Most of 2005 had gone exactly as planned for Baltimore heavyweight Mike “the American Dream” Dietrich. Dietrich had spent much of the year tearing through local opposition on his way to an undefeated record, and acclaim as one of the regions hottest prospects, in the sport’s most glamorous division.
Following a devastating Dietrich knockout this past summer, former Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney, who helps train Dietrich, told Boxingtalk that Dietrich had the power and skill to rise to the very top of the heavyweight division.
On a cold night in December, Mike Dietrich’s American dream turned into a nightmare. Although details are still somewhat sketchy, what is known is that, following a breakup with his girlfriend, Dietrich was attacked at a friend’s house, suffering five deep stab wounds. Due to a large amount of blood loss, Dietrich’s condition was critical in the days following the attack, causing doctors to tell his family that he had only a 50/50 chance for survival. Now, having survived those initial critical days, Dietrich is expected to make a long, but full recovery, and hopes to resume his boxing career sometime next year.
This Friday night, at the Pikesville National Guard Armory in Pikesville, Maryland, promoter Jake Smith will host a benefit card for Dietrich, featuring many of Smith’s top prospects. The card is also Smith’s first offering of the 2006 season.
Headlining the card will be undefeated Baltimore super middleweight Tony “the Cyclone” Cygan. Cygan (9-0, 6 KOs) will face Billy Lyell (9-2, 2 KOs) of Warren, Ohio, in an eight-rounder.
The co-featured bout has Baltimore heavyweight Jed “the Punisher” Phipps (16-3, 9 KOs) taking on David Cleage (3-8-1, 1 KO) in a six-round contest. Phipps is coming off an impressive sixth-round stoppage of Dan Whetzel in Jake Smith’s final card of 2005 on December 7.
The undercard features a pair of local boxers making their professional debuts. Junior middleweight Jessie Niclow will face Lawrence Frisby (3-9, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Local cruiserweight Nick Collins will make his first professional start against Eddie Otts (0-1-1) of Salisbury, Maryland.
Also appearing on the undercard is Reston, Virginia super featherweight Dean “Pit Bull” White. White (11-4, 6 KOs) will face rugged journeyman Marty “Too Sweet” Robbins (21-29-1, 15 KOs) of Crossville, Tennessee.
In addition to proceeds from the card being donated to help pay for Mike Dietrich’s medical expenses, a silent auction will be conducted during the night, with those proceeds also going to Dietrich.
Dietrich, who plans on attending tomorrow night’s benefit, recently thanked his many friends and supporters on his website www.mikedietrich.com
“First of all, I would like to thank all of my friends, fans and supporters for the kind words and moral support. In these trying times it was your prayers and kind letters and emails that kept me going and helped me through the INTENSE pain. The night I was assaulted and brutally stabbed I felt my self slipping away and feel as though I died, until I was awoken by the EMTS, who I feel saved my life. The first couple of days I was in intensive care at Bayview Medical. The doctors told my family that there was a 50/50 chance that I would even survive. I was given 3 blood transfusions and I had tubes everywhere.
“My medical condition has greatly improved. A week after the attack, I now have 5 deep stab wounds that have to be packed twice daily to keep from getting infected. But I know that the pain is only temporary and that which does not kill me will only make me stronger. I was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve and will be home under a nurse's care.
“A breakup with a girl lead to a bad situation but you have to take the good with the bad. I just focus on the positive and thank god that I have another chance. I am going to dedicate my life to becoming the greatest boxer of all time! But first comes the battle of getting back to 100%. I would like to thank all of my fans for your support, I love you guys and you have my word that "I'll be back".
“PS - I want to thank my trainers Jake Smith, Jim Saufley and Kevin Rooney for their support throughout these difficult times. Im very lucky to have the best guys in the business sitting in my corner.”
Jake Smith is the promoter for tomorrow night’s card. The matchmaker is Josh Hall. The Pikesville Armory is located at 610 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, Maryland. For tickets or information call (410) 375-9175 or visit www.baltimoreboxing.com