Baltimore, MD-based heavyweight Emmanuel "Chukwu" Nwodo will be involved in a new heavyweight tournament scheduled to launch in April.
Nwodo, a former USBA Cruiserweight champion, will join seven other boxers in what is called "The $500,000 Great American Heavyweight Box-Off at a site yet to be determined. The tournament is a creation of legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum and is being funded by Greg Sorrentino. According to the press release, the purse structure will be $25,000 to the winners and $15,000 to the
losers in the quarterfinals, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, in the
semifinals, leading up to the championship final in which the champion
will earn $250,000 with $50,000 going to the runner-up.
Joining Nwodo (24-5, 20 KO's) in the tournament will be 2004 U.S. Olympians Jason “Big Six” Estrada (20-4, 6 KOs), of Providence, RI and Devan Vargas (18-2, 7 KOs), of Toledo, OH. Also, Chattanooga, TN's Alonzo “Big Zo” Butler (28-2-1,
21 KOs) will be in the tournament along with Coon Rapids, MN's Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell
(28-6, 27 KOs) and “The Mountain” Daniel Martz (7-0, 6 KOs) of Clarksburg, WVA. Two more boxers will be added to the tournament and there will be an alternate in case of injuries.
In the press release, Elbaum said he has had discussions with several possible venues,
including some casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Turning Stone and
Madison Square Garden, and that he’s close to making a television deal.
He also noted that 12 other heavyweights are in the running for the
remaining two spots in the field, plus one reserve fighter, and $25,000
of the TGAHBO champion’s purse will be donated to the winner’s charity
Nwodo says that he is very excited to be a part of this tournament.
“I’m so glad I’m in the tournament and
can’t wait. This is something new in the heavyweight division. It’s
awesome! We’ll all show our best. This is an opportunity to prove
ourselves and I’m proud to be part of it,”
Nwodo said in a press release.
The fighter demonstrating the most “heart” in tournament fights,
excluding the TGAHBO champion, will be awarded the Gennaro Pellegrini
Jr. Award. Pellegrini, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, had a
dream to fight at the famed Blue Horizon before being shipped out to
Iraq for duty. Elbaum made that happen in 2004 but seven months later
Pellegrini was killed in action.