- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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With the original main event canceled because of an injury, Golden Boy Promotions on Thursday moved its March 2 Showtime card from the Apollo Theater in New York to the Hard Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The card was originally supposed to be headlined by featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico making his first title defense against Jayson Velez, a fighter from Puerto Rico, who would have drawn the bulk of the ticket buyers.
However, Velez injured his ankle on Monday and the bout was canceled. Golden Boy and Showtime decided to go ahead with the rest of the card, including the two other bouts scheduled for the televised part of the card.
In the new main event, interim lightweight titlist Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8 KOs), a Miami-based Cuban, will face Las Vegas-based Uganda native Sharif Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs) for a vacant lightweight world title and Washington, D.C., featherweight Gary Russell Jr. (21-0, 13 KOs), the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year, will meet Vyacheslav Gusev (20-2, 5 KOs) of Russia.
"Sharif Bogere is from Vegas and is very popular there, so for him fighting for his first world title, it makes sense to take it there," Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com. "The Apollo in Spanish Harlem, in the middle of the Mexican and Puerto Rican neighborhoods, made all the sense in the world for Ponce versus Velez, but with them off the card, it makes more sense to do it from Vegas."
Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8 KOs), a Miami-based Cuban, will face Las Vegas-based Uganda native Sharif Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs) for a vacant lightweight world title.