On Saturday, May 18, Canadian cruiserweight champion Ryan “Thunder” Rozicki (9-0-0, 9KOs) of Sydney Forks returns home to Cape Breton Island to defend his WBA-NABA Canada title against Shawn “The Killer” Miller (19-4-1, 7KOs) of Troy, New York, at the Centre 200 in Sydney.
Miller represents the stiffest test of young Rozicki’s career, bringing a wealth of international experience to the fight, including a pair of WBF world title fights. Presented by Three Lions Promotions, the Rozicki-Miller fight will be supported with an exciting undercard, including Pictou County’s Brody Blair (4-0-0, 2KOs), former unified Canadian champion Kevin Higson (15-2-0, 1KOs), and undefeated brothers Jessie (12-0-2, 8KOs) and Bradley Wilcox (7-0-0, 4KOs).
After starting his career in the Maritimes, Rozicki became a sensation in Ontario, smashing his way through domestic and international opponents, alike. On March 16, big man from Sydney Forks put on show against heavy-handed Hungarian Laszlo Penzes (10-4-0, 9KOs), walking through flurries of punches to drop his man four times at the Hamilton Convention Centre.
After the fourth knockdown, a bewildered Penzes took control of his destiny, looked up at the referee, and asked to stop the fight. It was Rozicki’s ninth knockout in as many fights. It was the Cape Bretoner’s first fight since shocking the Ontario boxing establishment by demolishing the formerly undefeated Abokan Bokpe (9-1-0, 4KOs) of Bomanville in under a round to claim the vacant WBA-NABA Canada championship in Hamilton. On May 18, Rozicki puts his Canadian national title on the line against an American. A man eager to annex the belt and take it stateside.
“It’s a throwback, for sure, but so am I,” said Rozicki. “Back in the day, Americans could fight for the Canadian title. It was up to the national champion to prevent that belt from leaving. I’m part of that lineage. I’ll defend my title against anyone. I don’t care where you’re from. Miller is a tough guy, but he’s never seen anything like me before. I hit harder. Fight harder. In front of my hometown fans, I’ll punch right through the guy. I’ll be that much stronger with the Island behind me. That belt stays here.”
It’ll be almost a year to the day that Rozicki last fought in Sydney. He signed with Three Lions Promotions to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion, fighting in and around Hamilton to advance his career. “I don’t think any Cape Bretoner wants to leave,” said Rozicki. “There’s no place like it. It’s my home.
You kind of carry it with your wherever you go. But to represent this Island the best I could, I needed top-notch sparring. For some folks it’s the oil patch, for me it’s the boxing rings of Ontario. I’m working with well-established heavyweights out here. They hit harder than Miller, I guarantee it. They’re swift for big men, too. After swapping punches with these guys, May 18 is just another day at the office. I’m ready for anything. I hope he is too.”
Although Rozicki needs to train in Ontario to develop his talents, Three Lions Promotions recognizes how important it is for the Canadian champ to bring the title to Sydney. “I know fighting at home means a lot to Ryan,” explained Promoter Daniel Otter. “It’s not easy for him to be away. To fight away.
This is a big step for him. Miller is no joke. This guy has traveled the world. He takes on all comers. Morocco, Australia, Dominican Republic. He’ll come to you, which shows the kind of fighter he is. He’s not afraid to cross that causeway and meet Ryan on his home turf. It’ll be a banger. But man, when Ryan talks about fighting in Cape Breton his eyes light up. It’s the biggest fight of Ryan’s career. It’s only fitting that it be held on the Island. I’m convinced you could put him the ring with anyone or anything on May 18 and he’d get the knockout. He’s ready for his homecoming.”