Elite athletes are typically able to reach extraordinary heights in their careers by making the most of the opportunities that are presented to them.  Last summer, James “Boom Boom” Mancini signed a multi-fight contract with TKO in the hopes of doing just that.

After a successful start to his career, Mancini had fallen to 2-3 but was always at a slight disadvantage size-wise against his opponents in the bantamweight division.  With the flyweight division now open on an international scale, the Montreal native made the decision to transition to 125 pounds in the hopes it would bring great success… and it has.

In just over 6 months, Mancini had won 3 consecutive fights in his new weight class and was more dominant than ever.  “It was a big step in the right direction”, he recalled.  “It meant a lifestyle change that turned out to be for the better.  The reality of the sport is that if you’re not striving to improve technically and physically in every avenue, then you’re not improving.

On the heels of that winning streak, Mancini has now earned the opportunity he has longed for: a chance at the TKO flyweight championship.

The man holding that tile, Malcom “X” Gordon does not see things the same way.  At 28 years old, Gordon is in the prime of his career and is unanimously regarded as the top 125 pounder in Canada.  Having won 4 of his last 5 fights, his lone loss coming at a higher weight, Gordon intends to add another victory to his record and vanquish Mancini in his hometown.

There is going to be plenty of pressure on him not to embarrass himself in front of his family and friends” said the champion.  “I’ve made a career off traveling to other people’s hometowns and collecting belts so there’s nothing new here.

Mancini is very much aware that beating Gordon will be no simple feat and has been working very hard with his team at the Tristar Gym to prepare what he hopes will be the perfect game plan to go home with the gold.  “This title fight is big” noted Mancini.  “It’s the culmination of years of hard work and preparation in all my athletic endeavours,  I am thankful it’s against a world class opponent.  This camp has been the fear of the known: we know how good he is so it’s motivating to work day in and day out.

The feeling is somewhat similar for Gordon: everyone knows Mancini is the highest level of wrestler you can find and that has been his bread and butter throughout his career.  The question is now how can he counter it.  “I don’t think wrestling alone wins fights so Mancini is more or less a one trick pony” said Gordon.  “I expect to be taken down at some point in this fight but can’t remember once where I have felt in danger off my back.

This fight promises to be an interesting chess match of action, reaction and adjustments between two incredible athletes with the ultimate prize at stake.  It’s Mancini vs Gordon for the TKO flyweight title at TKO Fight Night 1 on Thursday, August 2nd.  Limited tickets are available by calling (514) 700-1909.

– Story by Patrick Lono, TKO