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Joel Djeko outpoints Simone Federici in Long Island

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Star Boxing’s “Rockin’ Fights” series had its 34th event Friday night at the Paramount in Long Island, New York. The night included six compelling bouts that included the return of Huntington’s own JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ who went to battle with Texas native MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE. In the international co-main event, JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO and SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI settled their differences in the squared circle. On the undercard, TERELL “THE PROBLEM CHILD” BOSTIC. DASHAUN “TOOSWEET” JOHNS. ALEX “EL TORO” VARGAS and JEFFREY GONZALEZ took care of business in worthy fashion.

JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ (now 10-4 1KO) and MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE found themselves in a tactical battle over the scheduled 8-round bout. From the first round on, both fighters continued to make in ring adjustments, seemingly trading rounds between in a good scrap. Hernandez found success using his speed and footwork to score on Hawthorne, however as the fight went on, Hawthorne (6-10 1KO), used his length to subdue Hernandez’s attack, in an effort to get to him first. At the finish of the competitive 8-round, contest, the judges’ scorecards read, 76-76, 77-75 (x2) as Hernandez outpointed the game Hawthorne by close majority decision.

Cruiserweights, JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO (now 15-2-1 7KO’s) and SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI (now 14-2-1 6KO’s) finally had the chance to glove up, and settle their differences in the ring, after Djeko pushed Federici at Thursday’s weigh-in. Federici came out of the gate strong, working effectively on the inside, landing a strong, short, combination that unsteadied the big Belgium. Djeko later returned the favor, with a vicious body attack on the Italian. The two continued to trade over the full 10-rounds in a fight that seemed very close. Upon the final bell the Italian jumped on the ring ropes assuming he won with his aggression. Ultimately the scorecards were read and the judges scored in favor of Djeko unanimously (97-93 (x2), 99-91). The fans in attendance voiced displeasure with the decision, but the commentators on Facebook seemingly thought Djeko had edged out the victory.

TERELL “THE PROBLEM CHILD” BOSTIC (now 4-1 1KO) of Wyandanch, Long Island took on JAVIER MARTINEZ (now 4-6 3KO’s) of Laredo, Texas. Bostic returned last night to The Paramount in search of vengeance for his first professional loss, by close split decision, at the last “Rockin’ Fights”. The two super lightweights waged war for the scheduled 6-round bout, as Bostic picked his spots, landing to both the body and the head of Martinez. Martinez however was not backing down, as he spent most of the bout coming forward in attempt to create openings. In the end, Bostic earned the unanimous decision victory by scores of 60-54 (x2) and 59-55.

DASHAUN “TOOSWEEET” JOHNS (now 2-0 1KO) showed extreme fortitude in his bout against DERON “KING” LAWSON. Lawson came on strong in the first round, getting the best of Johns, causing the Bronx native to be on unsteady legs for most of the three minutes. However, to Johns credit, he resisted the onslaught, and managed to finish out the round. A clear game plan change from John’s corner heading into the second round paid major dividends, managing to out box Lawson (now 0-3) for the remainder of the four rounds to a win a tough unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight the same, 39-37.

ALEX “EL TORO” VARGAS (now 3-0 1KO), made his third straight appearance at The Paramount, against Ghana native, BENJAMIN BORTEYE (now 4-5 4KO’s) and did not waste any time. Vargas effectively cut off the ring, pinning Borteye in the corner, and landed a straight right, dropping Borteye early in the first round. Vargas continued the onslaught, dropping Borteye a second time in the second round. Vargas earned a TKO victory 3 seconds into the third, remaining undefeated in his young professional career, as well as at The Paramount.

In the opening bout of the evening, JEFFREY GONZALEZ (Pro-Debut) took on EARL HENRY (0-0-1) of Florida in a scheduled 4-round super middleweight bout. The crowd was filled with oh’s and ah’s as both fighters traded freely and fiercely at the center of the ring landing at will. After the full four rounds, Gonzalez notched his first professional win by scores of 40-36 (x3).

Star Boxing head, JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about Friday’s entire “Rockin’ Fights” event, “It was another fun night at the Paramount and the fighters once again gave fans a thrilling action-packed night. We look forward to our next stop-March 9th when Joe Smith Jr., another Paramount favorite, gets his World Championship title fight vs Dmitry Bivol at Turning Stone Casino.”


STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of “Rockin’ Fights.” The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington’s, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the ‘big boys’ in a truly international fight between European champs. Giant Belgium JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington’s own JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE.

The main event features two international cruiserweight prospects who will travel a combined 7,873 miles to meet in the squared circle, in front of the expected packed crowd at The Paramount. Belgium’s Djeko (14-2-1 7KO’s), an IBO Champion, stands at a towering 6’5″ and breaks the will of his opponents by fighting behind his jab, followed by devastating power in both hands. Djeko’s marquee win came against then undefeated MARIANO ANGEL GUDINO (then 12-0 7KO’s), when he defeated the Argentinian by wide unanimous decision, dominating for the full ten-rounds, to secure the IBO Continental Cruiserweight Title. Djeko has fought in America only once before, but intends to begin laying roots state side, for an eventual shot at a cruiserweight world title. Djeko’s only 2 losses were on the road and by majority and split decision against undefeated prospects.

