With time ticking away prior to Rumble at Rama XI, topped by the rematch between Steve Molitor (30-1, 12 KO’s) and Takalani Ndlovu (30-5, 18 KO’s, IBF #1) for the vacant IBF Junior Featherweight championship, the six main combatants involved went face-to-face Thursday in Toronto for the final press conference. In the main event, Molitor will try to become a two-time world champion, and regain the title he lost to Celestino Caballero in November of 2008 via 4th round TKO.
To do that, he’ll have to turn back time nearly three years, and repeat his sensational performance against Ndlovu in July of 2007. In what was Molitor’s first of five successful title defenses, “The Canadian Kid” battered the South African from pillar-to-post in the very same Casino Rama ring that they’ll step into Saturday night, en route to a one-sided ninth round TKO beating.
“On Saturday, I’m going to take my title back. It’s been a hard year and a half, but that made getting ready for this fight so motivating for me,” Molitor said. “I’m healthier and stronger coming into this fight than I’ve ever been, and Chris (Johnson, Molitor’s trainer) and I had such a great camp. There’s no way I’m losing, especially to a guy I’ve already pummeled.”
Ndlovu, understandably, never even referred to his first encounter with Steve Molitor. “This is a vacant title fight, we are both challengers,” Ndlovu said. “I’m the IBF # 1 fighter, and he’s number 2., it’s that simple. It’s an honour to be back, I’m ready.”
But while Ndlovu wanted to focus solely on Saturday night, Chris Johnson, Molitor’s trainer was eager to remind him of his first trip to Canada.
“You came here before and you got whupped,” Johnson told Ndlovu from the podium. “And you travelled here again to get whupped again. But the only thing this time that’s going to be different is how long it takes you to get off that canvas.”
In the evening’s co-feature, Canadian Heavyweight champion, Greg “The Steel Pole” Kielsa (11-0, 5 KO’s), of Brampton, Ontario, defends against Toronto’s Neven Pajkic (11-0, 5 KO’s), over 10 rounds in a historic meeting of undefeated foes battling for the Canadian Heavyweight title.
“I want to thank Casino Rama, Orion Sports, and my manager James Jardine,” a typically low-keyed Kielsa told the assembled media.
“And good luck to Neven.”
Like Kielsa, Pajkic seemed equally unaffected by being part of a truly historic fight.
“I do my talking in the ring, with these,” Pajkic said, holding up his fists.”
And in a special added 10 round attraction, burgeoning female superstar, and WBO/IBA Super Bantamweight champion, Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton (6-1-1, 1 KO), of the Philippines, via San Francisco, California, faces Toronto’s Lisa “Bad News” Brown (16-4-3, 5 KO’s), a four-time world champion, for the vacant WBA Super Bantamweight world title.
“I’ve only been her for one day, but already Canada feels like home,” said Julaton, who flew into Toronto on Wednesday, and has been continuously in the public eye since landing, with welcoming dinners, media workouts, and press conferences.
“I’m anxious to get in the ring with Lisa, and have us thrilling the fans with how great women’s boxing can be.”
For her part, Brown is just as ready to step in the ring, and make a spotlight for herself to shine in.
“I’m ready. I’m in shape. I’m a warrior ready to destroy Ana,” Brown said.
“When there’s a hurricane, there’s always bad news.”
Orion Sports Management President, Allan Tremblay, thinks this card could be the best ever offered in Canada.
“Simply put, this is the best card ever put of in Ontario” Tremblay said proudly.
“Two world title fights, and a history-making Canadian heavyweight title fight.”
“It’s never been better than this in Ontario.”
Rumble at Rama XI will be promoted by Orion Sports Management, in association with Casino Rama.