IRONHEART CROWN IX: PURGATORYLeading U.S. Shooto event to crown first-ever Americas Division champions.

HAMMOND, IN – On Saturday, November 19th, diehardfight fans will visit the pumps and pay good money to fuel up in preparation for a ritual trek from all corners of the Midwest to a common destination in Hammond, Indiana. Once again, the Hammond Civic Center will host the annual Ironheart Crown full-contact submission prize-fighting event,sanctioned by the International Shooto Commission based out of Tokyo, Japan. In this year’s show, the recently established Shooto Americas chapter, covering North, Central, and South America, will crown its first-ever champions in the Lightweight and Featherweight divisions.

In the Lightweight division, local hero andinternational fight veteran Jeff Curran (27W-7L-1D)will take on one of his most dangerous opponents to date in the form of a stone-faced Canadian by the nameof Antonio Carvalho (9W-0L-0D). Curran needs nointroduction, having fought the world over against topinternational opponents, beating the likes of Baret Yoshida, Bao Quach, Ryan Ackerman, and others.

While not quite as seasoned, his opponent, AntonioCarvalho boasts an undefeated record with all but oneof his wins by smooth submission or brutal TKO, atestament to his balanced fighting skills. Includedin his list of credentials is a second round TKO overBrian Geraghty (14W-10L-1D), a first round trianglechoke submission over Tommy Lee (13W-5D-0L), and a recent decision win over one of Japan’s finestightweights, Lion Takeshi (6-1-0). This ShootoAmericas Lightweight Division tile bout pits America’sbest against Canada’s finest. One will emergevictorious and claim the belt to become the first everregional champion in the Shooto Americas LightweightDivision.

In an equally heated battle, Miguel Torres (34W-1L-0D)and Ryan Ackerman (12-7-1) will face off once again in a highlyanticipated rematch to determine the regional championin the Shooto Americas Featherweight Division. Whenthese two last met in 2003, Torres burned out after a strong first round and Ackerman quickly capitalized towin a unanimous judges’ decision. It was an excitingdisplay of standing exchanges punctuated by episodesof arduous ground fighting. Undefeated ever since,Torres has been on a warpath, destroying every one ofthe five opponents he’s faced with a newfound aggression that was never previously a part of his game. While Ackerman remains confident andundaunted, Torres swears that his game has grown exponentially since their last meeting, and vows to avenge his only loss to capture the Shooto Americas Featherweight belt.

In addition to the two featured title bouts, multipleclass A and B matches will make up what promises to be an action-packed undercard. Clay Guida of Gilbert Grappling seeks to continue his 12 fight winning streak against a tough opponent in Antoine Skinner of Team Wolfpack. Virgil Strzelecki of Team Oyama will face Jay Estrada from the All-American (Combat-Do) Academy. Joao Herdy of Team Monteirao will face his toughest opponent to date in Joe Pearson of Miletich Fighting Systems. Juan Magana of Torres martial arts will face Andre Kariosillas, training under former IHC champion Jim Theobald. Jeff Serafin of McVicker’s martial arts will face Sean Sallee fighting independently out of Muncie, Indiana. John Hossman of Team Oyama will face Eddie Wineland from Duneland Valetudo. Otto Torriero of the ChicagoFitness Center will face Miguel Gamez, Junior of theCarlson Gracie Team. Ironheart Crown veteran Bill Hillwill test his skill against Matamoros protégé, EricShaefer. Several other fights are still being negotiated. A total of fifteen bouts are planned, allof which are sure to be dynamic exhibitions offighting skill, the likes of which have made the Ironheart Crown the most highly respected venue formixed martial arts competition in the Chicago area.

The lovely ladies of Coyote Ugly Chicago will be onhand distributing programs and promotional materials,and there are rumors of guest appearances by multipleUFC stars, including Andre Arlovski, Shonie Carter,and Stephan Bonnar. In addition to this, several girlsfrom will also make an appearance,signing autographs and helping with the show.

After the action-packed fights the fun will continueright at the civic center as the ring is broken downto make room for a live band that will play while fansare encouraged to socialized with IHC fighters andstaff at the official after-fight party right in thearena. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as wellas snacks and concessions will be available throughoutthe evening.

Don’t miss this landmark Shooto event, with thecrowning of the first two Shooto Americas divisionchampions ever! Saturday, November 19th at theHammond Civic Center Arena, located at 5825 Sohlavenue in Hammond, Indiana, just 30 minutes outside of downtown Chicago. Tickets are on sale now and alimited number of ringside and VIP seats areavailable. Call now to reserve yours: 219-688-7363 or73-793-6555. Or visit us online:

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Denis Martins