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Afolabi-Maccarinelli, Campbell-Funeka, Cintron-Martinez, Angulo-Rivera – News

Cruiserweight contender Ola “Kryptonite” Afolabi (13-1-3, 5 KOs) is hosting a party on March 14, the day he faces former champion Enzo Maccarinelli for the Interim WBO Cruiserweight Championship at the M.E.N. Arena, in Manchester.

“This is my coming out party!” grins the 28-year-old London, England-born Nigerian currently living in California. “He (Maccarinelli) makes his base there, but what people may not know is that the UK is my home country too. I am coming home to win the title!”

For Afolabi’s promoter, Dino Duva of Duva Boxing, being able to negotiate a world title shot for his fighter means letting the rest of the world in on something he’s known for a long time. “Ola is the best kept secret in boxing, but after March 14 he will no longer be a secret. Ola is the best cruiserweight in world and fighting Enzo Maccarinelli is the way to prove it.”

Duva also admits he’s pleased by the Maccarinelli camp’s willingness to face Afolabi. “Ola has always had trouble getting fights because real boxing people know how talented he is. I want to thank Enzo and his promoter Frank Warren for their professionalism in honoring Ola’s position as the leading available contender – it’s going to be a great fight!”

“I’m getting this shot at a perfect time for me. I’ll finally get the chance to show I’m the real deal,” adds Afolabi. “I’m going in as an underdog, but I know I’m going to win. He’s not as good as people make him out to be and he’s in trouble. Look out for the best kept secret in boxing!”


HBO serves up a triple helping of Valentine’s Day excitement when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: NATE CAMPBELL VS. ALI FUNEKA AND ALFREDO ANGULO VS. COSME RIVERA AND SERGIO MARTINEZ VS. KERMIT CINTRON is seen SATURDAY, FEB. 14 (10:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team of blow-by-blow announcer Bob Papa, commentator Max Kellerman and expert analyst Lennox Lewis will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Other HBO playdate: Feb. 15 (10:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Feb. 15 (5:00 p.m.) and 17 (11:30 p.m.)

In the main event, lightweight title-holder Nate Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs), from Tampa, Fla., battles Ali Funeka (30-1-2, 25 KOs), from East London, South Africa in a scheduled 12-round title bout. Campbell became champ last March with a victory over the formidable Juan Diaz on HBO, and is making his first title defense. Funeka, a top contender in the division, is fighting for the first time outside South Africa.

The second bout pits undefeated fast-rising junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) of Coachella, Cal. against Cosme Rivera (31-11-2, 22 KOs), from Culiacan, Mexico, in a scheduled ten-round contest. Angulo, whose aggressive ring style and iron chin have made him a star in the division, is facing one of the toughest tests yet in his young career. His opponent, Cosme Rivera, is a savvy ring veteran who has knocked down top fighters Andre Berto and Joel Julio in previous fights. Angulo’s original opponent, Ricardo Mayorga, withdrew from the match.

Starting off the night, junior middleweight sensation Sergio Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) of Madrid, Spain takes on Kermit Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs) of Reading, Pa. in a scheduled 12-round, 154 pound contest. Martinez, who returns to the HBO spotlight following his stunning victory over Alex Bunema on HBO BOXING AFTER DARK last October, is looking to enhance his standing in the division as he works towards a title shot. Cintron, moving up from the welterweight division to take on Martinez, was last seen scoring a victory over Lovemore N’dou in November. His only losses have come at the hands of welterweight star Antonio Margarito.

The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer, Jonathan Crystal; director, Mike Sheehan.

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