Ferguson-Reed collide in Montana

By Ricardo Ibarra

Just nine fights into his professional career, Spokane, Washington’s Patrick “The Natural” Ferguson (9-0, 9 KOs) will take his first crack at a minor title this Saturday at the Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell, Montana, squaring off with experienced journeyman Damon Reed (49-19, 32 KOs) in a ten round battle for the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) cruiserweight title.

Ferguson has been on a steadfast climb since turning pro in April of 2016, maintaining a busy schedule and working his way into the #13 slot on the NABF’s rankings. The former U.S. National amateur heavyweight champion has stopped all nine of his opponents inside the distance in his 18-month stretch as a paid prize fighter, most notably knocking out former world title challenger Rubin Williams in one round in August of last year. In his most recent fight a month ago, Ferguson dropped Gary Tapusoa four times en route to a second-round stoppage victory. Ferguson joined current IBF cruiserweight champion Murray Gassiev as a sparring partner in preparation for this fight, spending four weeks at The Summit Gym in the high altitude of Big Bear, California.

Reed, meanwhile, has faced a number of world class opponents over the course of his 22-year career, including former world champions James Toney (L UD 10 in 2011), Hasim Rahman (L KO 6 in 2010), and current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (L KO 2 in 2011). In 1998 the Topeka, Kansas fighter challenged Herbie Hide for the WBO heavyweight title, losing by TKO in the first round. Reed has gone 1-1 in his last two fights, defeating previously unbeaten Aaron Green by majority decision in January of last year and, most recently, losing to world ranked contender Al Sands in June of 2016 by third round stoppage.

Ferguson and Reed will meet in the ten round main event of Hard Knocks Fight Promotions’ eight-bout pro-am card. The line-up will feature an additional four pro fights, showcasing Montana fighters.

In the semi-main event, Kalispell’s Jesse Uhde (8-4, 3 KOs) will square off with Spokane’s Jacob Ruffin (1-10-2) in a six-round middleweight clash. Uhde, a popular fighter in the Kalispell area, is looking for his sixth consecutive win, having not lost a fight since 2013. In his last outing he defeated tough Montana journeyman Daniel Gonzalez for the third time, closing out a series of grueling fights between the two. Ruffin is fighting for the first time in nine years.

Popular local featherweight Kenny Guzman (3-1, 1 KO) will look to rebound from his loss last month to two-time Olympian Michael Conlan in Arizona, facing Atlanta, Georgia’s Gabriel Braxton (2-18, 1 KO) in a four round match-up. Guzman was unbeaten in three fights before facing Conlan.

Local super lightweight Jaime Miranda (1-1, 1 KO) will meet Butte, Montana’s Anthony Curtiss (1-0, 1 KO) in a four round contest. Miranda, who’s spent some time over the last few months working on his craft in Southern California gyms, scored a first round win in his last fight, knocking out Joe Desmond in March. Curtiss stopped Aaron Snow in his pro debut last January.

Also scheduled to be on the card will be Spokane’s Sean Quinnett (3-2, 2 KOs) in a four round welterweight fight, although an opponent has not been announced yet. Three amateur fights will round out the rest of the card.

Tickets to Hard Knocks Fight Promotions’ ‘Fight Night 6’ are available at Fattboys Bar and Grill, the Majestic Valley Arena box office, and online at www.majesticvalleyarena.com. Doors are scheduled to open at 6 p.m. with the first bout set to start at 7 p.m. The family friendly event will also hold a costume contest during the show, with a grand prize of $50 for the best costume. The weigh-ins will be open to the public and held at 7 p.m. on Friday at Fuel Fitness in Kalispell. For more information visit Hard Knocks Fight Promotions’ Facebook page.

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