The Masonic Temple in Detroit will be the stage for World Championship Boxing on Feb 23 with Kell Brook challenging Devon Alexander for the IBF Welterweight Championship. As great a Main Event as this is going to be, there is also depth to this card.
Another strap will be on the line in the form of Cornelius K9 Bundrage’s IBF Junior Middleweight Championship. The hometown champion will defend against a game challenger from Las Vegas in Ishe Smith in what can only be described as a bout with ‘Contender Connections’.
Both men are top level fighters and have also been reality boxing stars in the past. Both men have taken part in the hugely popular boxing reality show, ‘The Contender’ hosted by Hall Of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone; Smith in 2005 and Bundrage in 06.
The Champion K9 is currently sitting with a record of 32-4 with 19 KO’s ,is delighted to be defending in his hometown, and in a typically bullish mood. “Not only am I getting paid, I’m getting paid to fight right here in Detroit, how great is that? I feel like a little Mike Tyson, when I was in the hood, I used to take from people, on Feb 23 he won’t be taking anything from me,” explained Bundrage
Smith, a devout Christian, known in Vegas as ‘Sugar Shay’ was slightly more reserved. “I know I’m not the fan favorite in Detroit. One thing I’ve learned is that haters come with the territory” Smith has a quiet confidence about himself going into this fight stating, “I believe and have faith that on Feb. 23, I’ll leave the ring victorious.”
Smith’s faith seems unshakeable, despite going in against a champion, fighting in his hometown, and fighting an adversary with a superior KO percentage. Perhaps this confident demeanor is bolstered by a very charitable gesture that the challenger touched on also. We all know of the tragic events that occurred in Newton, Conn. When, on Dec 14 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary a gunman opened fire, killing 20 children and 6 staff members; devastating a community.
Smith, a father of 2 was taking his own children to school that very morning. “When I first heard about the shooting, I thought it was another high school shooting. Then I heard about those poor little kids, it broke my heart, and I started crying. So we’re making t shirts for the fight that we’re going to sell to honor these kids. All of the money is going to a charity supporting the families and the town.”
Smith enters this bout as the challenger, however, this honorable act will see him crowned Newtown Connecticut’s champion. He is doing Sandy Hook proud, and come Feb 23, Smith will be hoping to do himself proud by hitting the champion with plenty of Hooks of his own