Is Mixed Martial Arts fighting more popular than boxing?

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Aaron Williams of Gautier loves Mixed Martial Arts. The Bantamweight fighter has posted 21 wins against 17 losses and will step inside the cage on July 14th at the IP Casino going toe-to-toe against Shah Bobonis of Miami.

Williams says the popularity of boxing has dwindled while interest in MMA fighting is gaining more fans by the minute.

Boxing took a direct hit last week when Manny Pacquiaco lost a controversial split-decision to Timothy Bradley, losing his WBO Welterweight title.

Williams said, "Boxing is starting to get a bad name. Like the last fight, everybody that watched it, would have gone for Pacquiaco. MMA has a lot more going on. There are more ways to finish a fight and it takes more skills than just throwing punches. A lot more involved in MMA, there's submissions. More well rounded combative sport."

In the 1980's and 90's the Mississippi Gulf Coast hosted numerous boxing matches.  When the casino's hit the coast in 1992 boxing picked up, especially with the likes of Rusty Derouen the Biloxi Bomber and Tiger Stokes.  Boxing fans loved watching the local fighters in action.

Nationally boxing started losing some of its luster when the likes of Muhammad Ali, Smokin' Joe Frazier, George Foreman and other big names in the heavyweight division retired.  The Mississippi Coast Coliseum use to be the site of many pay-per-view championship boxing matches.

Roy Jones, Jr. of Pensacola would fight on a regular basis inside the Coliseum and draw huge crowds.

Now... MMA fighting is luring thousands of fans inside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.  Rusty Derouen is now involved with Mixed Martial Arts promoting cage fighting with his brother Ricky.

Glenn Mattina, Jr. is also promoting ultimate MMA cage fights.

Mixed Martial Arts is a tough sport. To consistently fight inside the cage... one must train aggressively and be skilled not only in boxing, but also in wrestling and kick boxing. One must also be willing to take licks as well as dish them out.

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