Goossen has high hopes for heavyweight trio!


Goossen has high hopes for heavyweight trio!

 In this era of professional boxing where there is no clear-cut, dominant world heavyweight champion, promoter Dan Goossen – undeterred by the recent highly-disputed decision loss sustained by his highest-ranked heavyweight James “Lights Out” Toney – is looking forward to the continued rise of a trio of talented boxers managed by Steve Munisteri and having them make a major impact in the division in 2007.


Two of them – Travis “Freight Train” Walker (21-0-1, 17 KOs) and Raphael “The Silencer” Butler (20-3, 16 KOs) – have been given credit for putting former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko into retirement after dominating him in sparring sessions while preparing for a title defense he never made against Hasim Rahman last year.  The third – Malcolm Tann (20-2, 11 KOs) -- has won all four of his fights in 2006 following elbow surgery on his left arm.  The trio has combined to accumulate an impressive 16-1 record in 2006, and each boxer reached the 20-win plateau in the process.


The 27-year old Walker, from Tallahassee, Florida was recently featured on the James Toney-Samuel Peter undercard at LA’s Staples Center and scored an impressive second-round TKO win over John Clark.  Walker has won all seven of his bouts this year with 5 of them by knockout.  Walker takes the next step on November 17 when he takes on undefeated 2004 US Olympic representative Jason Estrada.In this match up, which will open that evening’s “ShoBox:  The New Generation” telecast, Walker will be out to extract some revenge on Estrada who was awarded a controversial decision victory in their super heavyweight battle at the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials. “This is a big fight for Travis for two reasons.  Television exposure and revenge:  a victory puts him in the top 10 of the world,” exclaimed Munisteri.



By all accounts, Butler looks back on track toward the potential he showed kicking off his career with ten wins (8 KOs).  The 22-year old Rochester, Minnesota native has looked impressive in registering knockout wins in his last three bouts, and he weighed a career low 243 pounds in his most recent outing after fighting most of his career in the 260 range.  “I want to keep Butler active and hope to get as many as three more fights for him before the end of the year, and then get him that defining fight,” Munisteri stated.


Fighting out of Chandler, Arizona and billed as “The Showstopper,” Tann has made major strides to return to form in 2006 following a courageous loss to Domonic Jenkins during which the 28-year old sustained a broken eardrum and re-injured a previously broken ankle and left elbow during the bout.  The elbow injury required post-fight surgery to remove bone fragments and a six-month rehabilitation period.  In his most recent fight last week, Tann decisioned Sedreck Fields, who beat Shannon Briggs and also lost a close decision to current WBO heavyweight champion Serguei Lyakhovich, who is scheduled to challenge Briggs for his title in November.  Like Butler, Munisteri plans for Tann, a former Air Force war veteran, to fight as many as three more times before year-end.  Said Munisteri, “since I signed Tann right out of his tour in Operation Enduring Freedom, I’ve always had faith in him.  It’s taken a little longer to get to where he is today, but I believe he can achieve big things in the heavyweight division.”


“In the heavyweight division we've seen that losing and adversity sometimes prepares you to succeed reaching for the world title,” Goossen pointed out.  “Look at (Wladimir) Klitschko, (Oleg) Maskaev and Lyakhovich.  All three are champions and all three have losses on their records.


“Travis, Raphael and Malcolm have all experienced some level of adversity in their careers. The strong can survive, learn, and conquer.


“In 2007, I expect this to hold true for these three hungry young men,” Goossen concluded.