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July 7, 2014 at 12:56pm

Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski part of ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights July 11

Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski, right, will be the main event of the ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights at Little Creek Casino, July 11. Courtesy photo

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Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski (14-0-1 10KO) continues his rise in the boxing ranks when he returns to the ring at Little Creek Casino, in Shelton, July 11 as the main event of a televised ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights event. Gavronski's climb from Hilltop to Mountaintop has been firm, steady, ever steeper and ever higher. His recent win over Nathan Bedwell, in Chicago shows he is on track and if he continues the progress, a shot at a world title will be waiting.

Boxing is a severe sport. The more brutal the fight, the greater the fan approval. Gavronski never disappoints and has become a northwest hero in the ring. He banged his way to the interim Global Boxing Organization super middleweight title by winning a brutal bout against Tristan Todd in what many boxing fans considered the best fight in Washington history. The fight had the fans on their feet, a bloodlust they felt but did not really believe. They wanted to see someone hurt, pummeled, beaten because they wanted to see how much punishment a person can endure and still prevail, just the kind of fight Gavronski enjoys.

In the first round, Todd broke Gavronski's jaw in two places. Because his jaw was hanging, Gavronski worried that the referee might stop the fight so he used his tongue to keep the jaw pushed into place. Gavronski never stopped fighting and won by TKO in the last round.

Gavronski is following in the footsteps of such famous Tacoma boxers as Rocky Lockridge, Sugar Ray Seals, Johnny Bumphus, Leo Randolf and Irish Pat McMurtry.

His climb up the mountain may not be as difficult as his climb to adulthood has been. He was raised in Hilltop Tacoma in a violent and dangerous family, a tumultuous environment of which no kid should be subjected. Gavronski made decisions that would have been difficult for most adults. He has always understood what was best for him.

By the age of 13, life had become so precarious at home that he asked his grandparents if he could live with them. They agreed and eventually adopted him. They had both been previously married and each had four children. "They consider me the child they had together," he said. They saved his life.

Like so many young people in tough situations, Gavronski turned to boxing as a way to vent his aggressions and as a possible way to rise in the sporting world. In the amateurs he quickly realized his talent in 50 bouts with only eight losses. He fought well against present world contenders like Daniel Jacobs and Sean Porter.

Boxing is a precarious business. Everyone claims to be an expert and they often offer the moon to a young man eager for fame. Gavronski fell into several of these traps before finding Sam Ditusa, a trainer/manager from Seattle with a reputation for knowledge and honesty. Thinking the move was premature they recently rejected a promotional contract with Banner Promotions, one of the largest and most successful promoters in the world. Banner has handled such fighters as Ricky Hatton, Cristobal Cruz, Verno Phillips, Dmitry Pirog, Ruslin Provodankov and heavyweight champion Chris Byrd.

Gavronski has managed to avoid the seamier side of boxing, especially concerning drugs. He saw too many lives destroyed in the Hilltop area. He avoids any associations with fighters, especially ex-fighters, involved with drugs, and has even changed gyms for protection.

Unlike many emerging fighters who refuse to hold a regular job, Gavronski has always worked. "There is no such thing as a bad, or meaningless job," he said. He has held a job for as long as he can remember.

Maintaining a job and finding the time to train can be difficult. He presently works for Cloudy Sky Tree Services, in Auburn. The owner is a boxing fan and has no trouble giving Gavronski time off to occasionally train in different parts of the country and to attend fights. Gavronski knows that sparring and training in different places and with as many boxers as possible is essential for success.  

Gavronski would like to fight every month, but with the decline in boxing interest, bouts are difficult to find. He is also coming up against the problem of many decent emerging boxers - no one wants to fight him.

Little Creek Casino is doing their part to promote local fighters and hopes to be a regular venue for television fights. Lakewood's undefeated Marquise Weston is also on a card that features Art Houhannisyan (17-1-2 9KO) VS Jonathan Maicelo (17-1-0 11KO) in the co-main event.

The peak of the mountain is within view and if Gavronski stays on track he might possibly be fighting for a world championship within two years. The climb to the top is difficult, but the view is spectacular. Gavronski wants a good look.

Filed under: Sports, Tacoma, Lakewood,
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