By Jason Marchetti
Photo: Emily Harney
Rhode Island featherweight contender Toka Kahn-Clary (23-1, 16 KOs) headlines a card at the historic Strand Theater in Providence this Friday promoted by Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing.
Kahn-Clary and Holyfield have both hit the ground running in recent months, as Holyfield promotes his fifth event in the past six months while adding to his stable of fighters. Out of his five events, three will have been nationally televised, including this one by CBS Sports Network.
The busy Kahn-Clary is looking to earn his fifth victory in a row since his lone loss and changing promoters last year.
Since signing with Holyfield, he has been marketed as a main event fighter and seen better competition such as Angel Luna (11-2-1), David Burna (13-0), and his opponent for Friday, John Vincent Moralde (19-0). Kahn-Clary picked up the NABA Featherweight Title in his 2nd round TKO of Burna in October. That win was good enough to earn him a #14 WBA ranking in his division.
“I’m a main event fighter now, and fighting on national television,” said Kahn-Clary. “Working with Evander has made the difference in my career. I’m finally testing my potential, not just filling up another promoter’s card. And more importantly, I’m fighting at home.”
Kahn-Clary has only fought in Rhode Island on five occasions in his career, however, never against an opponent like John Vincent Moralde.
“Moralde is a solid fighter and has some good wins in the Philippines. I’ve seen him on tape, and I’m prepared to go the distance if necessary. He trains in Florida now with a team of Cuban coaches, so I know he is a serious opponent and contender in the division. After this bout, I hope I can secure a fight in the division’s top ten.”
The fighter also commented on working with a world champion like Holyfield.
“Evander is a positive individual. He is well-liked around boxing, and is interested in getting involved. His team makes sure I’m busy with proper sparring and anything I need for a proper training camp. Other promoters like doing business with him and [Trainer Peter] Manfredo is impressed too.”
Manfredo has trained many world champions and top contenders over his 25 year career and says he is impressed by Holyfield’s team and professionalism.
Kahn-Clary last fought six weeks ago and stays in shape year round as he is never far from the featherweight limit (126 pounds). He has relied on his usual sparring team of Jamaine Ortiz (6-0), Luis Rosa (23-1), and Nick Delomba (11-2). Delomba is also on the undercard this Friday night.
Kahn-Clary continued, “Pete and I have been working on fighting smarter, watching tape, working the jab, and pressing the action when necessary. As the competition rises, being prepared for all ten rounds is important. I get my road work in, 6-7 miles every day, and then hit the gym with Pete for morning workouts. Making weight is not a problem, this morning I weighed 127 pounds, four days before the fight.”
“My goal is to win impressively for my fans, my team, and my family. I hope Real Deal Boxing makes money with this card in Providence because I plan on fighting at home much more often.”
Kahn-Clary is a new husband and father in recent months. He daughter Adeline was born earlier this month.
Also on the card promoted by Holyfield are cruiserweight Fabio Turchi (12-0, 9 KOs), welterweight Peter Dobson (9-0, 5 KOs), jr middleweight Jeremy Nichols (7-1-1, 2 KOs) plus locals featherweight Irvin Gonzalez (7-0, 6 KOs) and jr welterweight Nick Delomba (11-2, 2 KOs) round up the undercard. The event starts at 7p and tickets can be purchased through the fighters or at www.thestrandri.com.