Butler-Binkowski ready to rumble on Friday night


Butler-Binkowski ready to rumble on Friday night

PRESS RELEASE: Former National Golden Glove champion takes on one-time US Olympian when heavyweights Raphael Butler and Art Binkowski step into the ring at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Friday, April 6, 2007.


Scheduled for eight rounds, the Butler-Binkowski co-feature will open the Showtime telecast of the “SHOBOX:  The New Generation” presentation.  The televised main event on the fight card billed as “Heavyweight Explosion” -- a co-promotion between Goossen Tutor Promotions and SecondsOut Promotions – pits Travis “Freight Train” Walker (22-0-1, 17 KOs) against George “El Torito” Garcia (13-0, 4 KOs) in a battle of unbeaten heavyweights.


Butler (25-3, 20 KOs), the 2004 National Golden Gloves Champion, from nearby Rochester, Minnesota, will have a large contingent of family, friends and fans rooting him on in his second appearance at the Target Center.  In his first outing there back in January, the 23-year-old knockout artist, who is trained by Dickie Wood, was well ahead on points when he defeated veteran Louis Monaco via disqualification.


“I am very excited about coming back home to fight again on such a big stage,” Butler said.  “This fight on Showtime is a big opportunity to show the world that I am a fighter to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division.  I plan on knocking this guy out.”


The 32-year-old Binkowski (14-1-3, 9 KO), a native of Bielewa, Poland, who moved to Canada at age 12 and now lives in Chicago, Illinois, a city with a large Polish population, took up boxing training at the Arnold Boehn Boxing Academy – the same gym which produced former Olympic Gold Medalist and Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis – Binkowski went on to represent Canada in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.  He has been a pro since 2001.


Many boxing fans who may “think” they will be seeing “The Polish Warrior” for the first time on the Showtime telecast when he squares off against Butler will be mistaken.  Those who saw the compelling 2005 big screen story of former world heavyweight champion James J. Braddock, “Cinderella Man,” caught their first glimpse of Binkowski playing the role of boxer Corn Griffin, who knocked Braddock (portrayed by Russell Crowe) down in the second round and was subsequently decked later in the round and stopped the next.  Binkowski has another similar role in an upcoming boxing movie – “Resurrecting the Champ” – starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett.


“I am looking forward to getting back into the ring for real, even as the underdog,” Binkowski, who is managed by former boxer Brian Nix and trained by Everton McEwan, declared.  “I hear that Butler is pretty good, but he is no Russell Crowe (laughing).  He may have his supporters on hand, but so will I.  Chicago is not that far away and Minneapolis also has a large Polish population.  I will feed off the crowd, use my skills and power to beat Butler and give Showtime its own Cinderella story.”


Steve Munisteri, who manages both Butler and Walker, chimed in:  “Both Raphael and I saw ‘Cinderella Man.’ If Binkowski thinks he is playing Cinderella in this fight, he had better be ready for the clock to strike midnight – and to go into the movies on a full-time basis.”