. “I don’t have anything against the guy, but we need to make noise in this city for boxing to come alive.”

Baxter was a little less kind in his comments on a fight between Vargas and Lo Greco. “To be honest, we’ve been looking for the Lo Greco fight for two years,” said Baxter. “If Phil fights in Toronto, it will be a big problem if it isn’t against Sam (Vargas). I believe it could get criminal…maybe we need to up the ante.”

Baxter says that Lo Greco has not responded to them so far, but that they won’t stop until the fight happens.

In the co-feature, Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Brandon Brewer was able to dominate Polish opponent Patryk Litkiewicz in two-rounds. With the win, Brewer moved his record to 16-0-1 (8 KOs).

“It’s disappointing that his opponent didn’t give him more of an opportunity to show what he can do,” said promoter Baxter. “There are a couple of guys in Canada he’d like to fight.”

Baxter added that with Fredericton recently lifting its ban on boxing, he’d like to put on a show in Brewer’s hometown for his fans.

The opening bout saw Montreal’s Shakeel Phinn improve his record to 3-1 (1 KO) with a hard-fought decision victory over Colato Boakye.

Due to a lack of competitive fights, Baxter seemed discontent with his first attempt at promoting a boxing show.

“I would have liked to have provided a little more entertainment to the fans, especially me being a guy that houses guys who will fight anyone,” said Baxter after the show. “I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with the opposition.”

The show marks the first of three professional boxing events to be held in the Toronto area over the next month. It’s a marked improvement from years gone by that wouldn’t see three boxing events in an entire year in the province of Ontario. Baxter says that it won’t be long before he’s back with another show, ideally before the end of October.

Baxter, a Toronto native, is on a mission to make boxing a viable sport in Toronto. For years, the fight game has struggled to gain a foothold with English speaking Canadians and the English speaking Canadian media also does little to cover the sport. Baxter, along with other promoters, are trying to bolster support in the city.

“Every single sporting industry in the world except for boxing is just thriving in Toronto, it doesn’t make sense,” said Baxter. “The Blue Jays (MLB) are on fire. You can’t find a ticket to the Maple Leafs (NHL) even when they are in last place. The Raptors (NBA) are the same way with Drake on board now. It doesn’t make sense that boxing isn’t the same way.”

With three shows in the next month, concluding with the first world championship fight in the province in 31 years (Adonis Stevenson vs Tommy Karpency on 11 September), things are finally looking up for a city that has historically been hesitant to support boxing. 

Photo credit: Mark Ruddick