Saturday’s Big Windy City Fight Card Sees the Main Bouts on NBC

Big Windy City – The UIC Pavilion in Chicago hosts a 9-bout card on Saturday, June 18. Topping the marquee is a 12-round contest between Juan Carlos Payano and Rau’shee Warren for the WBA World super bantamweight title. Payano-Warren and two other bouts will be televised live on NBC beginning at 8:30 PM ET (5:30 PT). The event is promoted by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.

The bout between Payano (17-0, 8 KOs) and Warren (13-1, 4 KOs) is a rematch. They went at it hammer-and-tongs last July 2 at Winter Park, Florida, in Payano’s first title defense after wresting the diadem from Panama’s Anselmo Moreno. When the smoke cleared, Payano was awarded the decision. Two judges favored him by scores of 113-111 with the third judge voting for Warren, 115-109. Many ringsiders thought Warren was more deserving.

Payano and Warren, both southpaws, have outstanding amateur pedigrees. Payano, who now resides in the Miami area, represented the Dominican Republic in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games. Warren, who hails from Cincinnati, owns the distinction of being the only three-time U.S. Olympic boxer.

The co-feature, a 10-round contest between Andrzej Fonfara (28-3, 1 ND, 16 KOs) and Joe Smith Jr. (21-1, 17 KOs) could stand alone as the main event because the Warsaw-born Fonfara has acquired a large following in the Windy City where he makes his home. Sixteen of Fonfara’s 32 fights have been here at the UIC Pavilion and he has competed at other venues in the Chicago metropolis.

Fonfara was perceived as nothing more than a club fighter until he opposed reigning WBC World light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on May 24, 2014, on Stevenson’s turf in Montreal. Fonfara lost the fight, but made Stevenson dig deep for his bone. He went on to dominate Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. en route to a ninth round stoppage and then, in his most recent fight, outpoint Nathan Cleverly, the former WBO light heavyweight champion. On paper he figures to have little trouble with Joe Smith Jr., a Long Island construction worker who is taking a big jump up in class.

A third TV bout finds rising star Erickson Lubin (14-0, 10 KOs) tangling with Daniel Sandoval (38-3, 35 KOs) in a 10-round contest in the 154-pound division. The precocious Lubin, only 20 years old, eschewed a chance to compete for the U.S. Olympic team to jump-start his pro career. A southpaw, he hails from Orlando, Florida. Sandoval, from Guadalajara, has scored 20 of his 35 knockouts within the first two rounds.

Another 10-round contest is an intriguing battle between undefeated middleweights Hugo Centeno Jr. (24-0, 1 NC, 12 KOs) and Maclej Sulecki (22-0, 7 KOs). Centeno hails from Oxnard, a hotbed of boxing in southern California. Sulecki, in common with Fonfara, hails from Warsaw. Recognized as the Polish middleweight champion, Sulecki will be making his fourth appearance in a U.S. ring. Centeno represents his stiffest test.

The Sweet Science has been on the scene in Chicago covering pre-fight activities. To follow the latest developments, check out The Boxing Channel.

Big Windy City

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-oubobcat :

The biggest disappoint on this fight card is that it is an NBC prime time card. This would have been well suited for a Fox Sports 1 card or Bounce TV. For PBC to succeed, the prime time national television slots needed to have big fights that were well publicized. He has the stable to pull it off. Unfortunately, this is not only a low key card but has had almost no advertising to support the telecast. Its not going out on a limb to say the ratings will be well very very low. But to the card itself. Payano-Warren I was not a bad fight. It certainly was no slugfest but a competitive professional fight with two contrasting styles. I thought Warren won the first but it was close. I see another close competitive fight this time around that could go either way on the cards. Fonfara-Smith appears to be a mismatch but we will see. I like both guys and ironically Smith's career is exactly where Fonfara's was several years ago. Fonfara was considered a tough brawler with limited skills and a questionable chin who would make good club fights but never make it at a world class level. Well he stepped up his game. Can Smith do the same? If he can, we will get a very fan friendly fight. If not, it will be an early night. Lubin-Sandoval interests me in that I want to know more about Lubin's chin. This could be the fight that it gets tested again. Norberto Gonzalez dropped and hurt Lubin bad a few years ago with a right hand down the pipe if I remember correctly. Lubin showed a lot of heart overcoming that to not only survive the round but win the fight. Since that scare, Lubin has not fought anyone who could remotely punch. Lubin is much more skilled than Sandoval and should easily be able to out quick and out box him. But if Lubin gets careless, Sandoval can punch and this is where things could get interesting.


-Radam G :

The "Babypit" will probably win. And it will make him the first pug to win a world amateur and a world pro title in the same city. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

There may be more Poles in Chicago than in Warsaw and I don't mean telephone Poles. Smith is in for a hard day's night in the Windy City.


-deepwater2 :

There may be more Poles in Chicago than in Warsaw and I don't mean telephone Poles. Smith is in for a hard day's night in the Windy City.
Joe jr has a tough night ahead of him. I watched him coming up. He won the gloves. He had a rough upbringing. I have seen him on the train to his job in the city. He beat up seanie Monaghan in sparring. I give him a good shot. I'm rooting for the hometown guy. Go get em. Change your life.


