Calgary may not be known for its boxing scene, but the Dekada Fight Night attracted almost 2,000 people to watch boxers from around the world compete head-to-head with the main event featuring six-time three-division world champion Zab (Super) Judah.
“Most promotions on our level have trouble getting full houses, but it was pretty jam-packed in there, and to have achieved that is something special in itself,” says promotion manager and co-creator of Dekada, Dennis Herrmann.
Fight fans fill the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino Event Centre Jan. 27th, eagerly awaiting Dekada’s premier event, which is the first of six to come. The crowd rallies and cheers as punches are thrown, blood is drawn and champions are crowned.
One fan in particular, Scott Mitchell, was ecstatic as the main event came to an end.
“The fighters were great,” he says. “It’s really good to see this kind of thing in Calgary. We’re absolutely going to the next one, this is a great place to do it too!”
Judah won his fight against Mexican-born Noel Mejia, just as fans had hoped.
“Winning is a known fact. At this point in the game it’s not about if I’m going to win it’s about how I’m going to win. I’m working on making sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted,” says Judah during an intense training session a week before the fight.
The Bowmont Boxing Club opened its doors to Judah a week before the event. He trained with the Calgary team and, even at the age of 40, he was able to be inspired by the local fighters.
“What keeps me going is when I go into the gym and I train with the up and coming talent, tomorrow's champions ... I’ve accomplished a lot of my dreams I’ve wanted to do already, but why give up now.”
As the world champion from Brooklyn fights on Canadian soil for the first time, he flaunts his maple leaf socks, showing his love for Canada. Judah also expresses how much he values showcasing his talent around the world.
“Boxers always say when they mention boxing, ‘Hey I am the champion of the world.’ So how could you be the champion of the world when you’ve never fought in different countries?”
Judah is excited about returning to the Grey Eagle Event Centre for the next event in April to fight for Dekada again. He promises fans a knockout in fights to come.
The Dekada Fight Night also showcased some of Calgary’s own talent. Gwyn Lewis trains at the Bowmont boxing club alongside Devin Reti, Alvin Tam and Albert Onolunose who all fought at the event as well.
“I’m the most fortunate guy here because the other three guys on the team are all more experienced than I am, so I’m learning from them,” Lewis says, fresh off his win.
“First thing I said to my coach when we finished was I’ve got a lot to work on. As much as the fight went my way, in the end all I could think of was there was a lot that I wanted to do that I couldn’t do,” he says.
The young boxer has had only one professional boxing match before this, in which he won by a knockout just 1:27 into his bout. According to Herrmann and his partner Michael Short, Lewis has already become a fan favourite and is predicted to make a mark in the world of boxing.
Lewis’s next appearance at Dekada will be May 26th back at the Grey Eagle.
As Dekada develops into one of the fastest growing boxing promotions in Western Canada, Herrmann and Short are very grateful for their new partnership with the Grey Eagle and are surprised to have accomplished things they didn’t expect to happen for another five years.
“Leading up to a show three months in advance, 18 hours a day, seven days a week is what we put in. Now the partnership with Grey Eagle, they've taken a bunch of the load off our shoulders,” says Herrmann.
According to Herrmann, his promotion group is set to make a big announcement on television while in Toronto during March to further promote the event countrywide while drawing in more sponsors.
Fans can look forward to more of Dekada’s events in April, May, September, and November of 2018 along with January of 2019.
- By Erin Sweere and Nikita Lehnert-Thiel