Djeko had this to say about fighting in America, “I am excited to make my first fight in New York, a city that saw the birth of great champions. But, I also come to fulfill my mission, that of leaving with a victory by knockout.”

Federici (14-1-1 6KO’s), a 25-year-old Italian who resides in Roma, Italy, will be making his debut on American soil on the February 22nd Paramount show. Federici had an impressive amateur record of 35-1-1. As a professional, Federici defeated FRANCESCO CATALDO in a thrilling battle earning the Italian Cruiserweight Title. Since then, Federici has successfully defended his title twice, most recently defeating the dangerous Georgian, ZURA MEKERESHVILLE by unanimous decision to add the IBF Mediterranean Cruiserweight Title to his pedigree. Federici has his eyes set an a massive victory on February 22nd main event. Federici and Djeko both have their eyes set on victory in the February 22nd main event and both know a top rankings in the cruiserweight division are at stake.

Federici said this about his American debut, “I thank America for the wonderful opportunity that has offered me! I hope to better meet American expectations.
I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

In the co-main event, fans will see Johnny “Hitman” Hernandez (9-4 1KO), a familiar face at The Paramount having fought eleven of his thirteen professional fights at the venue. Hernandez who is known for his footwork and great conditioning, always seems to get stronger as the fight carries on. This will be Hernandez second main event at The Paramount. He was last seen in an absolute thriller with fellow Star Boxing stablemate DANNY “EL GALLO” GONZALEZ (then 16-1-1 7KO’s). Over the ten-round main event, Hernandez and Gonzalez exchanged blow after blow at the center of the ring, as the crowd seemed to be on their feet throughout the fight with consistent and vocal support for both fighters. While the judges scored the bout in favor of Gonzalez by majority decision, Hernandez proved to the rowdy sold out crowd that he has the skill to fight the upper echelon of the 140 lb. division. Gonzalez went on to fight fellow Paramount alumni CHRIS ALGIERI at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. Hernandez promises to return with vengeance on February 22nd in his Paramount hometown.

Hernandez is ready for his opportunity on February 22nd, and is prepared to leave his mark. “There are no secrets to success,” said Johnny, “it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failures.”

Hernandez will be facing the very tough Texan, Marquis Hawthorne, who will be making his second appearance at The Paramount. Over his twelve-fight career, Hawthorne has fought ten undefeated prospects, with an opponent combined record of 81-23-3. Most recently, Hawthorne (6-9 1KO) won in a shocking upset at Mohegan Sun on January 26th over amateur standout and undefeated professional, from Detroit, Michigan RONNIE “TEFLON RON” AUSTION (then 10-0 7KO’s). Over the 6-round bout, Hawthorne commanded the action, using his long reach and height advantage to maintain his distance, landing grueling right hands to the body and the head of Austion. At the final bell, the scorecards read 57-56, 58-55 and 59-54, earning a massive upset victory for Hawthorne over the previously undefeated Austion.

Hawthorne has is eyes set on one thing only come February 22nd. “I am coming off a big win over a great prospect,” said Hawthorne, “the game plan is to continue to trust the plan my coaches have set before me, resulting in victory.”

Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the main and co-main event, “We have put together a very intriguing international fight for Long Island’s dedicated boxing fans. Belgium’s, Big Joel Djeko, is an imposing figure, and carries knockout power in both hands. Federici has proven his ability to win big fights in his home country of Italy. The winner has a bright future. ” Regarding the co-main, DeGuardia stated, “this fight is a perfect example of the allure of our ‘Rockin’ Fights’ series. Both Johnny and Marquis have earned the right to be in this fight. In his last fight Johnny showed grit and we will always support our fighters, win or lose, when they perform like he did. That’s what the Paramount series is all about, action and heart. Similarly, Marquis Hawthorne earned the right to this fight with his victory over our undefeated prospect Ronnie Austion in a huge upset. Johnny and Marquis always show up in phenomenal shape with great energy on fight night, and I expect a thrilling fight on February 22nd.”

Star Boxing spoke with Federici ahead of his big fight, to learn more about his life, inspirations, and career goals:

Q: When were you born and where did you grow up?
FEDERICI: I am 25. I was born on July 7th, 1993, in Corcolle, Rome.

Q: What was life like where you grew up?
FEDERICI: My neighborhood is the neighborhood where I live now. It is a suburb, not very big. Working a few steps from home, in the family bar, I am quite well known.

