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Pro boxing back in Falls

The last time the Seneca Niagara Casino hosted a professional boxing card (September 2007), the only local presence was a token appearance in the crowd by Tonawanda's Baby Joe Mesi.

The second professional card at the Seneca Niagara Events Center will have a distinct local flavor to it as the Seneca Nation officially announced it is hosting a seven-fight card at 7 p.m. Nov. 15.

Buffalo's Ross Thompson will be scheduled to fight, and former Buffalonian Paul Marinaccio will be featured in the main event against veteran heavyweight Michael Grant as the two vie for the North American Boxing Association United States title.

The 41-year-old Marinaccio, who now lives in Cary, N.C., brings a 24-3-3 mark into the 12-round bout against the 36-year-old Grant (44-3), a former North American Boxing Federation champ who fought and lost to former IBF and WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 2000.

Thompson (26-12-2), who hasn't won a fight since beating Sam Reese at HSBC Arena in Buffalo on June 24, 2003, will face fellow light heavyweight Jameel Wilson (13-15-3) in a six-rounder. Wilson is 0-11-1 in his last 12 fights, while Thompson, who fought Fernando Vargas for the IBF light middleweight title in Aug. 26, 2000, has dropped his last five bouts.

"It'll be good to fight back home," said Thompson, who's been idle since dropping a pair of decisions 28 days apart last March.

Unbeaten Buffalo featherweight Guillermo Sanchez (4-0) and Niagara Falls' James Ventry (6-5-1) also are scheduled to appear. Sanchez faces Harvey Murray (2-1-2). Ventry fights Jamar Saunders (1-1) in a four-round junior welterweight clash.

An eight-round super middleweight clash featuring former WBA champion Byron Mitchell against Etienne Whitaker headlines the under-card matches. Junior welterweight Adrian "Juanito" Mora (19-1) and lightweight Scott Paul (3-1) also are slated to fight.

Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at and other ticketmaster outlets and at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel's Eight Clans Gift Shop. To charge tickets by phone, call (716) 852-5000. In Canada, call (416) 870-8000.

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