FRIDAY, October 15th, 2004, AT 12:30 PM, PT

Finding A Fighter For A TITLE?
It's Harder Than One May Think...
The Quest For Challengers For a Pro FCR North American Welterweight Title
& A Pro IR World Middleweight Title

We have all read the stories about promoters having trouble finding opponents for top amateur fighters and first time Pro fighters such as Stephen Thompson. However, when a Pro Title shot is being offered, you would think that the opportunity of getting paid to win a title would have plenty of fighters stepping up and asking to challenge for it making a promoter or matchmakers job easy...Well, It's Harder Than One May Think...

Finding top ranked title contenders in todays world of kickboxing seems to be easy though for some organizations. However, this task seems to be harder when an IKF Title is on the line. Why? Because in the IKF, BOTH fighter actually have to qualify for the title shot, not just show up. This means potential contenders go through a background check which includes who they fought, when they fought and where, not to mention who they have defeated to earn their record. If it is a PRO title, fighters must prove they have not only enough Pro bouts under their belt, but a high winning percentage of pro bouts to justify them being a contender. Recent fight history adds even more to confirming a title contender in the IKF. If a fighter has lost their last 3-5 bouts in a row, they are not considered a top contender. With all that being said, there are even more factors involved such as The purse the event promoter can afford and Travel fees for where the fighter(s) are coming from. This is what brings us to where we are today for two different IKF events that are in need of challengers for the titles in question.

IKF North American or Canadian Title
November 6th, Minnesota, USA

Number 3 IKF Ranked Pro Full Contact Rules fighter Mitz Bandiera of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada has requested a challenge for the vacant IKF North American Welterweight title for his event on November 6th in Grand Portage, Minnesota, USA. Bandiera would even like to challenge for the vacant IKF Pro FCR Canadian Welterweight title if no fighter qualifies for a North American Title. However finding a qualified challenger for either title appears to be harder than winning the title. Bandiera's Pro record is 7 wins with only 1 loss. As an amateur he has had over 80 fights both here in North America and in Europe. Since both the titles are vacant titles you would think finding a suitable opponent would be easy... Well, it hasn't been...

The search for a challenger to face Bandiera started back in early September and as of today, we are no closer to finding a challenger than we were back then. As far as those in Bandiera's division, IKF US Champion Erik Marshall of Bradenton, Florida would have been an easy choice. However Marshall was also scheduled to fight Super Welterweight Jimmy Stewart for an IKF Pro World Title when he pulled out of the fight only a few days prior stating a back injury. When a fighter pulls out of a bout so close to an event it makes other promoters watching a little shaky as to if they want to book them for their events, fearing the same thing happening to them. In addition, it is unclear if Marshall is even healed from his injury.

Next in line would have been Miguel Reyes of Tijuana, Baja CA, Mexico. However word has it that Reyes is soon to retire if he hasn't already, so he is out. The other top 5 contenders make up fighters from outside North America and the next North American fighter, Kyle McElroy of Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA, only has a pro fighting record of 2-0 which does not qualify him for the title. So, the search next goes to outside the weightclass. In the Light Welterweight division the first in line would be Fernando Calleros of El Paso, Texas, USA (29-8/16). However we could not reach Calleros since the contact number we have for him no longer works.

After Callaros we have plenty of talent from European countries such as Russia, England, Belarus and even South Africa before getting to Fernando Luevano of Chicago, Illinois, USA. A call put into his manager/trainer though was never returned.

The fighters we have ranked in Super Welterweight, none of them were interested in losing weight to meet the 147 Welterweight limit. Of the potential challengers who did contact the IKF, none of them qualified for a North American or even a Canadian Title. They either had not enough or no pro wins on their resume or had lost too many of their past several bouts.

IKF Pro World Title
November 27th, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

IKF Mexico Promoter Felix Perez has BIG PLANS for his November 27th event in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. However, his plans need to have the assistance of several fighters, or at least 1 more... Already he has booked one of his IKF World Title bouts. A 5 round IKF Pro "Full Rules" MuayThai World Title between IKF Mexico National Champion Adolfo Lozano of Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico (Pro: 8-2/4) and IKF USA National Champion Jeremy Harminson of Lerna, Illinois, USA, (21-3-1/16). However, still missing is an opponent for undefeated (16-0) IR Middleweight Santiego Sr. Manzanares of Mexico. We thought we had IKF Pro European Champion Ole Laursen booked until the discovery of the plane ticket expense from Thailand where Laursen now lives. Although not fully out yet, chances are we will still need to replace him with another fighter but who?

Number 4 IKF Ranked IR Middleweight David Horvath of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (31-5-2/11) is being considered over Number 2 IKF Ranked IR, Middleweight Evgeny Muzychin of Soligorsk, Belarus due to the costs of the plane tickets from Belarus as was the case with number Number 3 IKF Ranked IR, Middleweight Dale Westerman of Kilsyth, Victoria, Australia. Other fighters being considered are Number 1 IKF Ranked IR, Light Middleweight Peter Kaljevic of New York, New York, USA via Montenegro, Yugoslavia (61-23/18) and Super Middleweight Adolfo Tello Rios of Mexico City, Mexico (41-5/25).

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