Q: How did you begin boxing?
FEDERICI: I started thanks to my uncle, an established boxer. Together with my cousin, we expressed a desire to learn to take the first steps. We started, and my uncle is still my coach, I have great respect for him. And it is thanks to him that I am now a step away from my debut in the United States, a new and very important experience for me.

Q:Who is your favorite fighter(s)? Is there any fighter you try and emulate in the ring?
FEDERICI: My favorite boxer is definitely Mike Tyson, from whom I took my fighter nickname.

Q: What are your accomplishments in both amateur and professional boxing?
FEDERICI: I had about 40 bouts as an amateur and was twice champion of Italy, some other titles and various fights with the Italian national team. As a professional, I first won the Italian title in 2017, defended my tittle twice in 2018 and also won the IBF Mediterranean title in 2018.

Q: Do you have a family?
FEDERICI: Ihave a 28-year-old sister named Cristina, and my fiancée is named Ilaria, she is my age.

Q: What is your life like now?
FEDERICI: I am a bartender, but I want to realize my full potential in this sport and have a family.

Q: How do you feel about this fight?
FEDERICI: Djeko is a good boxer who is taller than me, but I cannot miss this opportunity. For us Italians this chance does not pass so often … we will win!

Q: What are your career goals?
FEDERICI: I want to become a world champion.

Q: Do you have any other comments?
FEDERICI: I thank my trainer Franco Federici, Joe DeGuardia, Luigi Camputaro The Americans, as well as America and New York for this great opportunity. Also, Armando Bellotti, who was the real director.


Having previously announced the dual main events of the February 22nd “Rockin’ Fights” of Belgium’s, JOEL “BIG JOE” DJEKO vs Italian SIMONE “TYSON” FEDERICI and local Huntington favorite, JOHNNY “HITMAN” HERNANDEZ against tough Texan MARQUIS “THE HAWK” HAWTHORNE, STAR BOXING announced a true New York centric undercard today.

In a scheduled 6-round welterweight bout, Wyandanch, Long Island’s own TERELL “THE PROBLEM CHILD” BOSTIC (3-1 1KO) returns to The Paramount in search of vengeance against Hartford, Connecticut’s ANUEL ROSA (1-0 1KO). Bostic was last seen at “Rockin’ Fights” 33 in a thrilling, action packed bout with undefeated OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (then 6-0 2KO’s). Getting up, off the canvas in the 3rd round, Bostic fought his way back into the fight, finishing the final two rounds by trading freely at the center of the ring, behind deafening cheers booming from the sold-out crowd. Dropping a split decision, Bostic eyes Figueroa as his next tally in the win column. Rosa, who made his pro-debut this past June 16 in Hartford, Connecticut, will be seeing the famed Paramount for the first time and hopes to remain undefeated attempting to defeat Bostic in his hometown venue.

Also returning to The Paramount, in his second professional bout, DASHAUN “TOO SWEET” JOHNS (1-0 1KO) is set to take on hard-hitting tough Philadelphian DERRON LAWSON in a 4-round welterweight bout. Hailing from the Bronx, amateur standout Dashuan Johns made his pro-debut at “Rockin’ Fights” 33 against Devon Grant and left no doubt in his first round TKO victory. Dashuan, a personal trainer in Westchester County, had the ringside crowd jumping as his clients packed the ringside seats to watch their personal trainer in action. Lawson is also no stranger to The Paramount, having fought twice at the venue, dropping hard fought, close decisions to undefeated prospects Johnathan Arroyo, and Alex “El Torro” Vargas. Dashaun looks to make it two in a row in his young professional career, while Lawson plans to ruin his undefeated record on February 22nd.

Also in action will be Bellport, Long Island’s, ALEX “EL TORRO” VARGAS (2-0) against BENJAMIN BORTEYE in a scheduled 4-round welterweight bout. Vargas, a former New York Golden Gloves champion, returns to The Paramount for his third appearance, looking to remain undefeated taking on Borteye (4-4 4KO’S), of Silver Spring, MD, by way of Ghana. Borteye who last fought amateur standout and undefeated professional Reshat Mati at Madison Square Garden on January 18th. Vargas will look to continue his undefeated streak at The Paramount.

Star Boxing promoter, JOE DEGUARDIA, said this about the undercard bouts set for next Friday night, “It is truly rewarding that the Paramount has become one of the best boxing venues in the country. I am looking forward to another exciting night of “Rockin’ Fights” on February 22.”

A sensational night of thrilling fights has formed, as Star Boxing, once again, brings phenomenal action-packed professional boxing to Long Island. This exciting undercard brings an added punch to the all-world cruiserweight main event between Belgium’s Djeko vs Italy’s Federici and the local favorite Johnny Hernandez fighting the ‘on a roll’ Marquis Hawthorne. Fans are buzzing with the return of Long Island prospects, Terrell Bostic, Alex Vargas and Dashaun Johns. All three bring in vocal support to The Paramount and fans are anxiously awaiting February 22nd.

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