Fighting

South Florida boxing drought to end with 11-bout fight card at Hialeah Park and Casino

Colombian boxer Breidis Prescott works out in Miami on March 25, 2013.
Colombian boxer Breidis Prescott works out in Miami on March 25, 2013. EL NUEVO HERALD

Local fight fans finally have a boxing card on their calendars. Thursday night’s announced 11-bout card at Hialeah Park and Casino will be the first in South Florida in eight months.

The card, headlined by a welterweight bout between Miami resident Breidis Prescott and Ghana’s Fredrick Lawson, is the first local show since July 10 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I am trying to work with local arenas, but there are several factors that have kept us away,” said Leon Margules, president of Hollywood-based Warriors Boxing, which will promote the Hialeah show.

Margules said his main concern in presenting a local card is the necessity for the facility to meet TV production specifications. ESPN2 will broadcast Thursday night’s main event.

“We are not talking about the large venues like AmericanAirlines Arena or BB&T Center,” Margules said. “The place needs to look appealing for a TV broadcast. We saw that feature when we had our first show at Hialeah Park last year.”

Entertainment venues inside casinos always have found a willing partner with boxing, and South Florida has not been an exception.

Both Miccosukee Resort and Gaming in west Miami-Dade and the Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood became popular destinations for many of the sport’s top promoters during the late 1990s through the early 2010s.

However, both facilities have cooled off on boxing the past three years. Miccosukee’s only link to the sport recently is hosting World Series of Boxing matches featuring the USA Knockouts.

Casino Miami Jai-Alai and Magic City Casino (formerly Flagler Dog Track) have presented sporadic cards since the Miccosukee and Seminole facilities stopped hosting shows.

Without the suitable local partner, Margules has promoted cards in other regions of the country, including five shows at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

“Hialeah loved our first show and asked me to come back,” Margules said. “As much traveling as we’ve done, don’t you think we want to stay closer to home?”

Thursday’s card also will feature Rances Barthelemy in a co-main event bout. Barthelemy will face Angino Perez in a scheduled 10-round junior-welterweight match.

A native of Cuba, Barthelemy fought in the last local show at AmericanAirlines Arena, where he won a decision against Argenis Mendez to capture the International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight belt. But, after one successful defense, Barthelemy vacated the title to move up in weight.

▪ South Florida’s boxing activity this week won’t end with the Hialeah Park card on Thursday. After a two-match road set, the USA Knockouts will return to Miccosukee for their 11th match of the season Friday night.

The Knockouts are 6-4 after a 4-1 loss at Venezuela on Saturday night.

Coming up

Thursday (6 p.m., at Hialeah Park and Casino) 100 East 32nd St., Hialeah): announced 11-bout card, headlined by Breidis Prescott vs. Fredrick Lawson, 10, welterweights; tickets range from $20 to $75, 305-855-8000 or visit www.myticketforce.com

Friday (8 p.m. at Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, 500 S.W. 177 Ave., Miami): World Series of Boxing match between the USA Knockouts and Astana Arlans Kazakhstan; $15 adults, $10 children under 12; 305-222-4600.

Saturday (10 p.m., Showtime): Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Gary Russell, 12, for Ghonzalez’s WBC featherweight title; Jermell Charlo vs. Vanes Martirosyan, 12, junior middleweights.

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