New York, NY (1/8/14) - On Friday, January 31, DiBella Entertainment, in association with GH3 Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions, will host that week's edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra from the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, NJ. The card, which will be taking place on the much anticipated Super Bowl weekend at MetLife Stadium, will be headlined by highly regarded undefeated light heavyweight contender Blake Caparello (18-0-1, 6KO's) squaring off against former world title challenger and longtime contender Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24KO's) in a 10-round light heavyweight matchup.
In the scintillating co-feature, exciting super bantamweights Luis Rosa (14-0, 6KO's) and Jorge Diaz (17-2, 10KO's) meet in an absolute can't-miss 10-round showdown.
"I am very excited to be signing with DiBella Entertainment. I have always wanted to fight in the USA and test myself against the world's best. With DiBella Entertainment as my promoter all this is now possible. I can't wait to make my US TV debut on ESPN," proclaimed Caparello.
Caparello continued, "I have sat down with the team and we have taken a good look at Muriqi. He's a very tough and experienced opponent but these are the type of guys I need to beat if I'm going to make it to the next level. Come fight night the team will have a plan in place that will get us the win."
"What I know about Caparello is that he's from Australia, he is a southpaw and is a good fighter. Cararello is undefeated, so a win like this, can put me right back in the mix. I'm glad that Greg Cohen, Vito Mielnickiand Lou DiBella are giving me a chance to fight this kind of fight on TV. I'm excited about it. Fighting an undefeated fighter is like solving a puzzle and I'm looking forward to it," said Muriqi.
"Caparello is a young gun in the 175 lb. division who has some major wins but hasn't yet been exposed in the U.S. This is a chance for him to show his skill, on the biggest stage, against a battle tested American veteran. We are excited to be in New Jersey Super Bowl weekend, as the atmosphere should be electric."
"Fans of ESPN Friday Night Fightshave come to expect good action fights and this card certainly promises to deliver on that account," said Brian Kweder, senior director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN.
The 27-year-old southpaw Caparello, nicknamed "Il Capo" was a perfect 4-0 in 2013 and is coming off his most impressive victory to date, a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over former world title challenger Allan Green. Caparello's career has seen him take a much more aggressive approach in the pro ranks than most prospects. In just his third bout, Caparello was competing in eight-round Australian title fights. The only blemish on his record came back in 2010 when he battled fellow undefeated prospect Shane McConville to a highly controversial 10-round split decision draw for the Australian light heavyweight title in Caparello's sixth pro fight. Caparello controlled that action against the more experienced and hometown favorite McConville and seemingly won the decision decisively, with one judge scoring the bout a convincing 99-92 in Caparello's favor. Unfortunately, the other two judges scored the bout 95-94 and 95-95, resulting in the split draw.
Not to be deterred, Caparello was back in action just three months later, winning an impressive eight-round unanimous decision over 12-1 Michael Bolling. In just his 10th professional fight, Caparello picked up the interim OPBF light heavyweight title with a conclusive 12-round unanimous decision over Joseph Kwadjo (20-4) who previously had stopped former world title challenger Jamie Pittman.
Caparello is currently riding a 13-bout winning streak, including handing fellow light heavyweight world-rated contender (WBO #14) Robert Berridge (22-1-1, 18KO's) the lone loss on his record via 10-round unanimous decision. Caparello is looking to make an immediate splash in the US to throw his name into the exciting light heavyweight mix, when he takes on the dangerous and much more experienced Muriqi. Caparello is currently training in Las Vegas, serving as one of the lead sparring partners for Jean Pascal and has been garnering rave reviews. An impressive victory over Muriqi, who has been featured on US national TV on several occasions, will force the light heavyweight division to take notice of the skilled Australian.
Known as the "Kosovo Kid" and backed by the large Albanian population here on the East Coast, Muriqi has been one of the more popular fighters throughout the tri-state area for many years. Muriqi is currently riding a five-bout winning streak since dropping a decision to then-IBF light heavyweight champion Clinton Woods. Muriqi is best known for his thrilling 12-round majority decision loss to former light heavyweight kingpin Antonio Tarver, a bout that many felt Muriqi won. Muriqi is looking to make another run at a light heavyweight title, but he must first get by the undefeated and fast-rising Caparello.
On paper, the bout between Rosa and Diaz is truly a mouth-watering affair. Once the bell rings to start their super bantamweight showdown, an all-out action war is expected to ensue between undefeated up-and-coming prospect Luis Rosa and hometown favorite and former top-rated contender Jorge Diaz. Rosa and Diaz both know of only one way to fight and that is to come straight ahead from the moment the bell rings.
The Puerto Rican-native Rosa is one of the bright young stars on the DBE roster. At just 22 years of age, Rosa is coming into his own as a fighter. Rosa was a perfect 3-0 in 2013, winning back-to-back-to-back impressive eight-round unanimous decisions. Rosa is looking to make the jump from prospect to world-rated contender and a win over the highly regarded Diaz does just that.
The New Jersey-native Diaz had a stellar amateur career, winning a number of regional titles and tournaments, as well as having success on the National level before turning pro in 2007. Diaz strung together 15 consecutive victories, including a highlight reel, one-punch KO over former Olympic gold medalist Yan Barthelemy. Highly ranked in all four major sanctioning bodies, Diaz took on fellow undefeated contender Teon Kennedy for the USBA belt, ultimately dropping a 12-round majority decision in what turned out to be an all-out war. Diaz bounced back, picking up two consecutive victories, before being stopped in his most recent bout against the highly touted Yenifel Vicente in June of last year. At just 26 years old, youth is still on Diaz's side, but if he wants to make another run at super bantamweight supremacy, the bout against Rosa is a must-win.
A complete list of bouts, which will feature a number of top prospects and local talent, will be announced shortly.
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Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV