Demetrius Andrade battles Freddy Hernandez on Friday, January 25th on Showtime
NEW YORK (Jan. 22, 2013) – One of the top prospects in boxing, the talented but untested Demetrius Andrade (18-0, 13 KOs), of Providence, R.I., makes his first start for respected trainer Virgil Hunter when he faces aggressive-minded former world title challenger Freddy Hernandez (30-3, 20 KOs), of Lynwood, Calif., in the 10-round junior middleweight main event on ShoBox: The New Generation doubleheader this Friday, Jan. 25, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
In a matchup of once-beaten junior welterweights in the 10-round co-feature at The Paramount in Huntington, N.Y., Raymond “Tito” Serrano (18-1, 8 KOs), of Philadelphia, meets Emmanuel “Tranzforma” Taylor (15-1, 10 KOs), of Edgewood, Md. The event is promoted by Star Boxing and Banner Promotions.
Hunter, the Boxing Writers Association of America 2011 Trainer of the Year, and Andrade, a world-ranked, 6-foot-1, 24-year-old southpaw, have been together for only a couple of months.
“All coaches get their fair share of calls, and I get some, too,” Hunter said. “Demetrius called me and we started talking. I’d been aware of him because he was an Olympian and knew he was a good kid, but once we met I was most definitely very pleased to make his acquaintance. I enjoy working with him.
“Demetrius’ dad did a terrific job with him. He’s a great kid with a great personality and he wants to succeed. I think he has unlimited potential and everything it takes to not only be a future champion but an ambassador for the sport. There’s really a lot of upside to Demetrius. It’s just a matter of time.”
A former international amateur standout – Andrade (pronounced “Ann-Drade”) was the 2007 World Championships gold medalist at 152 pounds and represented the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games – continues to acclimate himself to the new surroundings in northern California.
“I’ve been training at Virgil’s private gym in Hayward, Calif.,” said Andrade, who owns amateur victories over the likes of current world champion Austin Trout and prospects such as Keith Thurmond, Danny Jacobs, Fernando Guerrero, Jack Culcay and Charles Hatley. “I knew Virgil from him being in the amateur program and I just reached out to him. He’s a stand-up guy and everything’s going smoothly. We’re just taking it one step at a time, just getting in shape for this fight.”
Andrade has steadily ascended in the rankings since turning pro in October 2008. He’s currently rated No. 3 in the IBF and WBO and No. 8 in the WBC. He’s been carefully matched throughout his four-year career but owns a couple of noteworthy victories. He won his three fights in 2012 by knockout inside two rounds, including a second-round TKO over Alexis Hlores in his last start on Sept. 12.
But Hunter and ShoBox expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood agree that Hernandez will be the toughest foe to date for Andrade, who’ll be making his ShoBox debut. “On paper this should be his toughest challenge, when you consider the competition the other guy has fought,” Hunter said.
Said Farhood, “Demetrius Andrade, along with Gary Russell Jr., was chosen as Most Likely To Succeed from the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. On ShoBox, he’s finally making that next step that will vaunt him from prospect to contender.
“Hernandez is a legit tough guy who’s fought the very best. This is a real test for Andrade, a major step up. Andrade’s been criticized for the level of his opposition, but part of that criticism stems from how easily he’s beaten the fighters put in front of him.
“Hernandez will bring it, so if Andrade’s as good as we think he is, he’ll not only win, but shine.”
Offered Andrade, an athletic, versatile boxer with good skills and movement: “Freddy Hernandez is a great fighter, and we’re going to put on a great show.”
Hernandez fought four former world champions in a row – DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Mike Anchondo, Andre Berto and Luis Collazo — between February 2010 and October 2011. “El Riel” went 3-1, winning the final fight of the four-bagger with an exciting 10-round unanimous decision over southpaw Luis Collazo on Oct. 15, 2011.
