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HomeNewsArchivesSports Spotlight: Boxers Making Pro Debuts Friday at UVI

Sports Spotlight: Boxers Making Pro Debuts Friday at UVI

Jan. 25, 2009 — Anxious to make the switch from the amateur boxing world to the big ring, three of the territory's top boxers will make their professional debut Friday at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.
The fights, which kick off at 7 p.m., are planned as the first of many the boxers hope will put them on the path toward becoming world champions like their mentor, Julian "The Hawk" Jackson. The bouts have been in the works for months, following the decision to go pro by brothers Julius and John Jackson, along with their cousin Samuel Rogers. The boxing card includes three amateur bouts and six professional fights, and is topped off by the main event: the WBA FEDECARIBE junior welterweight title fight between reigning champion Victor "Mermelada" Cayo out of the Dominican Republic and Mexico's Noe "Platanito" Bolanos.
Members of the V.I. Amateur Boxing Federation, in training for the 2012 Olympics, will be featured in the amateur bouts.
The V.I. fighters, along with Aruba's Evan Nedd, were at the Tutu Park Mall Saturday afternoon, signing autographs for their fans and encouraging them to come out Friday evening and show their support ringside. Nedd will take on Clinton Hester from Atlanta during the fights.
"This is going to put the Virgin Islands on the map," said Julius Jackson, who represented the territory at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. "It's going to be broadcast in Argentina in three million homes, it's going to be streaming across the Internet, and representatives from some of the major networks, like Showtime, are going to be here. So, it's going to be big — real big. But we plan to do big things — we want to put the Virgin Islands on the map, too."
Julius Jackson will make his pro debut against Marvin Blair from Jamaica in a four-round bout to start off Friday's card.
"I know he has three losses already on his record," Julius said. "And I plan to add another. I'm going for the knockout — I'm telling you, I don't want to go four rounds. Once I'm in there, I'm going to go for the stoppage."
Nedd, who turned pro about a year ago, said he has been around the Jackson brothers for the past five years, traveling with them to different amateur fights around the Caribbean. John and Julius are serious and have the discipline required to become professional boxers, he said.
"I'm also that kind of serious guy," Nedd said. "Because boxing is a serious sport — if you want to go far, you have got to be dedicated and sacrifice a lot. And being serious has helped me to develop my style. I go for the knockout. I'm a strong fighter — I always go forward, I don't go back, and I have a big heart."
Flexibility is also one of Nedd's tools in the ring, which gives him the ability to adjust to his opponent's fighting style.
"I'm ready for the fight," he said about Friday's matchup with Hester. "I know his record is 1-1, and I want to make it two [losses]. I'm just going to fight my style, and he's got to be ready for it."
For Rogers, Friday's fight can't come too soon.
"Right now, I'm kind of nervous, like everybody is before a big tournament," he said. "But I know when the bell rings all the butterflies will go away. Because I've been training a long time for this, waiting a long time for this, for about two years now I've wanted to go pro. I've been ready, I was born ready and I will do this right all the way to the end."
Rogers also plans to add another loss to his opponent's record. He faces off Friday against Atlanta's Erix Quinteros.
"I know he had one fight already since making his debut and lost it," Rogers said about this opponent. "Of course I plan to make that 0-2. I'm taking the win however it comes — knockout, TKO, decision, points — it doesn't matter to me. All I know is that I'm ready, that we're ready."
Looking back over the past few years, moving from gym to gym, trying to get more community support and funding, John Jackson said Friday's event represents one of the smoother parts of the boxers' journey.
"We accomplished our first goal, and that was to go to the Olympics," John said. "Now we have to get to our next goal: becoming world champions. But looking back over all we had to go through, it's nice knowing that it's all getting better now. And I'm feeling confident about the fight. I might have butterflies before I get into the ring, but right now, I'm feeling good. I'm going to go in there with speed, power, explosiveness — you know, it's going to be a good show. We're going to put on a good show."
John's opponent, Alphonso Alexander from Atlanta, will also make his pro debut Friday.
"My energy level — when the crowd sees my energy level, my excitement, they're going to see that no other boy is going to be able to get through," John said. "My energy level is going to tell them that I'm too hype for him, that he won't be able to keep up with me. That's when they'll know that the fight is over — done."
Friday's card also features a lightweight bout between the USA's Ryan Kielczesky — better known as the "Polish Prince" — and Benjamin Borteye from Accra, Ghana.
Tickets for the event — put on by 340 Productions in association with Seminole Warriors Boxing, matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz and Leslie Comissiong — can be purchased at MaxMart in Nisky Center, Modern Music at Havensight Mall and Fashion Source at Tutu Park Mall. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Ringside tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.
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