McCrary aims to erase bad memories against Franjic in main event

Title: McCrary aims to erase bad memories against Franjic in main event
Date: December 6, 2012
Original Source: The Edmonton Journal
Synopsis: I am doing a short internship over the holidays at The Edmonton Journal. My latest piece was a preview of a local boxing card following weigh-ins. This article appeared in the Dec. 7 edition of the Edmonton Journal.

EDMONTON – Sometimes when a fighter is called in on short notice as a replacement, a bout can lose some of its lustre.

But well-travelled veteran Donny (The Savage) McCrary didn’t accept his first fight in three years and make the trek from Kansas City, Mo., to be a stepping-stone.

McCrary will face undefeated light heavyweight up-and-comer (Silent) Steve Franjic in the main event Friday night at the Shaw Conference Centre as part of KO Boxing’s Sudden Impact card.

Franjic was originally scheduled to face Akinyemi (AK-47) Laleye, who had to pull out after he was injured in training last week.

McCrary, a former contestant on the reality boxing series The Contender, left the fight game a few years back after losing five out of six fights. Fed up with improper training, a lack of sparring partners and some tough luck, McCrary stopped boxing. He argues he wouldn’t call it retirement, but three years can be an eternity in the boxing world.

Despite the frustrations, McCrary was drawn back in due to his love of the sport.

“I don’t call it retirement,” said the 24-10-2 McCrary. “That’s when you collect a pension. The last year and a half I’ve been telling myself, because I love the sport, jump back in, give it another shot.”

McCrary will be looking to erase some bad memories, such as the time he was knocked out after dropping his gloves to catch a glimpse of himself on a big screen above the ring. But he’s wiser now and, even with the layoff, nothing’s changed in his opinion.

“I’ll fight smarter. But it’s still hit and don’t get hit,” said McCrary.

He’ll have his hands full in the 10-round fight, as Franjic is a well-regarded Canadian prospect. Ranked second in the Canadian light heavyweight division, according to the Canadian Boxing Council, Franjic could soon be a contender for the vacant Canadian light-heavyweight c hampionship.

“That’s definitely in my mind,” said Franjic, who is 8-0-1 with five knockouts. “But I can’t look past Friday night.”

It could be a tough adjustment for the 25-year-old from Toronto, as preparing for a particular opponent for weeks can make it difficult to switch strategies on short notice. Still, Franjic is confident his preparation and skill have him ready for McCrary.

“It happens,” Franjic said. “You’ve just gotta be ready. Our work was done in the gym. It’s the same thing, I’m just looking for a win.”

Also making the trip from Toronto is Lexton Bates, who, after a successful amateur career, will make his professional debut against 2-0 Cam O’Connell in a super featherweight bout.

“I’m feeling great,” said Bates. “I did a lot to get here. I’ve been getting ready for the pros for sixth months now.”

Bates will need to adjust to the pro style, having just fought a pair of amateur bouts in Niagara Falls, Ont., last weekend. O’Connell, who didn’t attend weigh-ins due to traffic issues, is also a decorated amateur boxer who recently made the transition to the professional world.

“I’ve got to try and stay out of the amateur style,” said Bates, referencing the fact that amateur boxing is points-based, sometimes encouraging quantity of punches over quality combinations.

Bates won’t be the only fighter making his professional debut on the card, as the Joel Mills-trained Layne McTaggert will get his feet wet against Edmonton’s Steve MacGillivary in a super middleweight bout. MacGillivary is 3-0, having won his two most recent fights against Brad Soanes.

Soanes is also on the card, in a rematch of his August 2011 bout against Paul Bzdel. In that fight, the 3-2-1 Bzdel edged the 2-3-1 Soanes in a six-round split decision.

“It’ll be the same thing,” said Soanes. “We both bring a lot of heart and want to put on a good show. Hopefully, my hand gets raised.”

Soanes and Bzdel aren’t the only rematch, as Brandy (The Cyclone) Badry will look to defeat Maria Bastasin for the second time this year. In June, Badry won a unanimous decision against Bastasin in her first professional fight.

Also on the card is a battle of undefeated heavyweights, as 3-0 Nick Dragich will take on Jared Kilkenny, also 3-0.

In a middleweight bout, 0-1 Max Gagne, another former Soanes opponent, will welcome Matt Jelly to the professional ranks in his debut fight.

The fraternity of boxers in Western Canada is relatively small, which made for a friendly and intimate setting at Thursday’s weigh-ins. Friday night is shaping up to be much less friendly once the bell sounds.

Fights will begin at 7 p.m.


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