Thursday, February 27, 2014
Boxcino middleweight tourney kicks off
By Bernardo Pilatti
After a successful debut last Friday to the 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament, the middleweight bracket gets its turn this time around.
The four six-round, single-elimination quarterfinal bouts scheduled will feature eight fighters competing for the right to advance to the April 18 semifinals.
Friday's middleweight pairings certainly look appealing, with names such as Donatas Bondorovas, Vitaliy Kopylenko, the powerful Sena Agbeko and Brandon Adams headlining the ESPN "Friday Night Fights" card (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.
Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1, 6 KOs) versus Willie Monroe Jr. (15-1-0, 6 KOs)
A native of Lithuania now based in Chicago, Bondorovas is an aggressive fighter who sets the distance with his jab and feels plenty comfortable exchanging punches at close range. Bondorovas has won six of his past seven bouts, with the lone loss coming against Bryan Vera on FNF. Monroe, meanwhile, is a promising prospect born into a family of fighters of the same name. Not only was his father, Willie Monroe Sr., an outstanding middleweight from 1985 to 2000, his great uncle, Willie "The Worm" Monroe, is remembered for his three battles against the legendary Marvin Hagler, whom he defeated in their first bout in 1976 before dropping the other two by knockout. Monroe, who has won his last five fights, aims to go further than his predecessors and hopes the Boxcino 2014 becomes his ticket to a title shot.
Vitaliy Kopylenko (22-0, 12 KOs) versus Cerresso Fort (17-2-1, 11 KOs)
Kopylenko, 30, of the Ukraine, will be making his debut on American soil after a fantastic 2013 that featured three victories by knockout. He is a consistent fighter with good technique who likes to work from a distance, relying on his wingspan and movement. Fort is hoping to rebound from a stoppage defeat against Caleb Truax in September. The native of St. Paul, Minn., is an opponent who sets the pace with his aggressiveness, but he lacks consistency on the offensive side, often leaving him exposed to the counter attack.
Sena Agbeko (15-0, 15 KOs) versus Ray Gatica (13-2, 8 KOs)
Expect fireworks in this pairing between two warriors with plenty of power. Agbeko, of Ghana, will attempt to extend his impressive knockout streak while making his first appearance in the U.S. Gatica, of Austin, Texas, looks to recover from a controversial defeat to Fernando Guerrero in November. Gatica is a fighter constantly on the move, looking to control the pace with quick combinations.
Brandon Adams (12-0, 8 KOs) versus Daniel Edouard (23-4-2, 14 KOs)
Adams, 24, of Los Angeles, has opened his career with 12 straight wins, albeit against relatively soft competition. He will match himself against the veteran Edouard, of Haiti, who returns to the ring following a three-year absence. At 33, Edouard has plenty of experience against the likes of Peter Manfredo, Alfonso Mosquera and Jermain Taylor.