A special wheelchair boxing exhibition match has been added to Saturday night’s pro card, “The Willie Pep Boxing Classic,” presented by Hard Hittin’ Promotions at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
The eight-round main event finds local heavyweight favorite Tony “TNT” Grano (17-2-1, 13 KOs), 2005 U.S. Nationals amateur champion, in a crossroads fight against veteran “Diamond” Dominque Alexander (20-10-1, 10 KOs).
Wheelchair boxer Ian Cannon, an 18-year-old college student, faces former New England Golden Gloves champion Luis Reynoso, of Springfield (MA), in a three-round wheelchair boxing exhibition under amateur boxing rules (headgear, large gloves, etc.)
Cannon, of Glastonbury, trains regularly at The Lions Den Connecticut in Middletown, and he has created a wheelchair boxing program. Ian suffers from cerebral palsy yet remains one of the most inspirational boxers in New England.
The undercard showcases some of the best young fighters in New England, including Meriden (CT) by way of Mexico bantamweight Danny Aquino (5-1, 1 KO) vs. James Owens (4-2, 2 KOs), Puerto Rican junior welterweight prospect – training in New Haven – Javier “El Chino” Flores (5-0, 4 KOs) vs. game Norwalk (CT) veteran Shakha Moore (10-15-3, 2 KOs), and promising New Haven featherweight and former amateur standout, Luis Rosa (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Tommy Attencio (4-6, 2 KOs), all in 6-round bouts. Undefeated East Hartford Joseph “Chip” Perez (5-0, 2 KOs) faces Charles Vanderveer (1-1, 1 KO) in a 4-rounder.
Also scheduled to fight on the undercard is Middletown (CT) favorite, light heavyweight Doug Cartelli (1-0), against Jaquan Williams, and undefeated Philadelphia super featherweight Frank Trader (7-0, 2 KOs) versus John Willoughby (2-6, 1 KO). All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets are priced at $100.00 (ringside), $80.00 (preferred seating), $60.00 (reserved) and $40.00 (general admission) and are available to purchase by calling 860.402.4838 or The Lions Den at 860.613.2394.
Willie Pep: Born Gugloermo Papaleo in 1922 in Middletown, CT. He was a 2-time world champion who retired in 1966 after a 26 year professional career with an amazing 229-11-1 (65 KOs) record. In 1990, Pep was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. He died November 23, 2006 at the age of 84.