All eyes will be on Andrew Singh Kooner this Saturday night when he takes to the ring against Mexico’s Jose Silveira as both fighters will battle for the North American Boxing Association (NABA) bantam weight title at the Powerade Centre in Brampton.
This will be a special fight for Kooner as he will fight close to his hometown for the first time since turning pro and will no doubt have his closest family and friends in attendance.
Kooner, from Mississauga, Ontario, realizes that fighting at home in a title fight will mean there will be a lot of pressure on him. At the same time he knows he will have tremendous support from the large South Asian community in the Greater Toronto Area when he enters the ring on Saturday.
“I am very excited to fight in front of my fellow South Asians and Canadians,” said Kooner. “This is a fight for us. For us to show the world how far we’ve come. For our children to realize anything is possible, nothing is impossible.”
Boxing At an Early Age
Born in Kettering, England, Kooner moved to Tecumseh, Ontario at a young age. After suffering painful racial abuse and bullying he took up boxing at the tender age of 13. With encouragement from his parents he began training out of a Windsor boxing club and soon learned to channel his negative energy, transforming it to the positive.
Kooner had a successful career as an amateur. His biggest achievement was winning the silver medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. Some thought he should have won the gold as he ultimately lost the final on a nail bitingly tight count-back.
During the Games Kooner caught the eye of British promoter Mick Hennessy.
"I thought that he actually won the final and should have got the gold,” said Hennessy.
"His aggressive, box-fighting style really caught my eye and I told him at the time that I thought it would be even better suited to the professional ranks. We discussed him turning over, but he stayed amateur because he felt he had a real chance of winning gold at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.”
Kooner’s other achievements include winning bronze medals in the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2003 Pan Am Games. He has also fought in two Olympics, finishing in the round of 16 at Sydney in 2000 and was a quarter finalist in 2004 at Athens.
Not too long after the 2004 Olympics Kooner decided to leave the amateur ranks and turn pro. At 5’5” and 118 pounds, he has compiled a record of 10-2, picking up 4 technical knockouts along the way fighting in the bantam weight class. The only time Kooner was truly defeated was a technical knockout in his 5th fight almost 4 years ago. His only other loss came last June in England, when his bout was stopped due to a bad cut on his eyelid. It was the result of an accidental head butt from his opponent, but as per British rules a boxer who is badly cut is declared the loser. Outside of Britain the fight would have probably been ruled a no-contest so the loss was dubious, at best.
As a pro Kooner already has two titles to his credit, having captured the Quebec Boxing Council Super Featherweight Title in 2006 and the Canadian Bantamweight Title in 2008.
Winner Takes All
Needless to say Kooner has handled himself well in the ring since turning pro, but before he can add another title to his resume, he will have to face a tough challenge from Silveira.
Silveira, who sports an identical 10-2 record, has dropped down two weight classes for a shot at this title. Silveira, however, has only fought once outside of his native Mexico – ironically enough it was in Canada when he lost a unanimous decision to British prospect Martin Lindsay in 2007 at Casino Rama.
Aside from the title, the winner will also earn a spot in the top ten of the world rankings – so both fighters will have a lot on the line when they go toe-to-toe this weekend in what promises to be a great fight.
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Click on the link below to watch Andrew Singh Kooner May 15th Undisputed: