Redkach and Cruz Top the Bill – The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania sits on the grounds of what was formerly the headquarters of America’s second-largest steel plant. The casino opened in 2009 and flowered into a full-scale resort two years later with the addition of a hotel, a shopping mall, and a concert venue. A byproduct was the rejuvenation of boxing in the area. There were no boxing shows whatsoever in Bethlehem between 2000 and 2010. There have been 23 since the opening of the Sands Events Center. Number 24 goes Tuesday, April 19, and — if recent history is any guide — some of the bouts will be highly entertaining.
The next edition of “Toe to Toe Tuesdays,” a Premier Boxing Champions promotion airing on FS1 and Fox Deportes, features lightweights Ivan Redkach and Luis Cruz in the main event. The match is scheduled for 10 rounds. Two eight round bouts, both involving middleweights, complete the TV portion of the 10-bout card.
Ivan Redkach (19-1, 15 KOs) is from the Ukraine but has fought exclusively in the United States. A southpaw, he is a high pressure fighter who is constantly moving forward. Eleven of his 15 knockouts have come in the first three rounds. In his lone defeat, he suffered a fourth round stoppage at the hands of Dejan Zlaticanin. That was no disgrace. Zlaticanin is currently the #1 contender for the vacant 135-pound title per the authoritative Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Redkach’s opponent, Luis Cruz (22-4, 16 KOs), is a 30-year-old Puerto Rican.
Immanuwel Aleem (15-0, 9 KOs) opposes Jonathan Cepeda (17-1, 15 KOs) in one of the semi-mains. The 22-year-old Aleem, who launched his pro career at the age of 18, hails from Richmond, Virginia. He is trained by George Peterson who guided the career of former WBC middleweight champion Paul Williams. Cepeda, nine years older, has won five straight since returning to the ring after a 22-month hiatus. The Jersey City product, who has fought extensively in the South, is a college graduate, having earned a degree in business management from Florida Atlantic University.
The other middleweight contest finds 21-year-old Kyrone Davis (10-0, 4 KOs) locking horns with 29-year old Junior Castillo (9-0, 9 KOs). Davis, who hails from Wilmington, Delaware, is developing a following in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. This is his fourth straight appearance at the Sands Convention Center, but his first appearance on national television. Junior Castillo, a 29-year-old southpaw, represented the Dominican Republic in the 2012 Olympic Games.
The undercard has a strong Pennsylvania flavor. There are competitors from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, and Allentown. The rejuvenation of boxing in Bethlehem has vitalized boxing gyms across a good portion of the Keystone State.
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