FIGHT OR FLIGHT - PASTRANA VS OLIVER
Hartford super bantamweight Mike "Machine Gun" Oliver, the reigning New England and EBA champion, will be in a crossroads fight Saturday night as he continues his journey back to the top of the 122-pound division, taking on 4-time world title-holder Mauricio "Indio Boy" Pastrana in the 8-round co-feature on the "Pride & Power" boxing show, presented by Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Hartford heavyweight prospect Tony "TNT" Grano (17-1-1, 13 KOs), the reigning WBF All-Americas heavyweight champion, faces former U.S. amateur standout Nicolai "Stone Man" Firtha (17-7-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant NABA-US heavyweight title in the 12-round main event.
CREDIT TO EASTSIDE BOXING:
His original promoter, Ritchie Cappiello, of Cappiello Brothers Boxing, has integrated with Jimmy Burchfieldís Classic Entertainment & Sports. With a professional record of 23-2, with 8 KOís, Oliver is trying to lock in his place under the CES Banner this coming Saturday, June 26th, when he faces yet another Columbian, Mauricio Pastrana (35-13- 2, 23 KOís) .
His last fight with a Columbian, namely Reynaldo Lopez, in 2008, did not go Oliverís way, as ďMachine GunĒ experienced his first professional loss,
Oliver, the New England & EBA Super Bantamweight Champion, is out to redeem himself.
What better place for redemption than at ďthe SunĒ, which has been magical for the likeable 30 year young fighter hailing from Hartford, Connecticut..
EastSideBoxing caught up with Oliver at the casino this week, where CES had a ring set up under the waterfalls next to Tuscany Restaurant, for pre-fight publicity sparring, that featured the ďMachine GunĒ and other pugilists that caught the eye of passing pedestrians in the forum.
ESB: So, Mike, how are you doing, and are you looking forward to your fight next weekend against Mauricio Pastrana?
Oliver: I feel 100%! Training going good Ė I just canít wait for the fight to come; I wish it were tomorrow, so that I could get it over.
ESB: You have fought at many forums during your professional career, but nowhere as often as at Mohegan Sun. This will be your 9th fight at the Connecticut Casino. Does that give you an edge, and is this your favorite fight forum?
Oliver: Actually yeah, it does give me a big edge; I like fighting here. Although I have two losses, I am undefeated here (at Mohegan Sun) I like fighting here; I like fighting at Foxwoods too.
ESB: We first met you under the banner of Cappiello Brothers Boxing, who have now integrated with Jimmy Burchfiedís Classic Entertainment & Sports. How has that worked out for you, are you happy with your relationship with CES, and are you under contract?
Oliver: Right now, I was with Rich, and once I found out his promotion was ended, then Ritchie told me heís with CES now, and I said, ďthatís cool,Ē but I was heartbroken. So right now, we are working in the gym and all, and want to get under contract. I want to be where Ritchie is.
ESB: Iím a bit scared for you, Mike, in you upcoming fight against Mauricio Pastrana. Columbians have been upset-minded in the States, including the likes of Reynaldo Lopez, who handed you your first professional loss in 2008 at the Roxy in Boston. How did you cope with that loss, and what is your plan to defeat the Columbian in front of you now?
Oliver: Well, I forgot about that loss. You have to move on, and leave it in the past. My last fight, I had at Foxwoods, and I won, and Iím one and one with the Columbians right now. Weíll see about the victory. I will try to outbox him. I gotta play slick.
ESB: Although you are 9 years younger than Pastrana, does that really make a difference in your fight style and plans for the fight?
Oliver: Iím nine years younger, it doesnít matter. Iíve got the speed. Iím always prepared to fight. This is the only opportunity I have to show my skills. He has to bring his ď A game.Ē I got the fight, and now I have to leave everything in the ring. Like people say, this is the only opportunity I have to show people that Iím back. He is going to bring his ďA game.Ē
ESB: What is your prediction for the fight?
Oliver: Well, to try and box him, and everything like that, and wait to the last round, and in the last ten seconds of the bout, to try and finish him off. He has to be ready for the Hartford fans! We gotta be ready, and Iím all set. Iíve been ready since my last fight. Iím lucky to have Sammy Gray, Dave Tenny and Scully in my corner. With them at my back, Iím all set! We gotta be ready. Iíve been ready for this since my last fight!
ESB: What else would you like to say to your fans across the World and at EastSideBoxing.com?
Oliver: Well, I want to say, ďIím back,Ē and I want to fight at 118 and 122. Every time I come to the fights, Iím like 120! So, I want to fight at about 118. I know Rich wants to fight me at 118.
Jimmy Burchfieldís Classic Entertainment and Sports, presents "Pride & Power" pro boxing show, at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, Connecticut, this Saturday, June 26th. The main event pits Nicolai Firtha (17-7-1, 7 KOís) against crowd favorite, Tony Grano (17-1-1,13 KOís), in their much-deserved shot for the vacant NABA USA heavyweight title. Also on the card with Oliver, are lightweights Frank Trader (6-0-0, 2 KOís) against Noel Garcia (2-3-1, 1 KOís); light welterweights, Carlos Hernandez 0-1 vs. Jonathan Vasquez in his pro-debut, light heavyweights, Jose Torres vs. Asmand Mickens, both in their pro-debut, and undefeated light heavyweight Joe Smith, Jr. (4-0, 4 KOís) and middleweight, Ricky Dawson (1-0, 1 KOís), both against opponents yet to be announced.
Tickets, priced at $40.00, $65.00, $105.00, are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going online at www.cesboxing.comor www.mohegansun.com, or in person at Mohegan Sunís box office. Call or go online to CES 401.724.2253/2254/www.cesboxing.com) or Mohegan Sun (www.mohegansun.com). Doors open at 6:00 PM/ET, and the first bell rings t at 7:30 PM/ET