Band members from the Niigaan Program trained with WBA middleweight champion Rob "Bravo" Brant, female fighting sensation and NABF super featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer, and top bantamweight contender Joshua "Don’t Blink" Greer Jr. at the “Clinic with the Pros“ at Meshakwad Community Center on February 13. The fighters were preparing to take center stage at Grand Casino Hinckley on Friday, February 15, as the Band hosted its first world championship bout in several years.
On February 15, Brant, a St. Paul native, defended his title against Khasan Baysangurov. Mayer (9-0, 4 KOs) took on Yareli Larios, and Greer fought Giovanni Escaner. All three bouts were televised live on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m.
Brant, Mayer, and Greer ran the children through assorted boxing drills and gave motivational speeches about the hard work required to become a world-class athlete.
Rob Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) captured the WBA middleweight title last October with a unanimous decision over Ryota Murata in Las Vegas. Before turning pro in 2012, he was one of the United States’ top amateurs, winning gold medals at the U.S. National Championships and National Golden Gloves Championships.
Mikaela Mayer (9-0, 4 KOs) represented the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is now one of the most prominent female boxers in the world. She captured the NABF super featherweight title last October and made the second defense of that belt February 15 versus Larios. A versatile combat sports athlete, Mayer almost turned pro as an MMA fighter before signing a deal with Top Rank to focus on boxing.
The big-punching Joshua Greer Jr. (19-1-1, 11 KOs) is one of boxing’s rising stars who has won his last six bouts by knockout. The Chicago native is in line for a world title opportunity in 2019.