They're fighting for Hollywood recognition

Jeremy Peters
Geoff McKinney lands a punch on Mike Gooman during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Gooman won the fight when McKinney withdrew.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Ring Girl Tatum Miranda at Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Smith, in the White trunks, Vs. Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Juan Chavez lands a punch on Chris Smith during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Smith, in the White trunks, Vs. Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Smith, in the White trunks, Vs. Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Smith, in the White trunks, Vs. Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Smith, in the White trunks, Vs. Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight on a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dennis Bryant, in the White trunks, Vs. Jake Mejia during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Bryant won the fight on a split decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dennis Bryant, in the White trunks, Vs. Jake Mejia during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Bryant won the fight on a split decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Mike Gooman, in the blue trunks, Vs. Geoff McKinney during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Gooman won the fight when McKinney withdrew.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Daniel Paul, in the white trunks, Vs. Cody Williams during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Williams won the fight with a TKO.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Ring Girl Tatum Miranda signals the first round of the fight between Chris Smith, in the corner, and Juan Chavez during Thursday Night at the Fights at the Egan Center on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Chavez won the fight in a decision.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News

Boxing fans were treated to one of Thursday Night at the Fights' Hollywood connections Thursday, and it won't be long before the weekly collection of fighters find out if they will get their own Hollywood show.

Tatum Miranda, a 2005 Chugiak graduate who is now an international swimwear model and aspiring recording artist, sang the national anthem and worked as the lead ring girl at the Egan Center, a job she has performed periodically since she was 16.

"My dad used to have to come with me every time until I was 18," she said.

Thursday's fight program featured a picture of Miranda standing next to Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner and legendary music producer Quincy Jones, who had his arm around her in the photo. A model for Ujena Swimwear and Dejavu Management who has made appearances on Spike TV shows "1,000 Ways to Die" and "Manswers," Miranda said she is also good friends with rappers like Akon and Dr. Dre.

"Anyone in the music recording industry that are male, I've pretty much met," Miranda said. "I never meet any of the females, for some reason."

As early as this spring, local fighters could start mixing with the Hollywood crowd themselves and start seeing themselves on TV. Fight promoter Jim Patton said Brendon Blincoe, a TV producer with Iconic Productions has already completed a teaser reel to promote a Discovery Channel show that will likely be called "Thursday Night Fights in Alaska." Blincoe collected about 10 or 15 hours worth of video footage over the past year to make a 15-minute teaser he is scheduled to show to network executives in January. If the network likes what it sees, production could move forward soon.

"We're hoping to get six or 10 shows in this season," said Patton. "It'll be behind-the-scenes stories about the judges and the match-makers and all that goes into setting up the fights each week."

Of course, it will also be about the fighters, people like Anchorage's Cody Williams, 18, who won Thursday's first bout by first-round technical knockout against Daniel Paul. Though it was Williams' first official fight, he said he has been around fighting most of his life and used to watch his father, Steve Williams, box in Thursday Night at the Fights when he was a kid.

"The biggest thing my dad taught me was to show respect and keep your temper under control," Williams said.

Anchorage carpenter Mike Gooman, who recently moved here from Hawaii, was another winner by TKO, beating Geoff McKinney of Tacoma Wash., when a wobbly McKinney retired before the start of the third round.

Gooman delivered a big left hook to McKinney's chin just before the bell rang to end the second round. McKinney had already taken several shots to the face and was stumbling about the ring throughout the round, so Gooman winning his first boxing match seemed inevitable.

"It felt great," Gooman said. "I got a lot of friends supporting me and people I don't even know cheering for me."

Patton said he is excited about the prospect of seeing local boxers on TV, and he thinks it will help remind people about what great entertainment the fights can be.

The whole idea for the reality show got its start from a Hollywood actress who came to visit the fights while filming a movie in Anchorage, said Patton. The actress went on the George Lopez Show and told the host how much fun she had at Thursday Night at the Fights. Blincoe happened to be watching the interview, and he started the ball rolling from there.

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.


By JEREMY PETERS
Anchorage Daily News