Will Canada see more domestic fights in 2018? It’s looking that way
On Friday, Dec. 1, Global Legacy and Lee Baxter Promotions come together for one of the biggest heavyweight fights on Canadian soil in some time.
Global Legacy’s Dillon Carman (12-2) and Lee Baxter Promotion’s Mladen Miljas (7-0) will compete for the Canadian heavyweight championship, a belt that dates all the way back to 1908.
Seeing two of the top Canadian heavyweights, or fighters from any weight, come together is a rare treat for fight fans in this country. For years, we’ve seen promoters bring up unknown talents from Argentina, Mexico or somewhere else in Southern America to build their young talent’s record. And while fans would clamour for a fight between Canadian talent, we often didn’t get to see the dream matchups we were looking for.
But 2017 signaled a shift. We saw Brandon Cook and Steven Butler face off in Monteal for super welterweight supremacy, Tony Luis and Cam O’Connell fought in Cornwall for the right to be called the best lightweight in the country. It appears promoters are finally willing to work together.
“Everyone is in a position where they don't want to take risks with their A-side fighters,” Baxter said. “Global Legacy, I believe they feel like Dillon is a heavy favourite. I think that's why it was easier to make.”
When it comes to the bout between Miljas and Carman, there were a variety of factors that made the fight easy to make.
“Sellability (was a big factor), I don't think an Adam Braidwood or another out-of-province guy would sell as much locally,” Baxter said. “This way there's zero travel, both fighters are already licensed. There's a lot more ways for us to make the faceoffs and that kind of thing.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Miljas “wanted this fight really bad.”
“He was basically willing to sign whatever he needed to sign to get it done,” Baxter said. “He believes in himself, we believe in him. It was probably one of the easiest fights we've ever had to make. Both guys are going into this fight thinking they're the A-side.”
Next year, 2018, will be one of the most interesting years in Ontario boxing in some time. With four promoters making significant investments in the market, we may finally see even more of the big fights we’d like to see. Baxter said that he was worked diligently to set up fights against United Boxing Promotions’ talent, but those attempts have been unfruitful to date.
The mind instantly drifts to a fight between Lee Baxter Promotions’ Samuel Vargas and United Boxing Promotions’ Brandon Cook as a considerable money maker for both sides.
“I think Ontario is really on an upswing, everyone is competing to be at the top. They don't want to have one of their top guys knocked off to put them far back again,” Baxter said, adding that the financial opportunities available will make working together an easier ideal moving forward. “I think 2018 is a year where we will see a lot more domestic fights.”
*Photo courtesy of Jason Setnyk Photography