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Kolle ready to defend boxing title

Last weekend's ballyhooed bout featuring Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards put Minnesota boxing in the national spotlight, but all the attention over a wannabe boxer's professional debut annoyed some purists.

Last weekend's ballyhooed bout featuring Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards put Minnesota boxing in the national spotlight, but all the attention over a wannabe boxer's professional debut annoyed some purists.

"That was the circus," boxing manager Todd Bechthold said. "This is the real fight."

The "real fight" Bechthold referred to was between his boxer, Andy "Kaos" Kolle of Duluth, and challenger Caleb "Golden" Truax of Osseo, Minn., on Friday night at the St. Paul Armory, a scheduled 10-round bout for the Minnesota middleweight title.

"This is a bout Minnesota fight fans have wanted to see for two years," Kolle said. "It's something Truax has been wishing for, but I'm going to teach him a lesson: Be careful what you wish for."

Kolle (23-2, 17 KOs) has held the belt since dispatching of reality TV star Anthony Bonsante with a third-round technical knockout in March 2009. That started a string of six straight victories, but Kolle hasn't fought since Nov. 5, when he knocked out Francisco Ruben Osorio in the first round of a bout in Fargo, N.D., near Kolle's hometown of Fergus Falls, Minn.

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Kolle's camp said it was set to fight Avtandil Khurtsidze for the International Boxing Organization world middleweight title on March 13 in Tbilisi, Georgia, but the bout fell through.

That made way for a bout with Truax, who had his own fight with St. Paul boxer Matt Vanda postponed after Vanda was suspended for nine months.

"Truax was 10-0 when people first started saying my name, but at that time, it wasn't a record worth messing with," Kolle said. "It's worked out better this way. It's been able to build up and snowball and even get casual fans excited about this fight. Before, I had nothing to gain and everything to lose, because if I beat him, people would say, 'Oh, he's just got 10 fights.' Now, it's time to go."

Truax is known as an aggressive counterpuncher who had a training camp in Las Vegas in preparation for this bout.

Kolle is a left-hander known for being a power puncher. Both boxers see this fight as an opportunity to get a higher-profile bout on a national or even international scale.

Bechthold said he remains in contact with the Khurtsidze camp, and he also has a potential fight for Kolle in Panama.

"There will be a lot of eyes on this fight," Bechthold said. "If you're going to be fighting off in Georgia -- in the old U.S.S.R. -- in Las Vegas, or in Los Angeles, you need to win in St. Paul against another Minnesotan. There's pressure, but Andy takes on pressure as well as anyone else. It makes him even more focused."

  • Heavyweight Aaron Green, who is also managed by Bechthold, is also on Friday night's card.
  • Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

    After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

    Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

    Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

    Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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