'Pride and Glory' Kenan professional fight card is tonight
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
If Amer Abdallah and Tiawan Howard like each other, then they sure know how to hide their true feelings.
The featured combatants in tonight’s main event of “Pride and Glory,” a 13-bout professional kickboxing fight card at the Kenan Center Arena, glared unaffectionately at each other following Friday night’s official weigh-in at Lock 34 downtown.
Lockport’s Abdallah (12-0), weighing in at 187 pounds, and Cleveland’s “The Iron Dragon” Howard (16-5, 10-9 MMA), weighing in at 187.6 pounds, will square off in a seven-round light heavyweight main bout sanctioned by the World Kickboxing Association.
“I’m a fighter. I came here to fight,” said Howard, who’s been fighting mixed martial arts professionally throughout the Northeast United States and Ontario, Canada for the past six years.
“I think Saturday night’s going to be seven rounds of pure hell. I’m 110 percent confident in my own abilities. I’m skillful. He’s just a brawler,” said Howard, who has 22 years martial arts experience, 20 professional Mixed Martial Arts fights and is known in local kickboxing circles as “Mini-Tyson” for his knockout power.
Abdallah, the reigning WKA United States Light Heavyweight Champion, said his confident foe has it in reverse.
“Obviously, height is going to be a big difference and I’ll do what I can to use that to my advantage,” said the undefeated Town of Lockport gym owner Abdallah, who’s hoping to use this fight as another springboard toward his ultimate goal — a world title shot.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a long and painful night for him,” Abdallah said. “When the bell rings, he’s what’s standing in the way of my world title shot.”
Abdallah captured his coveted title a year ago when he dethroned then No. 1 ranked Francois “Bang Bang” Ambang, then went on to successfully defend the title on April 14 of this year against T.J. Gibson in a 10-round war — both fights at the Kenan Arena.
Among other locals on today’s card (doors open at 6 p.m., first fight at about 7 p.m.) are Lockport’s Pat Thompson, who weighed in at 205.6 pounds. Thompson (13-2), who has fought in past Kenan cards (including a victory last year) will take on Cleveland’s Anthony Winfrey.
“It’s a little nerve racking out there in front of your family and friends, because you want to win so bad — for them, for yourself and for the gym,” said Thompson, a former Golden Gloves champion, “but it’s what you work hard for.”
“I watched Winfrey fight one time. He’s strong, with knockout power. I’m going to try and use my height to my advantage and tire him out,” Thompson said.
In both Abdallah and Thompson’s corner will be Lockport’s Corey Webster, a popular middleweight in the ring-turned respected trainer.
“Pat’s definitely one of the hardest working guys in the gym. He puts in a lot of hard work,” Webster said.
Sponsors of the event include Local Edge, Mulvey Construction, All Metal Works and Cain, Witlin & Dry Accountants. Papa Leos will provide concessions.
Tickets for the fight card will be available at the door.