Ajax, Barrie and Brantford fighters showcasing ‘significant’ boxing card at Woodbine Casino in Toronto


Published March 1, 2024 at 8:00 am

Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti in action at Brampton's CAA Centre against Richard Holmes. Photo Jeff Lockhart

The sparks may not be flying at this afternoon’s official weigh-in but there will certainly be some explosive action Saturday night when undefeated (17-0) Sukhdeep ‘Chakria’ Singh Bhatti of Ajax, United Promotion’s 2023 Fighter of the Year and the reigning IBO Asia-Pacific Super Welterweight and Canadian Middleweight champion, takes on Argentine Gino ‘El Aspero’ Godoy, who is 30-3 and winner of 24 of his last 25 fights.

The super welterweight fight is the co-main event, sharing top billing with a super lightweight bout between reigning IBO Americas and Canadian champion ‘Marvellous’ Mark Smither (12-0) of Barrie, who will duel former British champion Billy Allington (11-3-4) for another international championship.

The boxing card will unofficially open the 5,000-seat ‘Theatre’ at Great Canadian’s Woodbine Casino, with United Promotions welcoming fans and the media to the official weigh-in for all 12 fighters on the card Friday afternoon at 3.

Mark Smither (12-0) of Barrie

Ricardo ‘Big 12’ Brown, a Brantford resident and former Jamaican Olympian who has not gone beyond three rounds in his ten-fight career (half his opponents have been put on the canvas in the first round) is also on the card and will face Mexico’s Rafael Rojas (8-2) in a battle of heavyweights.

Brown trains at Dewith Frazer’s gym in Mississauga.

Other fights Saturday night include middleweight Natasha Spence (8-4-2) against Karina Ortiz of Mexico (3-0); featherweight Mike Cabatuan of Toronto (4-0-1) vs Jorge Diaz of Mexico (4-1-1) in a rematch of a fight from last April in Pickering that ended in a majority draw; and cruiserweight Milad Zareian of Sunderland (1-0) – a former pro soccer player – against Mexico’s Israel Huerta (0-1).

“This will be one of the most significant Ontario boxing events in recent memory,” said United Promotions president Tyler Buxton. “Our continuous goal has always been to bring world-level professional boxing to the Greater Toronto Area — and on March 2, we will do that at the largest casino in the country.”

Ricardo Brown against Pavel Sour at the Pickering Casino last September

Godoy, the top ranked super welterweight in Argentina, fought United boxer Brandon ‘Bad Boy’ Cook last April, losing by split decision. Since then he has defeated fellow Argentine Luis Castillo, knocking him down in the first and third rounds before winning on a TKO in the fourth.

Chakria’s last fight was an electrifying 14-second demolition of German-Turkish fighter Yaser Yuksel.

Smither, meanwhile, returns to the ring for the first time since claiming the IBO Americas title in front of a hometown crowd last July and will be backed by his legion of fans. Allington, who won the British Super Lightweight title in February of 2022 before losing it a year later, has been fighting in championship contests regularly since 2019.

Allington spoke to United ring announcer Carlos Verde about the fight and the Englishman left no doubt he’s coming to Canada to win.

“I plan to win there in Toronto, in a great arena, and then go on and become British champion,” Allingham said. “It’s truly a fantastic opportunity, and the sky’s the limit — if you don’t take advantage of opportunities like this, you won’t get them again. I’ll be as strategic as possible and have faith in myself and my team. When you’re in there with champions, drawing from those experiences, and having been a champion myself, I know I’ll be victorious.”

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