Tonawanda News — For the first time in New York State history, boxing and mixed martial arts fans alike can flock to the same location.
TNT Fights – known for putting on amateur MMA events – will put together an event consisting of 10 boxing and 10 MMA fights at Sportsplex in North Tonawanda tonight.
For Victory MMA promoter Don Lilly, he sees this as an opportunity to prove to New York State that it should legalize professional MMA fighting. As the law states now, only amateurs can legally fight and the state does not provide insurance for the MMA participants.
On the other hand, boxing is completely sanctioned and insured.
“We are looking to broaden the horizons in showing there’s a sport in boxing that’s approved and a cloud over MMA. My intention on this night is to show the state ‘look what we’re doing,’’ Lilly said. “Look how organized it is.’”
TNT fights has held multiple amateur MMA events since its legalization two years ago. This, however, will be the first event consisting of both boxing and MMA.
One of the men boxing on Saturday will be North Tonawanda’s John Nuchereno. This will be only Nuchereno’s second fight since joining the gym, but he is excited for the opportunity to fight in his community.
“It’s great fighting in front of your friends and family because it makes you go that much harder,” Nuchereno said. “I’m ready to go and it’s going to be awesome having everyone cheering me on. I’m looking forward to it.”
Nuchereno won his initial fight since changing gyms, but thinks he has become an even more dangerous boxer since.
“I feel great,” Nuchereno said. “I feel like there’s no possible way I can lose this fight. I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in probably ever. (I) feel stronger and faster than I’ve ever felt, so I’m excited to get back in there.”