The blank calendar that has defined South Florida’s boxing show activity so far this year will finally have an occupied date.
Fort Lauderdale-based Heavyweight Factory will present an announced 12-bout card Friday night at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.
“The public can expect a good night of boxing featuring talent, former world champions, regional titles,” Henry Rivalta, Heavyweight Factory director of boxing, said in a recent news conference. “This is a very complete card.
“The fights are very evenly matched and this is what boxing needs.”
The main event will match Stephon Young, of St. Louis, and the Philippines’ Reymart Gaballo for a second-tier World Boxing Association bantamweight belt.
“Winning this fight means everything,” said Young, who is 17-0-3 with seven knockouts. “It’s a big accomplishment and nothing can keep me from my dreams. On [Friday], I will be champion.”
Young’s aspirations, however, might deal with resistance.
Gaballo, 21, from General Santos City, the same Philippines city which produced eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, has won his first 18 professional fights, including 16 by knockouts.
After winning his first 15 fights in the Philippines, Gaballo has made two U.S. ring appearances, scoring two knockouts. Leading to Friday’s bout against Young, Gaballo also had a knockout victory in Mexico.
Friday’s card also will feature former world super-bantamweight Juan Carlos Payano in a co-main event. Payano, of the Dominican Republic, will face Mike Plania in a scheduled 10-round junior-featherweight match.
South Florida fighters will figure prominently in undercard bouts.
Among the local fighters featured in the undercard are three-time national amateur champion Steve Geffrard, of Boca Raton, and Cutler Bay resident Jessy Cruz.
AROUND THE RING
▪ The hype about a title unification bout between heavyweight champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua intensified after Wilder retained his World Boxing Council belt with a 10th-round TKO victory over Miami resident Luis Ortiz two weeks ago.
However, before the hype continues Joshua will need to fulfill the end of his immediate ring responsibility in another unification fight.
Joshua, the reigning WBA and International Boxing Federation champion, will fight World Boxing Organization titleholder Joseph Parker on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales.
▪ A new year and Plantation resident Xander Zayas continues to excel in amateur tournaments. Zayas won the 125-pound division final of the USA Boxing Western Qualifiers March 10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The victory earned Zayas a berth on the U.S. national team which will compete in the Junior World Championships May 11-21 in Azerbaijan. Last year, Zayas, 17, won one national championship and four state and two regional tournaments.
▪ Jose Ramirez won the vacant WBC super-lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Amir Imam late Saturday in New York.
All three judges scored the bout for Ramirez, 120-108, 117-111 and 115-113.
The title became vacant after Terence Crawford renounced his four sanctioning body belts and moved up to the welterweight division
Friday (7 p.m., at Seminole Hard Rock Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood): Scheduled 12-bout card, headlined by Stephon Young vs. Reymart Gaballo, 12, bantamweights; tickets range between $55 and $255; 1-800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com
Saturday (7 p.m., at Miami Airport Convention Center, 711 N.W. 72nd Ave., Miami): Scheduled 15-bout card, headlined by Melvin Lopez vs. Edwin Rodriguez, 10, bantamweights; for ticket information call 305-467-3062.