University alum Caleb Truax wasted no time in turning his professional boxing debut into his first professional win in April at the Target Center.
In dominative fashion, Truax (1-0) knocked his opponent to the mat three times before the referee called the bout in the second round.
It was an impressive debut for the Osseo native, and Friday night he will look to follow it up in what promoters are billing The Brawl in St. Paul: A Father’s Day Special at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
His opponent will be Bemidji native Nick Whitling (0-4).
Truax said he is better prepared both physically and mentally for Friday night’s match.
“I’ve been training real hard here for the last five weeks or so,” he said. “I really took what I learned from my last fight and made some adjustments.”
Truax’s training regimen has included sparring with Minneapolis native Jon Schmidt (2-0) and St. Paul native Matt “The Predator” Vanda (36-3), which he said has helped him pick up a variety of tricks and techniques.
Ron Lyke, Truax’s manager and trainer, said the opportunity to work against older and more experienced fighters is valuable to Truax’s development.
“He’s been holding his own against those guys,” he said. “He’s looking real good coming into this fight.”
Tony Grygelko, CEO of Seconds Out Promotions, who is putting on Friday night’s matches, said Truax is one of the best athletes and hardest workers he has ever seen.
“I think he can really make noise at the national level,” he said. “Everyone in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest thinks this kid can go a long way.”
Truax’s opponent, Whitling, comes into the match with an unfavorable record due to his battles with some tough opponents.
His last fight occurred on St. Patrick’s Day in Hinckley, where he dropped a tight decision to an undefeated Dave Peterson (8-0).
Lyke said Whitling will make Truax work hard for any type of victory as he brings to the table a whole different type of fighter than Truax’s last opponent, Ray Walker.
“He’s a real tough guy who’s lost to some real good fighters,” he said. “But he’ll be coming to fight Ö no ducking or hiding.”
It was the ducking and hiding in Truax’s last match that frustrated him, along with Lyke.
Truax said Friday night’s bout will hopefully give him a chance to display more of his skills.
“I want to go out there and show some more combos, things I couldn’t show last time,” he said. “Hopefully I will get a few good rounds in.”
Friday night’s match, a potential sellout that will feature some of Minnesota’s best fighters, will give Truax another opportunity to do battle in front of a hometown crowd.
It’s something that he is looking forward to.
“Last time the crowd response was amazing,” he said. “I’m looking to deliver the same performance to get the same response Friday.”