-deepwater2 :

Hahahahaha New kid on the black!!!!!!!!' Take matters into your own hands!!!! God bless the irish


-deepwater2 :

My hometown guy! Next up smith vs Monaghan at the garden on st Patricks day


-oubobcat :

This was certainly a stunning result. Congrats to Smith. He was hurt, remained calm and fired off a perfect right that was the beginning of the end for Fonfara. Surprised me and a lot of others. He will get more opportunities from this performance.


-deepwater2 :

Call Arum Call Joe D


-deepwater2 :

The ref let it go a bit longer than it had to but what a statement.


-oubobcat :

If I had to take a guess, Smith fights Edwin Rodriguez next as a co-feature on an east coast card. It is a good crossroads fight that is easy to make and sells tickets. And good matchup too that should be fun to watch.


-Kid Blast :

Holy moley. That guy can bomb!!


-Kid Blast :

If I had to take a guess, Smith fights Edwin Rodriguez next as a co-feature on an east coast card. It is a good crossroads fight that is easy to make and sells tickets. And good matchup too that should be fun to watch.
I agree 100%. La Bomba v. The Irish Bomber.


-brownsugar :

What a surprisingly entertaining card. I like watching the bantamweight boxers moving at hyperspeed with the sure footedness (and sure-handedness) of a mountain goat. Warren is smooth as butter but probably couldnt hit an egg hard enough to make an omelet. He's always fun to watch when matched tough though. So I was wondering,. ...how far can Fonfara go? One day he emerged from the shadows as a non-descript bum who was selected for use against Stevenson as a 15-1 punchbag to pad the transplanted Canadians record. But Fonfara didn't follow the script,. He was tenacious in his loss to Stevenson in the process of giving the champ a hearty handful of Polish defiance. That defiance was rewarded by Haymon who sacrificed the boxing Playboy, Chavez Jr on the alter of Fontana's further accolades on his rise to the top. A full 15 fights and 15 wins later Fonfara is packing the house with his countrymen and it looks like a movement with a following that easily dwarfs the garrish "Let's go Champ" resurgence staged by Shannon Briggs in comparison. So who is this? Longshoreman Joe? Construction laborer Joe? Irish bar bouncer Joe? Cuppa Joe? I really don't care who it is at the time, I just want to see Fonfara break the big lunk down over 7 or 8 punishing rounds for my fistic enjoyment. My pizza just arrived and will stay hot, juicy and fresh for at least six rounds. I quickly rush to the restroom so I can watch the fight comfortably and come back to attack the first slice of pizza. I'm wondering why everyone is still walking around shaking hands More particularly why, is everyone hugging Joe? On no? You didn't Joe? Pizza still piping hot I watch the replay as Joe takes a licking, and then strikes out and crushes the skyrocketing trajectory of A. Fonfara's career. Just like that........"Let's go Joe?" Joe joins a bevy of vicious bangers in the 175lbs division. Beiterbiyev Thomas Stevenson Rodriguez Kovalev Even Sullivan Barerra Make it happen. (Fonfara very classy after the fight,. young fighters take note)


-brownsugar :

I got Fonfara in the rematch..... don't do it Joe.


-oubobcat :

It will be interesting to see where both Smith and Fonfara go from here. As I stated earlier, I think that PBC matches Smith with Rodriguez as a ticket selling booster on an east coast card later this year. It would be a very interesting crossroads fight that almost assuredly would produce fireworks. The PBC does a lot of fights in Chicago and I see Fonfara being added to a card in a confidence boosting fight for his next outing. His name on any card in Chicago regardless of opponent would boost ticket sales. One name I see in the future now for Fonfara is Marcus Browne. Browne struggled his last time out and probably needs at least one more fight before being ready for a guy like Fonfara. But Browne needs to take a step up at some point and with this performance by Fonfara he may be the step Browne's people are eyeing.


-brownsugar :

Brown has been a disappoint,. ..unless he can essentially "double" his punch output and upgrade his technique like junior middleweight Andrade did during his nearly 2 year ring absence, I can see Fonfara doing to Browne what he should have done to Smith. Smith needs a lot of work but he does posses a very necessary tool.... conclusive punching power. No need to rush unless he's rushing for those dollars. It's Joe's call.


-Yogo :

The theatre strikes again. Smashing bill from Chicago. Smith couldn't even have dream't it and yet here he is, bang in the mix. I like the look of young Hammer Lubin.


-Kid Blast :

Joe Smith should fight Seanie Monaghan in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. They fought in the amateurs. Two upcoming New Yorkers should meet. It is the fight that will decide who is the better New York light heavyweight. Seanie can’t get the title show he is yelling for with Top Rank.


-deepwater2 :

Joe Smith should fight Seanie Monaghan in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. They fought in the amateurs. Two upcoming New Yorkers should meet. It is the fight that will decide who is the better New York light heavyweight. Seanie can?t get the title show he is yelling for with Top Rank.
I agree 100%! Seanie is expecting to take on the German WBA champ. Sell out the Garden on St Patricks day!


-deepwater2 :

Put it in the big room as the chief supporting fight for GGG vs Danny Jacobs. Make it a really big show!


-deepwater2 :

This is around the time I saw Joe training at Vets memorial with Murphy. The kid has skills and heart.
->http://youtu.be/qEZ6QHRia08