Confession: I don’t always get to watch ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Why? Well, it often starts a bit late, runs late, and usually, being that I know I will be tied to the tube watching boxing on Saturday night, I try to let the other people in the house not see me as a boxing zombie for a few hours of the week. But I think I will be tuning in to check out the Boxcino concept, the tournament which is the brainchild of promoter Arthur Pelullo, on Friday (Feb. 13) night.
He’s brought together a hungry batch of 154 pounders and heavyweights, and they will be squaring off, in a loser gets tossed tourney which culminates on May 22. Here are the folks fighting in the 154 bracket:
Junior Middleweight Quarterfinal Matchups: Six Rounds Each
Friday’s shows will include video profiles of each fighter prior to each bout. The first round of the junior middleweight tournament will feature:??
Stanyslav Skorohod (8-0, 6 KOs) vs. Michael Moore (13-0, 6 KOs)?; Cleotis Pendarvis (17-4-2, 6 KOs) vs. Ricardo Pinell (10-1-1, 6 KOs)?; Vito Gasparyan (14-3-5, 8 KOs) vs. Simeon Hardy (13-0, 10 KOs)?; Brandon Adams (15-1, 10 KOs) vs. Alex Perez (18-1, 10 KOs)
Here are some notes ESPN PR sent out:
?Fighter backgrounds: ?In his last fight, Cleveland’s Moore scored a 10-round unanimous decision win over Antonio Fernandes, while Ukraine’s Skorokhod is coming off a second-round TKO win over southpaw David Lopez. California’s Pinnell is coming off a six round unanimous decision win over Rahman Yusubov, while Pendarvis, also from California, is looking to get back to his winning ways after a fourth-round TKO loss in an IBF junior welterweight title eliminator to Dierry Jean.
New York’s Hardy, who is coming off a first-round TKO win over Malcolm Terry, is looking to remain undefeated against California’s Gasparyan, who is looking to rebound from a 10-round unanimous decision loss to welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas. Los Angeles’ Adams, a finalist in last year’s Boxcino 2014 middleweight tournament, scored a second-round TKO win over Lekan Byfield in his last fight, while Perez of New Jersey is looking to score another victory after a third-round TKO win over Jeremiah Wiggins.
Then, the following Friday, we’ll see the heavyweight opener.
Boxcino 2015 Quarterfinals- six rounds each, Heavyweight: ??Donovan Dennis (10-1, 8 KOs) vs. Steve Vukosa (10-0, 4 KOs)??; Razvan Cojanu (12-1, 7 KOs) vs. Ed Fountain (10-0, 4 KOs)??; Andrey Fedosov (25-3, 20 KOs) vs. Nat Heaven (9-1, 7 KOs)??; Mario Heredia (9-1, 7 KOs) vs. Lenroy Thomas (18-3, 9 KOs)
I chatted with Pelullo on Thursday, the day before the tourney kicks off on The Worldwide Leader. Who, I asked the amiable dealmaker, who has a 68 fighter stable, which includes Ruslan Provodnikov, who he thinks could separate themselves from the pack.
He recommended we keep our eyes trained on the Ukrainian Skorohod, as well as Adams, in the 154 draw.
As for the heavies, Pelullo said his matchmaker, Eric Bottjer, told him to look out for a kid touted by the legendary James Toney, named Razvan Cojanu. Pelullo met him at the WBO convention and liked his hungry attitude. Pelullo cautioned me that two guys who stood tall last year, Petr Petrov, and Willie Monroe, didn’t come in as favorites, so basically, it’s something of a crapshoot. “That’s why this will be so exciting,” he told me. “All these kids want to advance their careers! And we had a lot of guys who didn’t want to join this, because they didn’t know who they’d be fighting. They weren’t willing to roll the dice. These guys are real fighters! They’re trying to advance, trying to jumpstart their careers.”
To hear Pelullo tell it, methinks some of the cats who begged off might be kicking themselves. Petrov, he said, is in the mix to fight Jorge Linares, or maybe Terence Crawford. And Monroe is a possible to fight Gennady Golovkin.
So, yes, Boxcino can serve as a heavy-duty launching pad, it looks like. Fight fans know it’s not rare to see better scraps from less touted, but maybe more hungry hitters. They haven’t been spoiled by bloated purses and are still in savage-hungry-climbing mode. We could easily see examples of this play out on FNF in the coming months, on “Boxcino.”
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