Unbeaten Australian Blake Caparello hopes to make an impact in his American debut when he faces former world title challenger Elvir Muriqi from the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, N.J.
The 10-round light heavyweight bout is the main event of "Friday Night Fights" during an already busy weekend around New York City ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
Caparello (18-0-1, 6 KOs), who recently signed with promoter Lou DiBella, is a late replacement to face Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) after former two-division titlist Zsolt Erdei pulled out due to personal issues.
The 27-year-old Caparello, 27, who has been training in Las Vegas and has sparred with Jean Pascal, enters the new year after posting four wins in 2013. His biggest victory to date came in October when he claimed a unanimous decision over former world title challenger Allan Green in Australia.
Muriqi, 34, known as "The Kosovo Kid" due to his place of birth, is a solid and aggressive contender who makes his experience count in every fight. He is currently riding a five-bout winning streak since dropping a decision to then-titlist Clinton Woods in 2009. Muriqi is best known, however, for his controversial majority-decision loss to former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver in 2007.
Caparello, who won a decision over Aaron Pryor Jr. in 2012, is a tall southpaw with a 74-inch reach. He's an aggressive boxer who uses angles well and moves smoothly from side to side.
Muriqi is also an aggressive fighter with good leg movement and punching power. He uses a high guard defensively and usually attacks in bursts with combinations on the inside. He used a straight left hand and powerful right combo to finish Jameel Wilson in 2008 and Sam Ahmad in 2012.
Caparello should take advantage of his size and distance to control the bout. His biggest flaw is the way he opens up his defense while applying pressure, leaving him exposed to a counterattack up the middle, which seems ideal for Muriqi's style.
In the co-main event, unbeaten Luis Rosa (14-0, 6 KOs) of Puerto Rico faces New Jersey's Jorge Luis Diaz (17-2, 10 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout.