Although he may be known better as the “Vernaus” of Vernaus Auto Body, this is only one side to the multi-talented man. John Vernaus IS the KING of professional boxing promotion in Manitoba. With over 22 years experience and over 100 fights under his promotional belt, Vernaus is no amateur. Vernaus began boxing promotion in 1993. Over the years he has developed multiple connections in Montreal, Las Vegas and throughout North America. Although starting with boxing, he has expanded the fight cards to include Maui Thai kickboxing and MMA (mixed martial arts). In February 2000, John held the first legal MMA fight in Canada. This is an amazing accomplishment given all of the persistence and hard work needed to make it a reality.
John’s most exciting boxing experience came when he was in Las Vegas for the Tyson – Holyfield fight. Tyson was favoured 21:1 and John had the opportunity to sit in at Holyfield’s training facility. He met Holyfield and questioned him on his thoughts about his chances. He was impressed to hear the Holyfield was not worried in the slightest as “God was in [his] corner and that’s all he needed to know”. Holyfield went on to defeat Tyson in a huge upset win. And Vernaus was lucky to be let in on what may have been the reason why Holyfield prevailed – faith.
John has not only been a promoter but has also managed up to 16 fighters. He didn’t just “manage” these fighters – he mentored them and provided top quality training. Through his many contacts, he was able to send fighters to train for a month or two in Montreal or Vegas. Providing these opportunities enabled the fighters to step up to the next level of training and fighting. If they were “A” fighters here in Winnipeg, they may only be “B” or “C” fighters in Montreal. There is always room to grow and improve and that is what John wanted to instil in and provide for them.
Vernaus wasn’t just about making “a buck” off these fighters. He knew that a lot of them needed guidance so he gave them a job, got them busy training and led them on the right track. He also was a big enough person to call it when he knew enough was enough for his fighters. “I never wanted to see any of my kids be “punch drunk” or risk their health just for the sake of fighting.” Says Vernaus.
There have been many fighters over the years to visit Winnipeg to be a part of a King John card. According to Vernaus, they all want to come to Winnipeg because “they know that they will be treated right”, Vernaus says. He wants to ensure that the fights are matched up properly – not only for the fighters but also for the fans. Fans know that they will always be witness to a great show. King John Promotions is currently in talks with TSN to broadcast upcoming fight cards and HBO may want in on the action. A great show doesn’t have to be in Vegas – and Vernaus wants everyone to know that.
Vernaus is passionate about boxing and believes in Winnipeg. He continues to bring fights to Winnipeg because he wants to put Winnipeg on the boxing map. He knows that he has and will continue to get some up and comers coming to Winnipeg on a card. When they make it big, our Winnipeg fans can then say they saw that fighter on his or her way up. John Vernaus’ hope is that he will be able to bring a big name to Winnipeg for the fans.
The last show put on by King John Promotions was in fall of 2013., so the local professional boxing fans are eagerly awaiting another show. The wait is almost over! “High Stakes Havoc” on April 30, 2015 will see yet another fight card at a new venue for King John – Club Regent Casino. Vernaus says the venue is beautiful and considers it second to none. Although the venue only holds 1000 fans, these will be a lucky group. The card is jam packed with 9 fights and will be a fast paced evening. Each fight is sure to provide excitement – some knockouts, some battles that go the distance, some comebacks and even a long-shot victory.
The night will also feature special guests such as local boxing legend, “Golden Boy” Donny Lalonde. Baxter Humby, a Winnipegger nicknamed “The One Arm Bandit” will receive an award for his dedication to Combative Sports in Winnipeg.
High Stakes Havoc will be sure to be a night jam packed with excitement and athleticism. Doors open at 6 pm and fights start at 7 pm. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster http://www.ticketmaster.ca/king-john-boxing-presents-high-winnipeg-manitoba-04-30-2015/event/11004E6CB13F6B3B. Get your tickets now because they will sell out. This is one night you won’t want to miss!
Additional Fight Card Details:
High Stakes Havoc
Thursday, April 30th, 7pm
Club Regent Casino & Event Centre
Live Professional Boxing
April 30th, 2015 at the Club Regent Casino & Event Centre
You will see Olivia “The Predator” Gerula vs. Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the
WIBA World Title.
Heavyweights Jason Douglas of Red Deer vs. Wayne John out of Montreal.
A second Heavy weight tilt featuring Michael “Flash” Walchuk from Calgary vs. Vince Calio fighting out of Toronto.
Winnipeg’s Kyle Oliveira will take on Killer Jackson also making his way from Minnesota. Plus more exciting bouts to be announced.
Winnipeg Free Press Donny Lalonde
Winnipeg Free Press Sports – Donny Lalonde
Winnipeg Free Press – Baxter Humby