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Native American middleweight opens up doors in the boxing world



Spectacle has a long, proud tradition in boxing, and the walk-in is the moment where a fighter can use a cavalcade of trainers and booming music to intimidate the opponent while psyching up his fans.

As far as entrances go, few can best Lawton's George "Comanche Boy" Tahdooahnippah. War drums, rap and elaborately dressed fancy dancers spinning around the ring are just part of his walk-in.

"During powwows, there is a grand entrance where all the war dancers come in and are looking around for their enemies, high, low and all around," Tahdooahnippah said. "I'm coming to war, so I'm bringing in my war dancers and they will scout it out for me. There are drum groups out there singing war songs, and when I walk out, I have a Native American rapper, so I bring it all to really rile me up."           

Tahdooahnippah isn't all presentation, as evidenced by his 16-0 record. His power was also on display at an April fight at Remington Park where he quickly dispatched his opponent in the first round. He insisted that boxers shouldn't be deceived by his knockout-heavy record.

"A lot of people think that with 15 knockouts, I'm a brawler, but I'm really a boxer setting it up with my jab and then coming to take you out," he said. "I go to the gym and train hard. My physique has changed, I'm now 175 to 180 pounds, whereas in high school, I was 190 to 210. I just got serious about eating right."

Tahdooahnippah, pronounced "Tad-uh-napper" fought in the Native American Boxing Council's Super Middleweight Division championship in September. He said the new association is a way to draw together Native American fighters spread out across the continents.

"NABC features Native American people all the way from North America to Central and South America," he said. "They assembled a list of people and rated them by record. The two people they felt were at the top, they had them fight for the title."

He won the title in a seventh-round knockout and is using the belt as just another avenue to draw more fans to his bouts. As promoters see the crowds packing in for Tahdooahnippah, he said it will help him schedule matches against stronger fighters.

"A lot of people don't take Native American athletes for real. They don't know how serious they are at the elite level," he said. "There aren't really any Native Americans that stick out in your mind as world champions, so people will doubt you." "Charles Martin


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