When it comes to boxing cards in Ontario, the Hershey Centre is the place to be.
United Boxing Promotions’ partners Don MacDonald and Tyler Buxton have been presenting four to six cards a year at the Hershey Centre since 2012. The next one is October 21.
“This is literally close to the highways, centrally-located, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area of Ajax, Hamilton, Orangeville, Barrie. You can’t beat the location,” Buxton told Peel Region Review.
“People call the Hershey Centre the Mecca of Boxing in Ontario. Over the last six to seven years, there have probably been more shows at the Hershey Centre than any other facility in Canada. When it comes to Ontario boxing, the Hershey Centre is where United Promotions puts on the most shows in one location.
“The VIPs usually sell out, and the high-end seats are packed. It all depends on who is on the card, but we have a massive local following.”
Multiple super welterweight champion Brandon (Bad Boy) Cook has fought 13 of his 19 pro bouts at the Hershey Centre, often for title belts.
“At the Hershey Centre, a lot of my family and friends come to watch me fight,” Cook said.
“That was the best thing about the Hershey Centre. Mississauga has been great, it’s the best venue around, but for me to get my career to another level I’ve got to go elsewhere and fight in other people’s backyards and get recognition from different countries. Everyone knows who I am at the Hershey Centre. We’re just looking at the long haul here now. I want a world title shot. I’d love to bring it back to Mississauga, but we just don’t have the money and the resources to do that.”
The October 21 card has nine scheduled bouts, headlined by Hamilton’s Josh O’Reilly (9-0, 3 knockouts) against Mexico’s Oscar Arjona (13-6-0) in a super welterweight fight. O’Reilly, 26, has won three of his last four fights by knockout, including a highlight-reel one last time out at the Hershey Centre in May.
“We decided we’d better give him another opportunity,” Buxton said. “He’s arguably the best lightweight in Ontario.”
Mississauga’s Helmand Meran Alekozai, a super lightweight who is 5-0 with two knockouts, is scheduled to fight on the card against an opponent to be announced.
Super welterweight Michael Affainie, another Mississauga product, puts his 6-0 record (three knockouts) against another opponent to be determined.
Many of the fighters on the card have had previous bouts at the Hershey Centre.