The brother-in-law of current WBC featherweight kingpin Daniel “Ponce” De Leon, Hernandez, 33, lost his most recent outing to WBC No. 1 contender Erislandy Lara on a 10-round decision on June 20, 2012. The scores in a rough fight were 95-94, 98-91 and 99-90.
“I’m not much of a talker outside of the ring, I’d rather just let my fight inside do the talking for me,” said Hernandez, a boxer-puncher who may come out ultra-aggressive against the less-experienced Andrade.
Serrano, a 5-foot-8, 25-year-old, will be fighting for the first time since hooking up with trainer Barry Hunter, who also handles Lamont and Anthony Peterson. It is his first start since a devastating fifth-round knockout loss to Karim Mayfield in a pick ’em bout on May 18, 2012, that ended with chaos in Serrano’s corner. World-ranked going in, he’d won all 18 of his fights since going pro in October 2007.
“I’ve been with Barry since about July,” said Serrano, an accomplished amateur and ambidextrous boxer-puncher who likes to work the body. “After I fought Mayfield, I took some time off and then I got with Barry. I train at his gym and spar with the Petersons. It’s definitely stepped up my level of training. I’ve worked hard and feel it’s made me a stronger fighter.
“I haven’t seen any of Taylor’s fights, but I remember him from the amateur days. The guys in the gym know him from the amateurs and they’re helping me prepare. I’m looking forward to starting the year off right. I learned from my mistakes. I want to accomplish my goal, and become champion of the world.”
Looking back at the Mayfield defeat, Serrano said, “I was surprised how easy it was for me to hit him. He’s strong. He fought a good fight. He caught me with a good shot. I’ll be back.”
Taylor hails from a family of fighters. He was a top amateur before turning pro in March 2009. After opening with 14 consecutive victories, the 5-foot-7½-inch, 22-year-old boxer-puncher came up on the wrong end of a split eight-round decision to Prenice Brewer on Nov. 10, 2011. He regained his winning ways 11 months later when, in his lone bout since losing, won a six-round majority decision over George Dosa on Oct. 12, 2012. Taylor triumphed by the scores of 60-54, 58-56 and 57-57.
“I’ve been getting ready for this fight in Baltimore since Dec. 1,” he said. “I’ve worked hard in the gym and I’m ready to show what I’ve got. I’ve got a lot of styles. I can box or bang, but basically I usually box. It depends on the other fighter.
“I’m familiar with Serrano. I know him from the amateurs. He was in my region, so we fought in the same tournaments but he was a little older than me. He’s a good fighter, a good boxer. I give him credit. But absolutely, I’m going to win the fight. I’m just going to use my jab and pressure, and that’s what is going to win me the fight.”
Tickets, priced at $50, $100 and $150, are available through Ticketmaster online www.Ticketmaster.com or phone (800) 745-3000, through The Paramount Box Office (631) 673-7300, the Star Boxing Office (718) 823-2000 or on their website, www.StarBoxing.com. Doors on fight night will open at 7 p.m. ET with the first bell at 8 p.m.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Stephen ‘Block’ Reynolds in action on March 9th
Sligo boxer Stephen ‘Block’ Reynolds is looking to get 2013 off to bang as he makes his third appearance in the pro ranks when he steps up to eight round level on the bumper ‘The Homecoming’ bill at the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk on Saturday, March 9.
In his opening year as a professional boxer the veteran earned a hard fought points win over Uganda’s Moses ‘The Black Mamba’ Matovu in Belfast, and last time out Reynolds floored Lithuanian tough-nut, Ruslan Bitarov, four times on route to a spectacular second round knockout victory which boosted his ranking in the Irish Cruiserweight division from 9th to 5th place over a period of just six months.
“It’s been an amazing time since my pro debut, it couldn’t have gone any better really,” admitted 39-year-old Reynolds, “My opening fight versus Matovu was a real eye opener to be honest. I knew the jump from amateur code to the pros was a big one and I learned on my debut not to underestimate these guys or it could be lights out.
