Johnstown’s Andres Taylor fought in Germany in November and recently spent a week sparring in Poland.
Tonight, the cruiserweight boxer will compete closer to home as part of Broad Avenue Brawlers Five, a boxing and mixed martial arts card at the Altoona Jaffa Shrine (7 p.m.).
Taylor (21-3-2, eight knockouts) will fight veteran Harvey Jolly (13-19-1, seven knockouts).
“It feels good to fight close to home,” Taylor said prior to Friday’s weigh-ins. “The guy I’m fighting has fought everybody. He comes to fight. He’s fought all the top names in the division. I”m just going to go in there and do my job.”
Six of Jolly’s losses came against undefeated boxers.
Taylor’s lone setbacks were at the hands of highly-touted opponents.
His last fight on Nov. 10 earned him respect even in defeat. Rakhim Chakhkiev fought Taylor in his native Hamburg, Germany. The fight went 10 rounds before Chakhkiev won by unanimous decision. Taylor is only the fourth opponent to go the distance against Chakhkiev, a former Olympian who is 16-0 with 12 knockouts.
Taylor took the fight on short notice after his scheduled title fight against Guillermo Jones in Venezuela was canceled when Jones pulled out.
“I ended up fighting in Germany anyway,” Taylor said. “I fought a gold medalist in the Olympics. Everybody was expecting me to be knocked out in three rounds. I went over there and gave him hell. I had him hurt in the seventh and eighth rounds but I ended up losing in 10 rounds.”
After his performance against Chakhkiev, Taylor caught the attention of WBC champion cruiserweight Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. The Polish boxer asked Taylor to return to Europe for sparring sessions. Wlodarczyk is anticipating an eventual matchup against Chakhkiev.
“I just came back from Poland last week,” Taylor said. “I was training with the cruiserweight champion (Wlodarczyk). I stayed there for a week and sparred with the champ to get him ready for his fight.
“People thought I was going to be knocked out (against Chakhkiev), but now they’re believers,” Taylor added. “(Chakhkiev) is supposed to be like the German Mike Tyson. My stock went up. That’s why the champion wanted me to come over and spar with him.”
Hollidaysburg’s Charlie Brenneman is the featured fighter on the MMA card and will face Eric Irvin in a three-round contest.
United and Pitt-Johnstown product Eli Garshnick will face Donald Crawford; Johnstown amateur Jordan Haselrig will make his MMA debut against Ryan Everhart; and Blacklick Valley graduate Curtis Link will have his final amateur bout against Nick Kerr.
Haselrig is the son of former six-time UPJ national champion wrestler Carlton Haselrig, who was a MMA champ and All-Pro guard with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Haselrig is starting his MMA amateur career, Link is preparing to turn pro.
Other bouts feature: Melanie Bremer against Rachel Gray; Paul Riggleman against Roman Swaner; Matthew Dean against Corey Popanz; Brett Shoenfelt against Bobby Ferrier; and Brandon Lux against Scott Athey.
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