Rances Barthelemy encounters a similar obstacle to start the new year as he did in 2012.
When Barthelemy had his first fight date last year, the Miami resident shared his opponent’s unblemished record and similar championship ambitions. Moreover, Barthelemy’s bout against Hylon Williams Jr. was the main event of an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights telecast.
Fast forward 11 months, and Barthelemy deals with yet another unbeaten foe in his first bout of 2013. Barthelemy will face fellow unbeaten fighter Arash Usmanee in the main event of a show Friday night at Magic City Casino in Miami. The bout will be featured on the first ESPN2 Friday Night Fights telecast of the year.
“That’s the obvious similarity,” Barthelemy said Wednesday. “The fight against Hylon Williams was a huge step in my career, and I look forward to the same result against Usmanee.”
Barthelemy (17-0, 11 KOs) won a convincing eight-round decision against Williams and made strides in the junior-welterweight rankings. Friday’s bout, which headlines a seven-bout card, will have additional significance because the winner will earn the No. 2 ranking by the International Boxing Federation.
Usmanee (20-0, 10 KOs) is a native of Afghanistan but grew up and lives in Canada. And, although their backgrounds might differ, Usmanee and Barthelemy know each other well.
Two years ago, Usmanee spent time working out at the Thump Gym in Kendall. A native of Cuba, Barthelemy also used the same facility earlier in his career. The two fighters eventually sparred against each other.
“We struck up a friendship then, although we don’t keep in touch anymore,” Barthelemy said. “Usmanee is a very intelligent, tricky fighter. You can’t allow him to dictate rhythm and fall into his traps.”
Friday’s card also will feature Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez (15-0-1, 13 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round junior-middleweight bout against Philadelphia’s Derek Ennis (23-3-1, 13 KOs).
Miami-based fighters Robert Acevedo and Hairon Socarras are scheduled to fight in separate undercard bouts. Tickets range from $35 to $100. Information: 305-649-3000.
Santos A. Perez
Former Miami Jai-Alai player Christophe Girard died Tuesday in his native France after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 32.
Known by his last name on the Miami roster, Girard joined Miami Jai-Alai in 2007 and was a backcourt specialist. He began his amateur jai-alai career as a 10-year-old in France.
In late 2010, Girard underwent surgery for the removal of a brain tumor. After successfully completing post-surgical treatment, Girard resumed his career in August 2011. But five months later, follow-up tests revealed a second brain tumor, and Girard underwent a second operation. “Then it was the beginning of the end,” Daniel Michelena, Miami Jai-Alai’s director of player personnel, said in a statement.
Girard retired and returned to France in October. He is survived by his parents, Jean Paul and Florence.
SANTOS A. PEREZ
• St. Petersburg College 80, Broward College 76: Luis Dinolis of visiting Broward (12-4) scored 14 points in a loss to St. Petersburg (6-9). Dashawn Richmond had 12 points for Broward.
Copa de las Americas: Argentina holds an overall two-stroke lead over Colombia and the United States after Thursday’s opening round of the 2013 Copa de las Americas on the par-72 TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami.