Yorgey back in action tonight
By DENNY DYROFF
If it's true that good things come to those who wait, then Bridgeport's "Lightning" Harry Joe Yorgey is going to have a super-good time tonight.
Yorgey, who is undefeated through 21 professional boxing bouts (20-0-1, 9 KOs), has been waiting for a long time to get a bout that will allow him to enter the world rankings as a junior middleweight.
Tonight at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn., Yorgey will face Jason LeHoullier for the vacant IBF (International Boxing Federation) North American Light Middleweight title. The similarly undefeated LeHoullier, who hails from Portland, Maine, will arrive for the 10-round fight with a 21-0-1 record with eight knockouts. The fight is being broadcast live on ESPN.
Yorgey's career was put on hold earlier this year when he had problems with his previous management. Now signed with a new promoter, Banner Promotions, Yorgey is ready to step up to a higher level.
"I was supposed to fight this guy three times before," said Yorgey, in a phone interview Thursday afternoon from Nashville. "Plans for this fight have been going on since back in January. The first fight was supposed to be on March 7 in Connecticut for the NABA (North American Boxing Associ
ation) title. The next time was May 16 in Las Vegas for the NABA and NABO (North American Boxing Organization) title. Then, it got pushed back to June 20 in Las Vegas for the NABA championship.
"My previous management team didn't want me to sign with a promoter. They wanted me to keep freelancing. But, they were getting fights for me in high school gyms. I wasn't moving forward. I wasn't getting any TV fights. Now, every fight I have will be a TV fight - starting with this fight against LeHoullier. We signed for this fight back in June, signed on the day we won everything in court."
The seemingly endless delays haven't caused Yorgey any frustration.
"It's actually been a blessing in disguise because I started with a new team," said Yorgey. "They've had me add strength and conditioning programs to my workouts. I've stopped working construction and focused on my training.
"'I'm training with Henry Racich at Precision Gym in Bridgeport. Two months ago, we went to two-a-days. I've also been doing strength and conditioning work with Jeff Morgan at Summit Center in Villanova and with Greg Borkowski at Super Fit Gym.
"I'm ready for this fight. It's a 10-round fight but I'm in such good shape that I could go 15 rounds. I stopped sparring about a week ago and have just been doing shadow boxing. I've been staying loose."
Both LeHoullier and Yorgey were set to weigh in at 154 pounds Thursday afternoon. Yorgey will be packing more pounds by the time the fight gets underway.
"I'm at 154 now but I'll probably walk in at 162 or 163 at fight time," said Yorgey. "After today's weigh-in, if I drink a couple Gatorades and eat a couple pieces of fruit, I'll be at 160."
Yorgey is quite familiar with LeHoullier's style.
"I saw him fight (Jose Luis) Gonzalez in Connecticut in March," said Yorgey. "And, I've seen tapes of his other recent fights against (Martinus) Clay and (Michael) Melvin. We know how he fights and we've put together a good game plan.
"He's undefeated but he's one-dimensional. He's a straight-ahead fighter - a throwback. He's like Jake LaMotta. If I lay on the ropes, I'll be giving him a chance. Instead, I just have to be a boxer-puncher and use my skills."
In addition to putting on a display of his boxing skills tonight in Nashville, Yorgey will also be putting on a display of "Bridgeport Pride."
"I want to thank all my fans back home for all their support," said Yorgey. "I'm going to be wearing my Bridgeport colors - maroon and white. Back when Bridgeport High was still around, they were the Dragons and their colors were maroon and white.
"This fight is an important fight for me. A win will get me in the top 10 in the world in the IBF rankings. It will get me a little closer to getting a chance to fight for a world title and that's what I'm looking for."