(L-R)- Head trainer Peter Manfredo, Sr., featherweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary,. Mentor Dan Crotty and adviser Seth DeRobbio
PROVIDENCE, RI – Featherweight prospect Toka “T Nice” Kahn-Clary (22-1, 15 KOs) will headline his fist show Saturday night, October 19 at Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta, promoted by Hall-of-Famer Evander Holyfield‘s Real Deal Sports & Management, in a 10-round bout against Braulio “El Chavo” Rodriguez for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas featherweight title.
The once-beaten, Liberia-born Kahn-Clary, fighting out of Providence (RI). is coming off an impressive eight-round unanimous decision this past June against Angel Luna (11-2-1) in Louisville.
“I very happy about fighting in my first main event,” the popular 25-year-old Kahn-Clary said. “I’m going to put on a show to let everybody know who I am. I’m very excited to be fighting for my first pro title. A victory will put me in the top 15 in the world, as well as make me more marketable and better known in boxing.”
Kahn-Clary was a decorated amateur boxer, compiling an outstanding 131-11 record and collecting numerous medals at national tournaments, highlighted by him capturing a gold medal at the 2010 U.S. National Golden Globes Championships. He was also a silver medalist at the 2009 National Golden Gloves Championships and 2011 U.S. National Championships, in addition to being bronze medalist at the 2012 U.S. Nationals Championships.
Rodriguez (19-2, 17 KOs), who was the WBC super featherweight champion two years ago, is a heavy-handed, battle-tested Dominican. He will be fighting in the United States for the first time as a professional.
“He’s a tough kid who, I think, should be 20-1 because I watched his last fight and he should have gotten the decision (LSDEC8 to 12-0-1 Alberto Mercado in Puerto Rico),” Kahn-Clary noted. “He’s very awkward and fights in spurts. I need to be smart and use my experience.”
Kahn-Clary vs. Rodriguez, is somewhat of a crossroads fight with career-critical future implications for both fighters with the winner advancing to the next level, while the loser could become a permanent opponent.
(Photo by Emily Harney)
“This is the big fight for Toka,” his advisor Seth DeRobbio explained. “I think it’ll be a good fight. His opponent is a big puncher with 17 knockouts in 19 wins. Toka has an opportunity to showcase his talents in a main event for the first time. Stopping a guy like this who has never been knocked out can be huge for Toka.
“Everything depends on this fight. In his last fight, the opponent kept coming forward and that didn’t allow Toka to showcase all his skills. It’s difficult boxing as you back up, but Toka proved that he can fight like that if needed. All Toka’s skills will be on display this fight. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Kahn-Clary vs. Rodriguez was originally slated to be held September 30 in Louisville, but venue issues forced the postponement and subsequent relocation to Atlanta.
“I was upset that the fight was pushed back only because my weight was on point,” Kahn-Clary admitted,” but fighters need to adjust in and out of the ring and everything is good. Some good came out of it, though. I found more video of my opponent to watch, and additional training and sparring helps, too.”
“The postponement actually helps us,” DeRobbio added. “It gives us three additional weeks to train to prepare for the biggest fight of Toka’s life. At this stage of his career every fight for Toka from here on out will be his biggest fight of his career.”