PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                            April 22, 2011


Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact




Cruiserweight Garrett Wilson steps back into the ring with the far more experienced and  accomplished Omar Sheika Saturday night at Caesars Atlantic City. The two fighters met a little more than a year ago, but the result was disappointing for Wilson and Philly boxing fans.

Wilson, known as the Ultimate Warrior, was doing quite well against the 28-9 former four-time world title challenger in that first bout when he was caught with one of Sheika's trademark bombs. The fact that Wilson was clowning instead of capitalizing when he got hit, has launched twelve months of  "what ifs?" for the local boxer and his growing following.

But on that night, March 26, 2010, Wilson wasn't supposed to win. At just 7-3, Wilson took the first fight with his usual plucky self-confidence that whispers to him that half of success is just showing up. Wilson showed up last year and attempted to catch Sheika sleeping against an opponent not in the same class as the world-rankers he was used to. And the truth is, Wilson almost pulled it off. Were it not for his playful over-confidence in the heat of the battle - that self-destructive streak that masks itself as swagger - who knows what would have happened? What if?

Tomorrow night Wilson gets the chance to answer those haunting questions in his main event rematch with the 34 year old veteran. Better yet, the fight also offers the opportunity for the winner to walk away with the USBA cruiserweight belt.

At 9-5-1 with 4 KOs and coupled with that nagging 4th round TKO loss in the first fight, Wilson enters the fight as a solid underdog against the 30-10 (21 KO) Sheika. But Sheika, a 14-year vet, has some real mileage on him. And what if Garrett Wilson can will himself to a big win. 

The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds.  That distance is a breeze for Sheika, who's been either 10 or 12 rounds a total of nine times. Wilson has never been scheduled to go more than eight rounds, and he's only done it once (in his draw with Andres Taylor last year).

But this is not a fight that Wilson figures to win by decision. It seems clear that his opportunity lies in his ability to press Sheika, make him uncomfortable, use his will and work ethic to produce a knockout opportunity. He can deliver quite a wallop himself. So if he get's himself into that position, chances are Garrett Wilson will go for broke and do his best to pull the upset. But he better keep his hands up! 

Wilson is one of the most likable guys I've come in contact with while covering the local fight scene. He's got that can-do attitude and a willingness to fight anyone anywhere. And with a wife and a swarm of kids at home, he's a 28 year old fighter looking for a big chance. Against Sheika, that chance is staring him right in the face. I like his chances Saturday night, but he has to play to his strengths and really go for the win. Sheika is too experienced to let Wilson pull off anything subtle. If things get off to a bad start, and Wilson finds himself behind, he needs to make that KO happen. I know he is willing and I think he is able. 

Garrett Wilson and his trainer Rodney Rice




John DiSanto - News & Notes - April 22, 2011