Elijah Pierce is not letting a few defeats earlier define his career. Instead, he is now becoming one of the more legit prospects in the junior featherweight division.

Pierce will face Jean Carlos Pena tonight at Farmers Public Market in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The six-round bout will stream live on Fite.tv (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT).

In his last bout on October 15, Pierce (15-2, 13 knockouts), who resides in nearby Midwest City, knocked out once-beaten Daron Williams in the second round. In his previous fight on June 17, Pierce defeated Ryizeemmion Ford by majority decision. 

The 26-year-old has been very active in 2023. Tonight will be Pierce’s fifth fight this year. 

Pierce has won his last six bouts since a close, majority decision loss to Sulaiman Segawa in September 2019. He does have knockout victories over Irvin Gonzalez and Jesse Garcia, both of whom entered their respective fights against Pierce unbeaten.

Co-manager Jessie Tanksley believes Pierce has gotten better and has learned from those defeats and has not yet hit his peak. He wants Pierce to knock Pena out and send a message to the rest of the junior featherweight division.

“Elijah (has) manifested into a legit prospect,” Tanksley told BoxingScene Friday afternoon. “In reality, he has a heart of a champion. He will destroy his opponent Juan Pena (tonight).”

Pena (32-8, 23 KOs), who resides in Dominican Republic, lost by split decision to former world title challenger Stephon Young in his last bout on June 11. The 34-year-old has lost his last five bouts, four by knockout.

In the main event of the Maurice Williams-promoted card, Oklahoma City’s Bo Gibbs (23-3, 9 KOs) will face David Lujan in a six-round light heavyweight bout. 

Lujan (4-9 1 NC, 1 KO) last fought in September 2018, which was against Gibbs. The bout was stopped in the opening round and was ruled a no-contest after an accidental clash of heads produced a cut over Lujan’s eye that prevented him from continuing. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.