This Thursday (May 26), all-time-great five-weight world champion Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and world-famous manager, author and publicist Jackie Kallen will be heading up a stellar group of Detroit boxing legends (including a host of Kronk world champions such as Hilmer Kenty and Milton McCrory) descending on Dearborn, Michigan, to be in attendance and help celebrate the return of big-time professional boxing to the once-great boxing city.
One of the city’s biggest shows in many years, the Detroit Brawl will be presented by Salita Promotions in the Lincoln Ballroom of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn and headlined by WBC #11-rated heavyweight Otto Wallin (23-1, 14 KOs) facing Detroit-born Rydell Booker (26-5-1, 13 KOs) in the night’s 10-round main event.
Tickets for “Detroit Brawl” start at $40. PLEASE NOTE:Tickets ordered online will be placed in will call at the box office for pick-up. A limited quantity of VIP tickets is also available by calling 313.529.7604.
“It’s wonderful to have this level of competition in Detroit,” said the great Thomas Hearns. “I am excited for Rydell Booker to have this opportunity and I hope he will make the most of it.”
Celebrating 40 years in boxing, Kallen, who served as Hearns’ publicist for many of his best years in the ring before going on to find fame as the manager of the great James Toney, agrees the main event is a huge opportunity for the former amateur standout Booker and says she’s coming to celebrate the return of important boxing to the city with her old friends from the Kronk Gym.
“Detroit was the mecca for boxing in the 70s with so many great fighters and then it got quiet,” acknowledged Kallen, “but now it seems like the shows are coming back. That’s a great sign. We need the regularity of a Detroit Brawl series. That consistency is what we needed to build boxing back up again.”
An entertainment journalist before catching the boxing bug, Kallen’s life was the inspiration for the 2004 film Against the Ropes, starring Meg Ryan. She managed her first world champion in 1991, when James Toney knocked out Michael Nunn to win the IBF World Middleweight title. She is also the author of two books – “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Between the Ropes” and makes appearances nationwide as a motivational speaker.
“It’s going to be such a great card,” said Kallen. “I’m so excited to see Otto and Rydell. It’s a great opportunity for Rydell. When you’re fighting a guy whose only loss was to Tyson Fury, that’s the highest level fighter he’ll come in contact with at this stage of his career, so I know he’s taking it seriously and will show up ready to try and pull off this upset.”
In the 10-round super lightweight co-main event, undefeated IBF #4, WBA #13, WBO #11 and RING #7 Shohjahon Ergashev (21-0, 19 KOs), from Rakhmon, Uzbekistan, and now living and training in Detroit, taking on South American Champion Luis Alberto Veron (19-3-2, 9 KOs) of Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Detroit and the State of Michigan are a talent hub for some of the greatest fighters in our sport, past and present,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita. “I am delighted that legends like Jackie Kallen and Tommy Hearns will be on-hand to witness the present and future of boxing in Detroit.”
On the undercard, rising super welterweight powerhouse Marlon Harrington (7-0, 6 KOs) will appear in an eight-round showdown against South American veteran Azael “Turbo” Cosio (21-9-2, 18 KOs), while fast-tracking former national amateur champion and undefeated professional middleweight Joseph Hicks Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) of Grand Rapids, Michigan will appear in a six-round battle against Argentinean southpaw Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-9-2, 18 KOs).
Fighting in supporting bouts will be a trio of undefeated Michigan prospects, including super welterweight Husam Al Mashhadi (3-0, 3 KOs) of Dearborn facing pro-debuting Texan Milton Banks, as well as super lightweight Ferris Dixon Jr. (2-0, 1 KO) and also undefeated super welterweight Da’Velle Smith (2-0, 2 KOs), both of Detroit.
All remaining opponents will be announced shortly and all bouts are subject to change. The Ford Community & Performing Arts Center is located at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. On fight night, doors open at 6:00 pm and the action starts at 7:00 pm.