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Apr 22 - Apr 29, 2014

Is Famed Martial Arts Champion Lining Up Political Takedown

By Tony Farina

April 22, 2014

A. J. Verel gets a friendly arm around the shoulder from an admirer.

Pro Martial Arts Hall of Fame Kickboxer A. J. Verel, a South Buffalo native who made his first foray into politics in 2012 when he made a strong run for the seat on the Buffalo Common Council once held by the late Jimmy Griffin, may well be cranking up for another bid at elective office.

Verel, who is currently working as the manager of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Republic Steel, showed people he is more than a martial arts champion and television and motion picture personality when he gave a sterling power point presentation to the Judges and Police Conference of Erie County earlier this month.

Verel's theme for the dinner speech emphasized "awareness of your surroundings and potential hazards," and he was well received by the members and guests in attendance and also gave a brief seminar on self-defense techniques assisted by his former teammate and coach Marty Cacavas, also a martial arts Hall of Famer.

During the course of the evening, Verel was honored for his dedication and continued support of the community, and the public should know that Verel can be invited to present a seminar by emailing the Hall of Fame at

It was just a few years ago that I joined several of my friends to attend a boxing card at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center, and on that occasion it happened that A. J. Verel joined our party and gave us great insight into the goings-on in the ring, from tactics to strategy. I remember my dear friend, the late Hon. Frank A. Sedita, Jr., who was with us that night commenting that he was quite impressed with Verel's knowledge of the fight game and his friendly way.

For those who may not know, Verel holds black belts in five different styles of martial arts and is credited with winning four world titles in two separate weight classes. He has performed on stage, worked as a stunt coordinator and actor in several Hollywood productions, and as appeared as boxing analyst for CNN, LCTV, SportsBlast TV and sunshine sports.

Verel has been pushing hard in Albany to legalize mixed martial arts in New York which supporters say would generate new revenue for the state and help put an end to the illegal matches that are now being held in back rooms. Verel is joined by former top-ranked heavyweight boxer Joe Mesi in supporting legalizing the sport in New York.

While Verel has not publicly stated that he's interested in making another political run, it is well known he has supporters who believe he would make a strong advocate for the public and he can be seen regularly in political circles like at Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo's famous Saturday morning get-togethers, suggesting that this still very young sports champion and businessman has a political target in mind.

Stay tuned!





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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina