NBC-10 sports director Vai Sikahema will meet Jose Canseco in a three-round celebrity boxing match at Bernie Robbins Stadium
Saturday night, July 12, a new twist on boxing hits Atlantic City. Yes, there will be six boxing matches taking place at Bernie Robbins Stadium, home of the Atlantic City Surf, but the match drawing national media attention is the celebrity showdown between former Major League Baseball slugger Jose Canseco and former Philadelphia Eagle and current NBC-10 sports director Vai Sikahema.
YouTube features clips of Sikahema being trained by former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. The exhibition match will be three two-minute rounds. The evening of boxing is being put together by Pennsylvania based promoter Damon Feldman and his Celebrity Boxing Federation. After reaching out to Canseco, who has made national headlines for his book Juiced, covering the rampant steroid use in baseball, the promoter and athlete agreed on a two-fight deal.
Feldman said over 3,000 people contacted him about the open challenge to take on the former Oakland A's outfielder. Everyone from William "The Refrigerator" Perry to John Wayne Bobbitt expressed interest, but Feldman says Sikahema provides the best local draw.
In a piece that aired on NBC-10, which can now be seen on YouTube, the sports anchor said he is running five to six miles a day and doing two to three rounds of boxing a couple times a week. Sikahema, who hails from the Island of Tango in the South Pacific, does have a fighting background, previously participating in Philadelphia area celebrity boxing events. Prior to his NFL days, Sikahema competed in the National Golden Gloves.
"After being in the ring with two guys who had considerable boxing experience I felt absolutely supremely confident that [against] a guy that big with no boxing experience I would be able to handle myself," Sikahema says of Canseco during a story that appeared on NBC-10.
He played eight seasons in the NFL, including one with the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of his career. After scoring a touchdown in a game against the New York Giants, the former running back/kick returner created a memorable "goalpost punching" routine. The retired NFL player also participated in two Pro Bowl as a member of the Cardinals.
Saturday night, Sikahema, 5-foot-9, 200 pounds of solid muscle, will be giving up a huge size advantage to Canseco's 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame.
But the television personality doesn't seemed to be worried about being the little man in the ring. Plus, he is going to have former heavyweight champion Holmes in his corner.
"I will take him out," Sikahema says of Canseco in another television interview. "In the third round it will be over so get to your seats early."
Canseco, the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year, hit 462 career home runs.
Sikahema, who is getting paid $5,000 for the fight, said he will be donating his purse to the Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski family fund. Earlier this year, the 12-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department was killed at the scene of a bank robbery.
Feldman says he is looking forward to making his Atlantic City debut.
"I thought it would be neat to do an outside event," he says. "I have a great undercard with six pro fights."
Ticket prices range from $100 (VIP) to $30. They will be available for purchase at Bernie Robbins Stadium.
There is a pre-fight weigh-in at Providence inside The Quarter at Tropicana on Friday, July 11, at 6pm.
Here's an NBC 10 clip on Vai's training:
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