Puerto Rican boxing champions hope to please Brooklyn fans Saturday

Jose Pedraza takes on challenger Gervonta Davis; Amanda Serrano hopes to make a statement about women's boxing.

Yazmin Rivas (left) and Amanda Serrano will appear in the first women's championship fight on Showtime since 2007. Photo: DiBella Entertainment

SAN DIEGO, January 14, 2016 – Showtime and Showtime Extreme Boxing’s televised undercard fights at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn offers fans the chance to see Puerto Rico’s two champions put to the test, including a women’s bout that could steal the show.

In the co-main event for the Jack vs. DeGale bout, Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico (22-0, 12 KOs) will risk his IBF super featherweight title belt against another Mayweather stable contender, undefeated prospect Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 KOs). Pedraza is currently the only male Puerto Rican world champion after Roman Martinez and McJoe Arroyo lost titles last year.

Floyd Mayweather poses with his protege Gervonta Davis (left) and Puerto Rican champion Jose Pedraza. Photo: Idris Erba, Mayweather Promotions

“Being the only male Puerto Rican-born world champion is something that I’m very proud of,” said Pedraza, 27. “It is also a big weight that I carry on my shoulders … Knowing that all of Puerto Rico will be in there with me encourages me to give my all every time I step into the ring.”

Davis, 22 years old and originally from Baltimore, has an all-too-common backstory. Boxing provided him an escape from a violent, drug-ridden neighborhood. Much like his promoter Mayweather, Davis is a brash personality who exudes confidence in himself.

“I feel great right now,” said Davis. “I’m in tip-top shape. I had the best sparring available and everything went smoothly … We know that Pedraza is a world champion who comes in undefeated. He does a lot of good things in the ring but we’ll be ready for them come fight night.”

Gervonta Davis celebrates after a recent knockout, and he hopes to repeat the experience on Saturday against Jose Pedraza. Photo: Premier Boxing Champions

Davis has knockout power, but he is still rough around the edges. Pedraza is a veteran who is tall for a super featherweight at 5-foot-8-1/2. Davis is 5-foot-6. Pedraza has 142 professional rounds, Davis only 43. Davis has looked impressive but hasn’t faced a competitor with anywhere close to the pedigree of Pedraza.

Pedraza calls Davis an imitation of his mentor Mayweather who isn’t as good as the real thing. He says he’ll show the youngster what it’s like to be in the ring with a champion. “Davis will enter the ring as a young, hungry unbeaten challenger, but the only thing he will leave with is the first loss on his record.”

Jose Pedraza takes advantage of his height to keep foes out of the way. Photo: Premier Boxing Champions

Pedraza says he’ll rely on his experience, and he’ll be ready for Davis bringing the pressure. Pedraza will measure distance with his height and reach. He will work to frustrate Davis and force him to make mistakes. It’s a classic “styles make fights” matchup and an excellent test for Davis at this stage of his career. By the end he’ll find out whether he’s a real contender.

Boxing on Showtime Extreme, rising middleweight prospect Ievgen Khytrov (14-0, 12 KOs) of Ukraine will face Immanuewel Aleem (16-0-1, 9 KOs) of Richmond, Virginia in a bout between unbeaten fighters. The WBC silver middleweight belt is at stake. Both men are aggressive power punchers. Be in your seat early as this one shouldn’t go the distance.

Khytrov promised, “I’m going to throw a lot of punches and put on a show for the fans. Most fighters can’t handle me when I’m aggressive and coming forward. It’s an honor to be on a card like this and to be televised. I can’t wait to hear the fans and start fighting.”

Ievgen Khytrov and Immanuewel Aleem at Friday’s weigh-in in Brooklyn. Photo: DiBella Entertainment

Khytrov has been acting as a sparring partner prepping Brooklyn native Daniel Jacobs for his fight with another Eastern European middleweight, Gennady Golovkin. He pledged to throw 100 punches per round for as long as the fight lasts, and not let it go to the judges’ scorecards.

Aleem, a New York native, said, “I feel really good going into this fight. I was born in New York and it’s my first time fighting in New York, so I’m very excited. I’m taking on a good opponent with good experience and a great resume. I’m just ready to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I worked hard for this and I’m going to show what I’m capable of in the ring.”

Also on the Showtime Extreme program is a women’s bout between Puerto Rican born featherweight world champion Amanda “The Real DeaL” Serrano of Brooklyn (30-1, 23 KOs) and former two-division champion Yazmin Rivas of Mexico (35-9-1, 10 KOs). Serrano has a 72 percent knockout rate, a tremendous stat in women’s boxing.

Amanda Serrano preps for her bout with Yazmin Rivas Saturday. Photo: DiBella Entertainment

“It feels great to be in this position,” said Serrano. “It’s an honor. Having this spotlight is an amazing thing. I’m coming to show off. I’m not going to disappoint anybody, especially the women in this sport. I’m going to show that we need to be here.

“If you don’t know me, I’m a brawler and a big puncher. I go in there to get the job done. I love to brawl but if I have to box, I’ll box with anybody.I know I’m up against a tough Mexican fighter who is going to bring it.”

“I am very experienced in the ring and I am going to use it to my full advantage. I’m going to work hard for every round until I’m a world champion. I’m here to give a great fight just like we always do when it’s Mexico vs. Puerto Rico,” said Rivas.

Amanda Serrano has a 72 percent knockout rate, including her first round knockout of Calixta Silgado last July. Photo: DiBella Entertainment

This is a golden opportunity to advance women’s boxing. Serrano is an exciting, charismatic performer who will bring the action against a classically tough Mexican rival. Forget they are girls, these are dangerous fighters matched in a classic matchup. Serraro is a southpaw and Rivas says she’s prepared. Rivas has the advantage as the veteran, but Serrano is explosive and Rivas can’t make a mistake or it will be lights out.

Ringside Seat compliments promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment who has been a supporter of quality women’s professional boxing, and Stephen Espinoza of Showtime, who is making good on a promise to give women’s boxing television exposure to help develop a fan base. It will take these type of opportunities to prove the women can entertain with the same kind of action packed fights as the male fighters. 2017 might prove to be the year women’s professional boxing finally breaks through.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group



Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.