Sin City Sentinel: Eastman Draws Kang, Tyson Comeback Squashed

By Mike Sloan Aug 21, 2008
Las Vegas’ own Marvin Eastman (Pictures) is finally set to return to action. The veteran of King of the Cage, the WFA and the UFC, as well as dozens of muay Thai and K-1 fights is scheduled to tackle Denis Kang (Pictures) at RAW Combat on Oct. 25 in Alberta, Canada.

Eastman (15-8-1) last fought at the “The Ultimate Fighter 7” finale on June 21, where he was stopped in just 68 seconds with a barrage of strikes from Drew McFedries. A prison corrections officer by day, Eastman also suffered a torn retina in the melee. The eye has since fully healed and the former UNLV running back has been training vigorously for his next bout.

“Mentally I feel fine, physically I feel great,” said Eastman. “I caught a tough break in my last fight and I’m just trying to rebound. That’s just the game. [McFedries] got me in the eye and I couldn’t see and my man won the fight. It was fair -- no excuses. True champions dust themselves off and come back harder and make the corrections.”

Considered a gold prospect following an impressive run in Pride Bushido, American Top Team’s Kang (29-10-1) has dropped three of his last four bouts. The Canadian-raised Korean was submitted via a triangle choke by Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) at Dream 2 in April, effectively knocking Kang out of the promotion’s coveted middleweight grand prix tournament.

“I don’t really know him at all,” Eastman said of Kang. “I met him up at the Bodog show in Costa Rica and I think my manager did some pad work for him, but other than that I don’t really know too much about him. I do know that he has a lot of wins over in Canada and Japan and he’s a ranked opponent. He lost a couple in a row, I lost one and I know we both gotta come in and step up to the plate and see who the better man is on October 25. I don’t plan on losing to him at all and that’s no disrespect to him because he also ain’t planning on losing to me either.”

Eastman isn’t the only one who believes an upset is in the works.

“Marvin is feeling and looking great,” said Skip Kelp, a former professional boxer and long-time trainer to Eastman and a host of other fighters. “But like I always say, it’s all in how Marvin fights. We all know how talented he is but it’s just a matter of getting him to follow his game plan.

“Sometimes he gets too aggressive or stubborn and wanders off the path,” Kelp added. “Kang is a great fighter but I know he’s beatable and I know Marvin can do it. As long as he sticks to the game plan, he should -- I won’t say easily -- but he should beat Kang.”

Eastman is grateful to be fighting again after the imposed hiatus. While he openly admitted his love for the UFC, he was discouraged after getting shelved for long periods of time where he couldn’t fight as much as he’d have liked. With his UFC contract expired, Eastman said he can focus on competing more frequently, and might add some muay Thai bouts into the mix as well.

“That loss was a blessing in disguise for me,” said Eastman. “The fight with Kang is a great opportunity for me to prove that I have what it takes to get back to the top. A great win over someone like him will put me right back in the thick of things.”

Tyson, reps finally squash fight talk

Photo by Jeff Sherwood
Mike Tyson (right) and Mark
Coleman
attend an Aug. 26,
2006 press conference in
Los Angeles, Calif.
Former undisputed boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will not be making any sort of comeback in the ring -- or the cage for that matter. Rumors have been flying around Vegas for quite some time that Tyson might come out of retirement to try his hand at MMA instead of boxing.

“Iron” Mike has been spotted attending a few boxing events in Las Vegas recently and Sherdog.com asked the 42-year-old of his future plans at a Kevin Kelley-headlined card at the Las Vegas Hilton.

“No, I’m finished with fighting. I’m done,” he answered quickly.

A source close to the future Hall of Fame boxer also dismissed the rumors of him training for a comeback, stating that Tyson had been in the gym trying to stay fit and nothing else.

While Tyson’s well-documented financial difficulties might be incentive enough to jump back into the fight game, it doesn’t appear that a once-rumored “Kimbo Slice” showdown is in the boxer’s future.

In September 2007, Tyson pleaded guilty to narcotics possession and driving under the influence. An Arizona court sentenced “the Baddest Man on the Planet” to 360 hours of community service and a 3-year probation.

‘Cobra’ gets HOF nod

Karate champion, decorated kickboxer, professional boxer, record label CEO, mixed martial artist. Dewey Cooper (Pictures) can now add Hall of Famer to his list of monikers.

The loquacious “Black Cobra” was inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame last Saturday for his “long-standing commitment to the martial arts” and his many years of excellence within the various fight sports.

“It was surreal,” said Cooper of the nod. “When I got the call I thought it was a joke until I got a certified letter saying that the Masters Hall of Fame had nominated me as a potential Hall of Famer for 2008. It was then that I knew it was real. It was weird because I’m still competing and training and then I receive something as honorable as this.”

But looking at all of Cooper’s achievements, he truly has accomplished more in the fight game than most, pro or amateur.

“For me, people don’t know that I did a lot of karate tournaments back in the day,” he said. “It’s also from all the kickboxing that I’ve done, all the boxing and now MMA. Also for training Jessica Rackozy and having her win three world [boxing] titles. I think it was my tutelage of her that really set the tone for my induction. I’ve won 25 karate tournaments. I’m the only guy in the karate world who is not only a fifth degree black belt in Chinese Kenpo, but also is a K-1 veteran and has boxing and MMA experience as well as a trainer and coach.”

Cooper, 2-1 in MMA, doesn’t plan on stopping either. At press time, the veteran fighter was set to box Thursday in Lemoore, Calif., for the vacant WBC Intercontinental cruiserweight title. Another MMA bout doesn’t seem far off as well.

“Oh man, I’m going to be doing MMA again real soon,” he revealed with a grin. “It all depends on how my [boxing] fight turns out. If everything is fine and I don’t get hurt, Strikeforce has contacted me and I might fight on their Playboy Mansion show next month. If not, I’ll almost definitely be doing an MMA fight in October.”

Quick hits

• Popular local organization Tuff-N-Uff held an extraordinary event on Aug. 8 inside the Orleans Hotel’s Mardi Gras Ballroom. Though it was only an amateur event, the event was a complete sellout, highlighted by a superb armbar submission from Xtreme Couture’s Justin Linn over Team Mad Beatings’ Tony Martinez. Sixteen fights topped the card and to say it was one of the more action-packed cards of the year would be an understatement.

Tuff-N-Uff’s presence in the minor leagues, so to speak, of MMA is critical and though the promotion does deliver professional events from time to time, it seems like their inexpensive amateur program is their bread and butter. Barry Meyer, the mastermind behind the organization, told Sherdog.com that another all-amateur showcase will be held on Oct. 17 at the Orleans Arena. Meyer also plans on having an all-pro card either in November or December, probably at the same location.
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