Story and photos by Bob Ryder
It’s a rare occurrence in today’s boxing scene where two undefeated fighters from the same hometown agree to take each other on. Thankfully, some bad blood between two Detroit heavyweights helped matchmaker Carlos Llinas and promoter Greg Ahrens stage an intriguing main event at the next installment of “Night of Knockouts IX” at the MotorCity Casino-Hotel on Friday, February 24. Craig Lewis (13-0-1, 7 KO’s) and Demetrius Banks (8-0, 4 KO’s) will seek to settle their differences over a scheduled eight rounds.
Lewis and Banks had solid amateur backgrounds (Lewis a 2008 National Golden Gloves champion) and actually roomed together as teammates for the 2010 National Golden Gloves tournament. After turning pro however, their paths have separated in dramatic fashion. The animosity between the two apparently boiled over with an unsanctioned altercation in a Detroit bar over a year and a half ago that supposedly left Lewis on the floor knocked out. Of course fighting in a ring with officials and gloves is a whole different deal and it will be interesting to see if the smaller Banks can overcome the much bigger advantages Lewis will have in height and weight. Both guys appeared on Fightnews correspondent Brad Snyder’s radio show, The Undercard on podcastdetroit.com, to talk about the fight a few days ago. Banks related that “I am coming in on the B side but I am definitely going to be the spoiler that night” Banks further stated that Lewis “is a game guy. He always comes to fight. I am just going to expose that he is not as hungry as me, not as skilled as me. He will outweigh me by 30-40 pounds, but who cares. I will have the speed advantage and skill advantage totally”. Lewis responded that Banks “is too short to be messing with me anyways. He stopped sparring me a year ago saying I was too big for him.” Based on past performances the prediction here is Banks by early knockout or Lewis by decision. Either way it should be fun.
Eight more scheduled bouts make up the undercard. In six round matches, Detroit’s middleweight Darryl Cunningham will battle Taronze Washington, Isiah Jones takes on Eric Moon also at middleweight, junior middle John Chalbeck crosses gloves with Kelly True, and light heavyweight Anthony Sims will take on Miguel Cubos.
Four round contests pit heavyweight Marcus Carter against Ryan Pokryfky, Ahmed Al-zayadi vs Brian Jackson at middleweight, Henry Terrell vs Devon Brown in another heavyweight scrap, and Manuel Alfaro vs Darroyl Humphrey in a welterweight match up.
Tickets available via ticketmaster.com or the Sound Board box office inside the MotorCity Casino-Hotel.
Doors at 7 PM with first bout at 7:30.