On Saturday, February 9th, current New Jersey State Welterweight Champion, Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna and the “Pawnee Express”, Dennis Knifechief, are scheduled to be featured as the main event for Masonic Fight Night! Live Professional Boxing at the Norfolk Masonic Temple. The event, presented by Ponytail Promotions and Rising Star Promotions, will begin at 7pm. Among the other fights on the card, Roger “RB3” Belch will put his 11-1 record on the line against an opponent to be determined.
“First fight at 154 and I can’t wait!” LaManna expressed happily. “Making 147 was a struggle and I felt it took from my performances, even though I feel I dominated every fight I had in 2018 including the fight where I had a draw with Tito Bracero (Gabriel Bracero). I take no opponent lightly but this guy isn’t on my level. I’m a elite class fighter and 2019 I pray for a big opportunity at Jr. Middleweight to show that to the world, but first we take care of Dennis Knifechief.”
LaManna will come into the main event having won five of his last six fights. Formally the FECARBOX Welterweight Champion, LaManna will also be fighting in his first contest since defeating “Mighty Mike” Mike Arnaoutis for the New Jersey State Welterweight title in November.
This will be LaManna’s first fight outside New Jersey since March of 2015. Of 30 career fights, only five of them have been outside the Garden State, where he carries a 3-2 record.
On the opposing side, Knifechief will take on LaManna coming off a loss in November to Chris Thomas that almost turned into a upset. Knifechief scored a knockdown in that fight making it a real entertaining fight. Although the “Pawnee Express” was defeated in his last competition, he still is a winner of four of his last six fights. LaManna will be the most difficult fighter he has come across yet in his career, never fighting someone with ten wins before a bout, as LaManna will walk into the fight with a 27-2-1 record, opposed to Knifechief’s 12-9-1 record.
The most noteworthy of the fighters not in the main event will be Belch. This will be “RB3’s” fifth straight match at the Masonic Temple, as his all-time record at the venue is 5-1.
Frank Holm says Dennis Ceylan (19-2-2, 8 KOs) must not underestimate Jesus Sanchez (9-1, 2 KOs) or risk suffering a second defeat to the Spanish Champion as they contest the EU Featherweight title on January 19 in Struer.
“This is a must win fight for Dennis. He is a much better and more gifted fighter,” says the Danish coach. “He must box from a distance, use his long jab, stay focused and be patient. He must lure Sanchez into traps, make him miss and make him pay. That is what we have been working on in the gym.”
Ceylan returns to the Struer Energi Park on a mission to avenge his shock second round knockout loss to Sanchez on March 10. A result that would help the former European Champion get his promising career back on track.
“Dennis sparred with Sanchez prior to their first fight,” reveals Holm. “And in those session he played with him, it was a walk in the park. Therefore, he might have taken it too easy the first time they met, but now, we’ve seen what can happen if you do not keep your concentration or keep your distance.
“Dennis must stay sharp, he must not underestimate Sanchez, and then I am sure he will get the win and take home the EU title!”
Having been stopped by Sanchez, Ceylan’s only other loss came in an IBF World title eliminator against Josh Warrington, a fighter now dominating the division following victories over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton.
“We have achieved something good already, and we’ve been close to achieving something great,” says Holm. “We must admit that we are yet there on Warrington’s level, however, we are still capable of producing big results.
“After winning the EU title, I would like to see Dennis fight again for the European title against the current champion Kiko Martinez, and then we can see how much further we can take it!”
Dina Thorslund tops the bill in Struer, defending her WBO Female World Super Bantamweight title against Alesia Graf, while former European Champion Dennis Ceylan rematches Jesus Sanchez for the EU Featherweight crown.
Oliver Flodin faces Abdul Khattab in a Scandinavian middleweight thriller, heavyweight hope Kem Ljungquist takes on Dominik Musil, Lolenga Mock continues his World title chase against Mateo Damian Veron, Mikkel Nielsen meets Bulgaria’s Angel Emilov, and Adam Bashanov faces Ivan Nikolov.
Undefeated cruiserweight and US Army veteran Blake “The Beast” McKernan of Sacramento, Calif., is the latest boxer to sign a multi-year agreement with International Championship Boxing, promoter of the revolutionary and exciting new combat sport that features boxing in a cage.
The 31-year-old, 6-foot-1-inch McKernan has a record of 11-0 with six knockouts.
McKernan turned pro 16 days before his 29th birthday, but he has good reason for not doing so before then. He served in the US Army for more than three years as an infantry machine gunner, a stint which included one year in Iraq.
While in Iraq, attached to special forces seeking high value targets, he was wounded when an improvised explosive device located on a roadside detonated.
Back in civilian life, he was in the mortgage industry until, one day, he told himself, “I don’t want to live with ‘what ifs.’ “
So, he quit and devoted himself to boxing for the first time. McKernan started at age 10, but never stuck with it completely. He played football, baseball and soccer in high school and was, at his best, a four-handicap in golf.
“I want to turn my dreams into reality,” says McKernan. “When I was 10, I wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world. I don’t know if success at that weight is possible for me, but who knows?
“What I do know,” says McKernan, “is that I’ll be bad news for anyone who gets in the cage with me.
“Fighting in the cage will be to my advantage,” says McKernan. “With six instead of four corners, I have more places to trap them, where they won’t be able to step off. Then they’ll taste my power.”
“We’re continuing in 2019 what we started in 2018, and that’s signing fighters who we believe will flourish in the ICB cage,” says Jack Fulton, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia-based ICB.
“And the number of not just boxers but mixed martial artists and kickboxers that ICB will sign will grow,” says Fulton. “Boxers and fighters in all three sports from North America, Europe and Asia are reaching out to us in dramatically large numbers.”
Even though he’s boxing full time now, McKernan has plenty of other elements in his life, starting with his eight-year-old son Tyson, named after Mike, the former heavyweight world champion.
McKernan recently graduated from Sacramento City College with a degree in kinesiology. He works with several non-profit organizations in the Sacramento area, including Make-A- Wish America and Kaiser Permanente volunteer services program. He also works with the US Army, speaking on its behalf at local high schools.
“I combine Rocky and Rambo; that’s my life in a nutshell,” says McKernan.
It took Fulton almost two years to get the cage designed, built, patented and approved by boxing and athletic commissions within the United States, including the state of Nevada.
An 18-year veteran promoter of the sport, Fulton, through the years, began to realize the sport needed something new, something fresh. And in 2016 he did something about it.
“The Fight Zone” has red and blue entry points with two opposing neutral corners. Boxers compete under Association of Boxing Commissions rules: no clinching, no grappling and no kicking allowed.