Chattanooga lightweight prospect Ryan Martin returns to action on the card.
Source: DiBella Entertainment
Wednesday evening will be a bittersweet night for Lou DiBella and his company DiBella Entertainment. The promotional company will host the premiere installment of the 2014 Broadway Boxing series with the final boxing show ever to take place at NYC's famed and historic Roseland Ballroom. Having promoted a number of cards at the venue over the years and helping to grow the Broadway Boxing series into what it is today, the historic ballroom will be closing its doors in April after more than 50 years of operation at its current location.
The card, entitled "The Last Dance", has had such a positive response with New York boxing's adoring fan base that DBE has had to open up more seats at the last minute to accommodate the flood of calls and requests coming in for tickets. General admission standing room only tickets, priced at $35, will now be available at the door tomorrow evening. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET, with the first bout scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Featured bouts on the card will see New York fan-favorites Heather "The Heat" Hardy (7-0, 2KO's), an undefeated super bantamweight, and West Point graduate junior middleweight Boyd "The Rainmaker" Melson (13-1-1, 4KO's) in separate eight-round bouts, with the remainder of the card showcasing a number of exciting bouts and young prospects from the stables of both DiBella Entertainment and 50 Cent's SMS Promotions.
Seeing action in separate six-round light heavyweight matchups will be fellow New York Golden Gloves champions Travis Peterkin (10-0, 5KO's) and hard-hitting Joe Smith Jr. (13-1, 11KO's). The undefeated Peterkin is set to compete against heavy-handed Michael Gbenga (18-10, 18KO's), while Smith takes on his toughest opponent to date squaring off against battle-tested Otis Griffin (24-14-2, 10KO's).
Returning to the ring for the first time in 2014 will be hot junior lightweight prospect Bryant "Pee-Wee" Cruz (8-0, 5KO's) looking to continue where he left off in 2013 as he steps up the level of competition by facing Joshua Reyes (5-1, 2KO's) in their six-round lightweight showdown. The 24-year-old Cruz, from nearby Port Chester, NY, in Westchester County, fought eight times in his first full year as a pro. With the backing of one of Westchester County's most popularrestaurant/bar chains (Mickey, Molly and Maggie Spillanes), he has quickly become one of the more popular up-and-coming fighters on the local New York boxing scene. Cruz is focused on winning and moving up the ranks of the lightweight division in 2014, but he must first get by the once-beaten Reyes.
Appearing on the card out of the SMS-promoted stable will be Ryan Martin, Donte Strayhorn and Christopher Galeano, all in separate four-round bouts.
Widely considered the crown jewel of 50 Cent's up-and-coming prospects, Martin (2-0, 2KO's), nicknamed "Blue-Chip", was an outstanding amateur, amassing a record of 180-22 while winning numerous regional titles as well as a national amateur championship along the way. Martin will seek to make it a perfect 3-0, with 3KO's, when he takes on Jose Del Valle, of Puerto Rico. Fellow former amateur standout Donte Strayhorn (5-1, 1KO) will do battle against Jose Gomez, of Kent, WA.
The former #1-rated amateur and National champion Galeano (1-0-0-1NC) is co-promoted by DBE and SMS and is looking to stay very active in 2014. Galeano's career got off to a bit of a rocky start when he dropped a decision in his pro debut. Galeano dominated the action throughout, but unfortunately suffered two flash knockdowns that were the difference on the scorecards. Fortunately for Galeano, the bout was later declared a no-contest after his opponent failed the post-fight drug test. Galeano righted the ship in his next outing, winning a bloody four-round unanimous decision over Jamil Gadsen. Galeano was cut badly early in the bout from an accidental head-butt, but fought through the adversity to win the unanimous decision. Galeano will challenge Travis McClaren (1-3, 1KO) in a four-round junior middleweight matchup.
Rounding out the card will be Queens' undefeated junior welterweight Danny Gonzalez (5-0, 3KO's), as he takes on Troy, New York's tough Ray Velez (3-4, 1KO) in a four-round welterweight matchup. Gonzalez has shown promise since turning pro in late 2012, winning all four of his fights the following year. Three of Velez' four career losses have come against undefeated fighters so he will be a good test for the 24-year-old Gonzalez.