Ring City USA makes boxing history Thursday at West Point
SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 21, 2021 – Ring City USA has swiftly become must-see TV for hardcore boxing fans. The new promoter agnostic platform on NBC Sports Network provides a midweek menu of superb matchmaking, resulting in several spectacular knockouts and more than one wild upset win.
This week’s card takes place live at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. It is the first professional boxing event in West Point’s history. It’s significant due to the academy’s own place in boxing history. Every West Point cadet trains and fights in an amateur bout as a mandatory graduation requirement, both men and women. President Theodore Roosevelt imposed the requirement in 1905; women joined the fight game in 2017.
West Point boxers compete in the NCAA system, and if you don’t think they take it seriously, you haven’t seen them in action. Before the main card at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on NBC Sports Net, the undercard streams on the Ring City USA Twitch.TV channel starting at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT featuring several cadet bouts, a rare treat, and privilege for boxing fans. U.S. Marine Corps veteran, 2012 US Olympian, and current world junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring joins the broadcast team Thursday night.
Herring talked about Thursday’s card and military boxing with Communities Digital News.
“As a Marine Corps Sergeant, I am going to be hard on them because I expect nothing but the best effort from them,” said Herring. “I know what it takes to even get to that level, not even just in the Marines but in the military in general. A lot of people don’t see it, but during the amateurs, we have a target on our backs because they feel that we are privileged, I guess. That we had a ‘free ride,’ they would say, to the national tournaments. But in order for you to get to that level on any of the Armed Forces teams, you have to be the best of your branch. I am just happy for them and hope they take it as far as they want to take it.”
Ring City USA planned its first heavyweight main event, but as we’ve seen during the pandemic, COVID-19 had other plans.
Over the weekend, Jermain Franklin of Saginaw, Michigan (20-0, 13 KOs) tested positive for COVID-19 and dropped out of the bout. Rather than find opponent Stephan Shaw of St. Louis via San Diego (14-0, 10 KOs) another opponent, the bout will be postponed to another card. While both men and the fans are disappointed, it’s a terrific matchup of unbeaten American heavyweights and worth preserving.
Prior to the delay, Shaw talked with Communities Digital News about his family, his ambitions, and the fight he anticipated against his original opponent, Jermaine Franklin.
Jelena Mrdjenovic defends title in the main event
The main event features a title defense. Jelena Mrdjenovic of Canada (41-10-2, 19 KOs) fights Erika Cruz of Mexico (11-1, 3 KOs) in defense of Mrdjenovic’s WBA World Featherweight title, a belt she has held for five years. It’s the second appearance for Mrdjenovic on a Ring City USA card. In December, Mrdjenovic battled another tough Mexican opponent, Paola Torres. The winner may get the opportunity for a unification fight against WBC and WBO champion Amanda Serrano, who put on an impressive show on Ring City USA’s last card from Puerto Rico.
Undefeated welterweight Bobirzhan Mominov of Kazakhstan (12-0, 8 KOs) will face Angel Ruiz of Tijuana, Mexico (16-1, 12 KOs).
Mominov is a former sparring partner of Canelo Alvarez and has extensive international experience but has been under the radar. Here comes another hungry young Mexican fighter trained by a notable name looking for the upset in Ruiz. The 23-year-old trains in Southern California with Manny Robles.
Also on the undercard, U.S. Army veteran Daniel Bailey (3-0, 2 KOs) hopes to show out at West Point against Luis Alvarado (1-2) in a four-round junior lightweight fight. Bailey is a well-trained amateur who’s beginning to get some attention as a young pro.
All fighters scheduled on the card made weight on Wednesday.
“This will be the historic first-time professional bouts will occur at West Point,” said Dr. Ray Barone, Army West Point Boxing Coach. “We’ve been asked before, but never has a boxing event been brought to us the way Ring City and NBC has. We want to showcase the cadets. We want to demonstrate that amateur boxing when conducted properly is safe. And we hope that this will become an annual event.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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