College Park Center Becoming Notable Boxing Venue
By Office of Communication
Posted on July 01, 2013, July 01, 2013

Three fights, three cities, three wins.

Arlington fighter Mike Lemelle has an aggressive style that forces opponents out of their comfort zone no matter what that zone of comfort might be. It's not surprising that at 3-0 in his first full year of boxing, Mike has grand plans like contending for a weight class title.

Judging from the way Lemelle handled Dante Solano of Amarillo in the Bud Light Pro Fight Series Friday evening at UT Arlington's College Park Center, he might be on to something.

Lemelle's match was one of seven bouts on a night that featured an array of skilled performers putting on quite a show for a rather excited crowd, including the main event match between Raymond Gatica of Austin and Dashon Johnson of San Diego. This was the first round of bouts of the Bud Light Series at College Park Center but the second boxing event at the UT Arlington venue, which is fast becoming an events center known for its versatility.

Last year College Park hosted the ESPN Friday Night Fights.

" We love this place," said Dustin Haney, one of the Bud Light Series sponsors. " It's centrally located which gives us the opportunity to get fans from Dallas and Fort Worth. Plus, it's just one of those well-designed arenas where there's really no bad seat in the house."

Anthony Gohen of Grand Prairie was in the 10th row of the arena with some empty seats in lower rows but stayed put " because I could see just fine right here," he said. " I'm pretty much eye-level with the ring, so it works out real good."

Gohen travels the state to catch bouts and was pumped to see professional boxing come to Arlington.

" Good fights and you don't have to travel much -nothing is better than that," said Gohen, who came to the event with his girlfriend and younger brother.

Bob Hagin and his wife, Sue, from Arlington, are 62 and 59, respectively, and were attending their first live boxing match. " We watch on TV, but this is different," said Sue Hagin. " To be this close, you can kind of feel the punches."

Hagin was impressed with College Park Center.

" First time here," he said. " I thought of attending some of the basketball games and never made it. But what a place."

Haney said Dallas-Fort Worth is fast becoming a " perfect" area to showcase boxing because its popularity on the local level is rising.

" We've got some guys right here who in a year and a half could be in a world championship," said Haney. " Boxing has slowed down some overall, but is starting to come back."

Just in time, if you ask Lemelle.

" I want to be a part of that next wave," said the boxer, who got into the sport after trying basketball, football, baseball and a number of other sports. " I felt I was more of a natural with boxing. So I tried it."


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