The $500,000 Great American Heavyweight Boxing Press Conference
By Special to Doghouse Boxing (Jan 16, 2013)
(L-R) Front - Don Elbaum and Greg Sorrentino; Rear - Devan Vargas, Jason Estrada, Alonzo Butler, Emmanuel Nwodo, Daniel Martz and Joey Abell. NEW YORK CITY - Veteran promoter/matchmaker Don Elbaum and financial backer Greg Sorrentino,
today during a press conference held at historic Gleason's Gym in
Brooklyn, officially announced the creation of The $500,000 Great
America Heavyweight Box-Off (TGAHBO). The tournament, planned as an
annual event, is scheduled to launch in April at a site to soon be
Introduced as participants were 2004 U.S. Olympians Jason "Big Six" Estrada (20-4, 6 KOs), of Providence (RI), and Devan Vargas (18-2, 7 KOs), of Toledo (OH), Tennessee (Chattanooga) knockout-artist Alonzo "Big Zo" Butler (28-2-1, 21 KOs), Minnesota (Coon Rapids) heavy-hitter Joey "Minnesota Ice" Abell (28-6, 27 KOs), former USBA cruiserweight champion Emmanuel Nwodo (24-5, 20 KOs), fighting out of Baltimore (Maryland), and a 22-year-old sleeper from West Virginia (Clarksburg), "The Mountain" Daniel Martz (7-0, 6 KOs). Talks are ongoing to finalize the remaining two challengers, plus one reserve, in case of injuries.
purse structure will be $25,000 to the winners and $15,000 to the
losers in the quarterfinals, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, in the
semifinals, leading up to the championship final in which the champion
will earn $250,000 with $50,000 going to the runner-up.
history of boxing is the heavyweight division and America is a big part
of it," Elbaum said. "We weren't looking for ex-champions or
highly-rated fighters. Not one of the fighters here is. I'll be the
matchmaker; I'm picking the fights, no requests. I had this idea seven
or eight months ago. Four months ago, I had discussions with some people
and one person, Greg Sorrentino, said he'd back me because he believes
we need this in the sport. He's a former professional heavyweight and
now a very successful businessman."
been involved in various aspects of boxing, never on the promotional
end before, but I'm excited," Sorrentino explained. "This is the
greatest country in the world and we're going to help get an American
heavyweight champion to rule the roost again."
said he has had discussions with several possible venues, including
some casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Turning Stone and Madison
Square Garden, and that he's close to making a television deal. He also
noted that 12 other heavyweights are in the running for the remaining
two spots in the field, plus one reserve fighter, and $25,000 of the
TGAHBO champion's purse will be donated to the winner's charity of
Also attending the press conference was Las Vegas legend Bill Krachenberger,
who will set tournament odds on the individual fighters, as well as for
all TGAHBO fights, to be offered at several Nevada sports books.
The fighter demonstrating the most "heart" in tournament fights, excluding the TGAHBO champion, will be awarded the Gennaro Pellegrini Jr. Award.
Pellegrini, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, had a dream to
fight at the famed Blue Horizon before being shipped out to Iraq for
duty. Elbaum made that happen in 2004 but seven months later Pellegrini
was killed in action.
(L-R) Devan Vargas, Jason Estrada, Daniel Martz, Joey Abell and Alonzo Butler
Fighter Press Conference Quotes
Joey Abell: "I want to thank everyone for getting me involved in this tournament
with world-class athletes. I plan to win the tournament by putting
everything into it."
Alonzo Butler: "I've been given a great opportunity to be in this heavyweight
tournament. I'm ready to get it on and then bring the world heavyweight
championship back to the United States."
Emmanuel Nwodo: "I'm so glad I'm in the tournament and can't wait. This is something
new in the heavyweight division. It's awesome! We'll all show our best.
This is an opportunity to prove ourselves and I'm proud to be part of
Jason Estrada: "I appreciate being in this tournament. Good luck to everybody
else....but not as much as me. I'm working hard in training and I expect
the winner to be me."
Devan Vargas: "I'm very excited about this tournament. These fighters will be out to
prove themselves, unlike the top heavyweights who won't fight us and are
protected by their promoters. One of us will be the next heavyweight
Daniel Martz: "I don't have as much experience as these other guys. They have a lot
more fights than me, but this is a great opportunity to prove that I
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