“I knew what to expect when the Bitarov fight came around. We decided not to give him a second of peace, and to whip in the body shots from the first bell. Luckily my manager got some video of him from a contact in Europe and we knew that you could bash away at this guy forever and he wouldn’t take a backward step but that he didn’t cope well with an assault to the body.
“The plan worked to perfection, but fair play to Bitarov because he was game and really came to win. He could’ve easily quit after he went down from the first knockdown, but he kept getting up and coming at me. It was over quickly but I trained hard for that fight because it was a step up in class and a step up from the four round to six round level. I’ll have to work even harder again for this fight in Dundalk as its another step up to 8 rounds which leaves the door open for title shots then,” added the Ballinacarrow Boxing Club coach.
“It’s another challenge and if I win this fight I can stake a claim for a shot at that Irish title, which everyone knows is the reason that I returned to the ring. I’ll be a happy man if I can win that Irish title and defend it back in Sligo. It’s never been done before and is the stuff dreams are made of, but slowly and surely with the hard work we have been putting in and the support I have been getting at fights that dream is being made a reality,” said the five-time Irish amateur champ.
“The progress Stephen has made since turning pro has been remarkable,” said manager Leonard Gunning. “No one comes into a pro ring in better condition than Stephen and I know how hard he works to get himself in that shape. At 39 years of age he is in a unique position. We both know he hasn’t got another 10 or 15 years left in his career like regular boxers who turn professional, so his acceleration through the ranks is on fast forward.
“It makes exciting viewing for the droves of supporters that travel from Sligo to watch his fights, but difficult to manage because it is so unprecedented. They’re all very risky fights for Stephen, for example, the opponents he has faced in his first two fights are the level you would usually put a in with a guy that has had nine or ten contests. Stephen is always pushing for hard fights, so I have to go out and find them for him.
“We will announce his opponent in the next two weeks. We are in discussions to bring in either a Croatian cruiserweight or a big guy from Germany that is on a bit of a winning streak and knocked out his last two opponents. The main thing is to test Stephen, he’ll need good quality opposition if he is to be ready to challenge the top Irish guys,” said Gunning.
“This type of international experience will build ‘Block’ and if he comes through this one we’ll be knocking on the door for title fights. We’ve to get through a couple of Irish guys before we can earn the right take on Ian Tims for his belt. One of them is Declan Trainor, who tops the bill in Dundalk that Block is on. He is unbeaten and having his first fight since demolishing an Australian champion, so all the Reynolds fans in Dundalk will get a good look at what could be in store for him very soon.”
“Then we will be looking to bring the ‘Block Bandwagon’ back to Sligo for the first ever professional boxing show in the history of the county. We are in discussions with venues and a TV station and if all goes to plan we will have his homecoming this summer, but before that he has a big hurdle to get over on someone else’s ‘Homecoming’ and I promise it won’t be one to miss,” added his London-based manager.
The show, dubbed ‘The Homecoming’ features rising talent from across Ireland including no fewer than eight top quality unbeaten fighters including the joint-headliners in Ireland’s only female pro boxer Christina McMahon and Reynolds’ cruiserweight rival Declan Trainor, as well as the exciting pro debut of Irish amateur champion Philip Sutcliffe Jnr, Eddie Nesbitt, Irish boxing’s ‘Newcomer of the Year 2012’ James Tennyson and unbeaten prospects like Noel O’Brien, Daniel McShane and Matthew Wilton also bringing more quality to the show.
Tickets for Stephen’s bout at the Fairways Hotel, Dundalk on Saturday, range from €35 for unreserved seating and €50 for a ringside position. Return bus from Sligo for just €10.
Tickets are available in Sligo from Barton Smith Sports, the Adelaide Casino and Ballinacarrow Boxing Club. Alternatively call 087 858 9369 or visit www.greenjab.ie.