On Thursday, August 20th, Salita Promotions will kick off a series of no-spectator "Detroit Brawl" shows at Detroit’s famous Kronk Gym. Super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin (11-0, 6 KOs including the World Series of Boxing) faces Mexico’s Oscar “El Monstruo” Riojas (21-13-1, 10 KOs) in the ten-round main event. The entire show will be livestreamed on UFC Fight Pass (7pm ET/4pm PT). Trained by SugarHill Steward a/k/a Javan Hill at the Kronk Gym, the 28 year-old Shishkin first made his presence felt in his United States debut in August of last year, registering an eighth-round technical knockout against then once-beaten DeAndre Ware.
A former amateur standout in Russia who now lives in Detroit, the 6’1” Shishkin scored 301 wins in 330 fights before turning pro in 2016. Having  professional fights, Shishkin's best win is a 2018 victory over veteran Nadjib Mohammedi via TKO. Shishkin was last seen scoring a dominant unanimous decision over then-undefeated Ulises Sierra in January of this year. “It is an honor to be fighting in the first event at the legendary gym where I train and have learned so much about fighting as a professional,” said Vladimir Shishkin. “And with the reach of UFC Fight Pass, my fight can be watched by my fans across the USA and back home in Russia. I will work hard to put on a spectacular performance worthy of this recognition.”
Riojas is a hard-nosed slugger who always comes to fight, win or lose, regardless of the opponent’s reputation. The 36 year-old veteran says he uses his fight purses to operate a café in Mexico and to support his extended family including his parents. Better than his record, Riojas has been on the controversial end of some decisions and says he’s ready for war against who he calls the untested Shishkin. “I always come for war, no matter who I face,” said Riojas. “My Russian opponent is undefeated, but he has never been in the trenches with a true warrior. We are going to see if he is what they say he is on August 20th. Tell him to be ready.”
Originally run out of the basement of the oldest recreation center of the City of Detroit, the legendary Kronk Gym rose to prominence under the guidance of hall-of-fame trainer, Emanuel Steward, in the 1980s. Producing such homegrown greats including Hall of Famer Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, lightweight champion Hilmer Kenty, WBC welterweight Champion Milton McCrory, IBF lightweight king Jimmy Paul, and WBC junior middleweight champ Duane Thomas among many others.
After Steward's death, Kronk Gym relocated to a modern new Detroit facility in 2015, under the guidance of Steward’s nephew, Javan SugarHill Steward, who has gone on to forge his own growing reputation, working with a new group of fighting champions and contenders, including WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury.
“This will be a historic fight because Emanuel was trying to do something just like this before he died,” said SugarHill. “He did amateur shows at the gym but a big pro show like this is something he was working on. To continue his legacy like this is amazing. It’s going to be fire.”
“It’s great to kick off this exciting series from the legendary Kronk Gym in the historic boxing city of Detroit and fulfill the hunger of boxing fans and fighters alike who are craving hard-hitting action,” said Dmitriy Salita. “The main event will be a tough test for world-ranked rising star Vladimir Shishkin, and we have several more high-profile fights that we will be announcing shortly. I am thrilled to be able to showcase these fighters to the fight-savvy UFC Fight Pass audience.”