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Heavyweight tilt highlights pro/amateur boxing card at Victoria Conference Centre

Action goes Saturday night

Organizers have labelled ­Saturday night’s card in Carson Hall at the Victoria Conference Centre, billed Round 3, the best boxing event on the Island in nearly three decades.

“It is the highest level boxing Victoria’s seen since the 1994 Commonwealth Games,” said promoter Jason Heit, co-founder of Champ Promotions.

The main event will feature six-foot-eight, 275-pound heavyweight Ricardo “Big 12” Brown, 7-0 as a pro after winning bronze in the Pan Am Games and representing Jamaica at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. All of Brown’s professional fights have ended early in knockouts and he has only been involved in 11 rounds in his seven pro fights. Brown will be up against Mexican veteran Miguel Angel Flores Gomez.

There are more big boys as six-foot-five, 240-pound ­former hockey player Braydon Blazina of Victoria, the B.C. ­super-heavyweight champion and Canadian bronze medallist, will fight six-foot-five, ­275-pound Saskatchewan super-heavyweight champion Kyle Paposi.

“Blazina is a big, solid man that moves with the grace and speed of a mountain lion and hits like a truck,” said Heit.

“He’s a still a young boxer.”

Another featured Island boxer will be Brandon Colantonio, the former Canadian amateur silver medallist, who will perform in Victoria for the first time as a professional. Colantonio, 1-0 as a pro, will meet Jose Parades ­Hernandez, who is 5-5.

“Colantonio is a fast and ­technical boxer who wields impressive power,” said Heit.

“Will do well as a pro. Has incredible cardio and ­endurance.”

Also highlighted will be ­lightweight Reda Benbaziz of Algeria, 2-0 as a pro after ­winning gold in the 2015 African championships and placing fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The amateurs will also display prominently on the card, said Heit: “It’s not just the [four] professional bouts that make this event stand out. There is a huge lineup of amateur boxers [in 12 bouts] for Round 3. Some are Olympic hopefuls, some are ready to turn professional, and some are promising young boxers standing under the bright lights of a nationally televised event for the first time.”

Tickets are through ­

Heit, who has promoted ­several previous cards in ­Victoria, coaches Colantonio and Blazina. He also coaches Terris Smith, a Langford CPA, who is contending to represent ­Canada at the 2024 Paris ­Olympics.

“We decided to give Terris a rest this weekend,” said Heit.

“She has been really active of late, winning the Calgary Cup and both of her fights in Sooke [in the all-female West Coast Wonder Women card this month].”

Heit himself is a former national team boxer. He was a volunteer at the 1994 Commonwealth Games boxing practice venue at Oak Bay High when he thought to himself: ‘I can reach that level, too’ He did just that and one year later he made the Canadian team to the 1995 Pan Am Games in Argentina. Heit went 26-4 as an amateur but lost in the Canadian final bout to make the 1996 Atlanta Olympics before turning pro and moving to Los Angeles and finishing with a combined boxing, kick-boxing and MMA record of 42-5 with 34 knockouts.

Heit’s pro career was ­managed by Burt Young of Paulie fame from the Rocky franchise. After his fighting career, Heit worked as a body guard for actors Nicholas Cage, David Duchoveny and Drew Barrymore.

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