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“Grudge Match” coming to Redfield

Posted: Thursday, Feb 2nd, 2012


Tonya and Shane Croeni. Albert Rosas and Daron Gruenwald face off in last year’s match held in Redfield.


Area residents will once again have the opportunity to be a part of mixed martial arts when Shane Croeni and Knockout Events brings Pheasant City Fight Night IV “Grudge Match” to the Redfield Armory on March 3.

Croeni, owner of Knockout Events has been involved in martial arts for over 30 years. “My father, Bob Croeni of Belle Fourche, owned a very successful Martial Arts School and I was very active there. I hold black belts in two different styles and was nationally ranked in kata, sparring and weapons.” Croeni has also fought full contact in Tae Kwon Do and Mixed Martial Arts. Three years ago Croeni, who has always competed, decided to step into the cage and try his hand at that.

“I love the competition and thought, I'm going for it.”

It was that love of competition and his desire to bring the sport he loves to Redfield that has led him where he is today.

“I contacted Shane Swartz, former owner of Knockout Events with the idea of bringing the competition to Redfield and we did a show together. After that things just progressed to a point where it was possible for me to purchase the business.” A decision Croeni doesn't regret. “Boxing has really evolved into this type of event,” said Croeni. “I think a lot of people don't understand that concept and have an opinion already formed when they hear “cage” fighting. I'd like to show people that this is a serious sport in our world today and that these athletes train hard for competition.”

Croeni admits that his enthusiasm for the sport wouldn't have brought him where he is today without the help of some pretty special sponsors that include Carpet's Plus, Odland Construction, Anytime Fitness Express, Claeberg Tire, Redfield Investments, Chrystals, Starters, Sludges Seed and Spray, Wheat Growers, Kramp Construction, Turck Exteriors, Core Kinetics, Appel Oil, Dairy Queen, Johnson Oil, Shane and Heather Jordan who provide the concessions to raise money for Relay for Life, and the Redfield Area Chamber of Commerce. “In our upcoming matches we will have 2 pro fights and 2 title fights. The money from our sponsors goes to pay our fighters and is a huge part of what we do,” said Croeni, “Part of Knockout Events success is the fact that we treat our fighters right. “Grudge Match” will be our biggest show yet with matches between Jason Ehresmann and Casey Molina, Bryce Logan and Tanek Solcolowski, Logan McPadden and Daron Gruenwald, and Johny Shine and Tyler Kvasnika in addition to a lot of local talent.”

Safety is also a big issue for Croeni who takes great pains to make sure that his fighters are safe. “We have the best referee in the world, Chris Whitley, “ said Croeni. “Chris does a great job of keeping things in hand and protecting our fighters. We're very lucky to have him.” Safety outside the ring is also emphasized at any Knockout Events show. “We hire off duty law enforcement officers for security and also have what I call T-shirt security,” explained Croeni. “We don't have any tolerance for outside fighting - that gets left in the cage.” Croeni is fastidious in making sure that he visits with local officials after each show. “We want to make sure that things have gone smoothly on their end as well,” said Croeni. We've never really had a problem and we mean to keep it that way.” Of his hometown crowd Croeni commented, “Here in Redfield we have the best fans. They're really supportive and really get into it but we've never had a problem with them. They really enjoy the shows and the fighters feed off their enthusiasm.”

Asked about the future of Knockout Events Croeni said, “2012 looks to be a big year for us. I'm excited that people are so receptive to having our shows and happy to show everyone the sport mixed martial arts has turned into. In 2012 we are going to be doing 7-8 shows. It really keeps me busy and never really stops.” Along the way Croeni has had a lot of other help, “It gets pretty demanding and I could never do it on my own. I'm very thankful for the support I have received from people such as Chris and Trisha Whitley, Bobby and Lisa Jandel, Jade Jandel, Rob and Angela Turck, Jim and Melissa Heath, Clayton and Alison Odland, Dave and Jessica Gatzke and my wife Tonya.”

Doors for Pheasant City Fight Night IV “Grudge Match” will open at 6 PM on Saturday, March 3rd at the Redfield Armory. General admission tickets are $15.00. For more information on Knockout Events and the upcoming show you may visit their website at Knockoutevents.net.











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