By Ricardo Ibarra
In one of four pro boxing contests featured on Rogue Promotions’ mixed combat sports card at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center in Salem, Oregon this Saturday, Spokane, Washington’s Patrick Ferguson (8-0, 8 KOs) will look to add a ninth consecutive win to his unblemished ledger when he takes on Missouri’s Gary “Freak Train” Tapusoa (9-6-1,8 KOs) in a ten round heavyweight fight. Tapusoa will be stepping in for Raymond Ochieng, who was originally scheduled to fight Ferguson but pulled out late last week.
The 26-year-old Ferguson has been on a roll since turning pro last April, claiming each one of his eight wins inside the distance, and all but one of those wins within the first two rounds. His most noteworthy victory so far was a first round knockout of former world title challenger Rubin Williams last August. The former U.S. National amateur heavyweight champion has made considerable progress in his short career and is currently ranked #14 by the NABF. This will be his fourth fight of the year, with his most recent outing coming in July when he scored a first round win over Ruben Roundstone, knocking him out with a body assault.
Tapusoa will come into the fight with two consecutive knockout wins, a streak he started in June of last year with a second round TKO of Gary Lydell, rebounding from a January loss to Al Sands. He followed that up with another two round stoppage win, this time over Wayman Carter in December. The Samoan slugger has faced some notable opposition in his five-year career, including Michael Hunter—who recently challenged for the WBO cruiserweight title—losing to him in the first round of their 2014 fight, and unbeaten light heavyweight Mike Lee in 2015, losing to him in two.
“This fight has the chance to be the fight of the night,” said promoter Matthew Phillips. “Ferguson’s a good young fighter and Tapusoa is a really tough guy. And this is now a ten rounder, which I’m really excited about. I think it’s a better fight than what we originally had and everybody seems a little more excited about Tapusoa than Ochieng. This should be a great fight.”
The Ferguson-Tapusoa bout will highlight a full roster of boxing, MMA, and submission only grappling match-ups, with three other pro fights making up the remainder of the boxing portion of the line-up.
Regional amateur stand-out Alex Cazac, of Portland, will make his professional debut, taking on Pendleton, Oregon’s Justin Milani (1-5-1). Cazac was a well accomplished amateur, winning multiple Golden Gloves regional championships. Milani, while only having one win as a pro boxer, is a tough fighter, maintaining a busy schedule in both boxing and MMA. They’ll face-off in a five round cruiserweight contest.
Popular local amateur Blaiwas Eaglepipe will also make his entrance into the paid ranks, squaring off with Felipe Medina (0-1) in a five round Jr. lightweight tilt.
And finally, Othello, Washington’s Abel Zayas (1-1, 1 KO) battles Travis Cavalli (0-1) in a four round Jr. middleweight match-up.
The remainder of the card will consist of eight MMA fights and fifteen grappling matches. An amateur boxing portion that was scheduled for the morning was cancelled.
“We have an excellent line-up in Salem,” said Phillips, who kicked off his concept of pairing boxing and MMA on the same card in July. “Every time we do the boxing shows, I’m looking to grow the event. I really want to set a good tone with this one, because I’m looking at doing more in that area soon.”
“When I first started this promotion, I set out to be one of the biggest regional promoters on the West coast,” continued Phillips. “We’re working hard to get there. We have different types of shows we’re doing…professional, amateur, all MMA, all boxing and this hybrid show. We plan on doing them a few times a year and every time we plan on growing them. And as these shows get better, we’re just going to keep adding to them. With this one on Saturday, I think we have a great show with something for everyone.”
The Rogue Promotions ‘Arena Wars: Total Kombat’ card will start at 7 p.m. with doors to the venue opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and available at Vagabond Brewing and Combat Sports Center in Salem. For more information visit the Rogue Promotions 541 Facebook page.