MIAMI—The first boxing card at the all-new Casino Miami Jai-Alai will take place on Saturday headlined World Boxing Council United States super welterweight champion Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez (20-1-1, 11 KOs) against Shakir “The Assassin” Ashanti (16-12, 4 KOs), from New Bern, S.C.
Hernandez has become a local favorite in South Florida by fighting in a crowd-pleasing style and for winning all but one of his matches. He will be up against a live underdog in Ashanti, who has availed himself well in his last three fights opposing Derek Ennis, Cory Spinks and George Rivera—fighters who possessed a combined record of 70-9-1.
An important heavyweight fight has been added to the card as WBC No. 1-ranked contender Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (21-1-1, 20 KOs), a Haitian fighting out of Miami, will face Willie Herring (13-10-3, 4 KOs), from Orlando. Herring has shown the ability in the past to defeat favored fighters on numerous occasions. Stiverne’s eye-popping 20 knockouts have generated much interest in him, and a world title match looms for him if he can get past Herring on Saturday.
Brazilian light heavyweight knockout artist Marcus “Happy” Oliveira (22-1-1, 22 KOs), from Sao Paulo, will face hard-punching spoiler Adam “Atom Bomb” Collins (11-5, 8 KOs), from Portsmouth, Ohio, while another light heavyweight Azea “Haitian Hitman” Augustama (12-1, 7 KOs), from Miami, will take on 23-year-old Grover Young (6-6-1, 3 KOs), from Memphis, Tenn.
Rounding out the card will be a pair of undefeated prospects from Albany, N.Y., Amir Imam (3-0, 2 KOs) and Trevor Bryan (2-0, 2 KOs). Imam will face John Willoughby (3-11, 2 KOs), from Selma, Ala., and Bryan will meet Brandon Spencer (1-2, 1 KO), from Augusta, Ga.
“I am very excited to be returning to Miami Jai-Alai with a great card to celebrate their expansion into full-fledged casino gaming,” promoter Don King said. “Dan Licciardi and everyone at Casino Miami Jai-Alai should be proud of their beautiful new multi-million dollar expansion.”
Miami Jai-Alai first opened in 1926 and has enjoyed a proud tradition in boxing since the 1960s. They earned the moniker “Mecca of Miami” in the sport after having staged numerous world championship matches—including events featured on both HBO and SHOWTIME. With construction complete, the venue now becomes Casino Miami Jai-Alai with new restaurants, bars and over 1,000 Las Vegas-style slot machines adjacent to the existing fronton where jai-alai continues to be presented live.
“We thought April 14 would be a great time to treat our customers to another Don King boxing card,” Casino Miami Jai-Alai Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Liccardi said. It’s an exciting time for us, and boxing has been a part of what we do for decades, so we added it to our grand opening celebration lineup.”
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV