When Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and the producers of ESPN2"Friday Night Fights" unveiled their plan for a single-elimination Boxcino 2014 tournament to begin on February 21, 2014, you just knew they’d have to include at least one fighter from San Diego.
Our local representative in the tournament is 24 year-old, light middleweight Brandon “Cannon” Adams who for the last couple years has been managed and promoted by San Diego’s Bobby D Presents. Locals have had an opportunity to see six of his fights which were either staged at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in San Diego or just across the border in Tijuana at Salon Las Pulgas.
Adams, one of nine children, grew up in Watts, California, just outside of downtown Los Angeles. Always athletic, it wasn’t until the age of 17 that he got involved in boxing. Veteran trainer Dub Huntley, who trained Laila Ali, Iran Barkley and Johnny Tapia as well as served as the inspiration for Morgan Freeman’s character Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris in the Oscar award winning film “Million Dollar Baby,” trained Adams at the famed Broadway Boxing Gym in Los Angeles.
The now married Adams fought in just six amateur bouts with a pedestrian record of 4-2 before turning pro in San Diego on March 31, 2011 against boxer/MMA fighter Erin Beach.
Since that first, quite difficult fight, he has fought more or less pedestrian fighters on the way to honing his skills. Along with his 12 pro fights, Adams has benefitted big time by sparring with the likes of Aaron Martinez, former Olympians Carlos and Javier Molina, Hugo Centeno Jr. and former title challenger Freddie Hernandez.
Adams considered one of the most promising, blue chip prospects under the Bobby D Presents umbrella, is dedicated, focused and charismatic.
The list of middleweight competitors in the tournament include:
Brandon Adams (12-0, 7 KOs) of San Diego
Sena Agbeko (15-0, 15 KOs) of Accra, Ghana
Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1, 6 KOs) of Chicago, Illinois
Daniel Edouard (23-4-2, 12 KOs) of West Palm Beach, Fla.
Cerresso Fort (17-2-1, 11 KOs) of St. Paul, Minn.
Raymond Gatica (13-1, 7 KOs) of Austin, Texas
Willie Monroe Jr. (15-1, 6 KOs) of Rochester, N.Y.
Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0, 12 KOs) of Kiev, Ukraine
The lightweight contestants include:
Yakubu Amidu (22-4-1, 18 KOs) Los Angeles by way of Accra, Ghana
Fernando Carcamo (15-5, 12 KOs) of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico
Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio
Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-2-2, 21 KOs) of Aguascalientes, Mexico
Samuel “Unbelievable” Neequaye (21-0, 15 KOs) of Accra, Ghana
Fedor “Knockout Man” Papazov (14-0, 9 KOs) of Tuapse, Russia
Petr Petrov (32-4-2, 15 KOs) of Madrid, Spain
Chris Rudd (12-1, 8 KOs) of Covington, Tenn.
The draw for both brackets will be unveiled on this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 9 ET). The quarterfinal bouts will be scheduled six-rounders, the semifinal matches will be slated for eight rounds and the two finals will be 10-round bouts. The boxer who wins each weight class receives the Boxcino 2014 title belt.
"We are looking forward to showcasing this tournament on 'Friday Night Fights' and 'Noche de Combates' (on ESPN Deportes)," said Brian Kweder, ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions. "It will give fans an opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming fighters in the sport.”
The lightweight quarterfinals are first up on February 21 at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev. The middleweight quarterfinals follow the following week on February 28 at Harrah's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
The lightweight semifinal round will take place March 28 at the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge which is four miles west of New Town, North Dakota. The middleweight semifinals are on April 18 at the Turning Resort & Casino in Verona, N. Y.
The finals in both weight classes will take place May 23, at Turning Stone.
Like their competitor, Showtime, who did well when airing their Super Six Tournament, ESPN is hoping to duplicate that success. This will be the second time Banner Promotions and ESPN have put on such a tournament. Their first was back in 1997, and that tournament produced a major star in Acelino "Popo" Freitas of Brazil, who went on to win world titles at junior lightweight and lightweight and became one of boxing's most celebrated fighters.