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Combat sports heat up in area

- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

The local "combat sport" scene -- the new term to combine the sports of boxing and mixed martial arts -- heats up this weekend with local shows tonight at Patriot Center and the D.C. Armory, part of a resurgence of such events in the area that will continue throughout the month.

Falls Church favorite and middleweight contender Jimmy Lange brings another show to the George Mason campus tonight, when he faces Fontaine Cabell in a rematch for the vacant 154-pound World Boxing Council Continental Americas title.

Across the river at the Armory, the District will hold its first professional mixed martial arts show when former UFC and PRIDE organization fighters meet in the ring -- not an octagon cage, as is done with UFC. The main events feature Homer Moore vs. Fabiano Capoani and Amir Rahnavardi vs. Nino Schembri.

Three months ago, the District Boxing and Wrestling Commission gave its approval to mixed martial arts, but without the cage. It will be the second combat sports event at the Armory in two weeks. The last one was April 27, an ESPN2 boxing show with poor attendance.

Lange's shows at Patriot Center have drawn strong crowds of up to 5,000 people, including his last bout against Cabell (22-6-2, 16 knockouts) in December that ended in a draw. He will have legendary trainer Angelo Dundee in his corner, the third time Dundee has come to Fairfax to work with Lange (27-3-2, 19 knockouts).

Also appearing on the card is Dean White (14-6-1, seven knockouts) of Smithburg, Md., against Damian Fuller (27-4-1, 12 knockouts) of Detroit in a scheduled eight-round lightweight bout. Former light heavyweight champion William Guthrie is scheduled to face Jaime Palma.

Next Friday, boxing makes its debut at Rosecroft Raceway in a "Night of Ponies and Pugilists" show, which will feature racing and seven scheduled bouts, including heavyweights Phil Brown (5-0) and Wayne Hampton (5-4) and lightweights Carney Bowman (6-0) and Jorge Lara (2-3).

Other Rosecroft racing and boxing shows are scheduled for Aug. 3 and Oct. 19.

On May 25, boxing returns to the D.C. Armory in another ESPN2 show that will feature the undefeated Peterson brothers from the District. Anthony Peterson (22-0, 16 knockouts) and Lamont Peterson (20-0, eight knockouts) will appear in separate bouts.

Finally on May 31, Ballroom Boxing at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, Md., continues with another live boxing show.