Ring City USA today announced two compelling undercard matchups that will round out the main card for its Thursday, April 22 event from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. and live on NBC Sports Network (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The co-main event of the evening is a women’s featherweight world title bout between WBA World Champion Jelena Mrdjenovich (41-10-2, 19 KOs) of Edmonton, Canada, and world ranked contender Erika Cruz Hernandez (12-1-0, 3 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico, scheduled for ten rounds. Also featured on the NBC Sports Network main card is a highly anticipated clash between top undefeated junior welterweight prospects Juan Pablo ‘El Pivi’ Romero (13-0, 9 KOs) of Villa del Carbon, Mexico and Jonathan ‘Thunder’ Navarro (17-0, 9 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif., scheduled for ten rounds.
Mrdjenovich, 38, returns to the Ring City USA squared circle following her fifth world title defense, a 10-round unanimous decision victory against Iranda Paolo Torres on December 17, 2020 at the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, Calif. The three-division world champion won the WBA world title in March 2016 defeating champion Edith Matthysse. A pioneer for women’s boxing in Canada, Mrdjenovich is currently the second-ranked featherweight in the world by Ring Magazine, behind only recent Ring City victor Amanda Serrano.
Upset-minded Cruz Hernandez, 30, will be challenging for her first world title. The southpaw is currently riding an 11-bout winning streak including victories over world ranked contenders Vissia Trovato and Jocelyn Morales Torres.
Making his United States debut, heavy-handed Juan Pablo Romero arrives for battle following a ten-round unanimous decision over Sergio Torres on November 28, 2020 in Mexico City, Mexico. Prior to his most recent outing, Romero, 31, has faced top competition for a rising prospect and performed well by knocking out four consecutive opponents within the first four rounds.
The 24-year-old Jonathan Navarro has become one of the most highly touted prospects in the United States since turning professional five years ago. The nephew of former perennial contenders Jose and Carlos Navarro, Jonathan is trained by the renowned Robert Garcia. Coming off a 17-month layoff, he hits the ring following a tremendous second round knockout of Lebin Morales on October 24, 2019 in Indio, CA. Among the victories on his ledger include a seventh-round knockout over then-unbeaten contender Damon Allen in August 2018.
The April 22 event from West Point, N.Y. is headlined by the previously announced heavyweight clash between undefeated contenders Jermaine Franklin (20-0, 13 KOs) and Stephan Shaw (14-0, 10 KOs). Bonus undercard action will stream live around the world on Twitch. Armed Forces Network Europe and Pacific will also make the broadcast available to U.S. Forces serving overseas on AFN TV.
Universum Box-Promotion and Salita Promotions will co-host the inaugural event of their ambitious new partnership by presenting a mammoth 14-fight night of boxing at the Universum Gym in Hamburg, Germany, and streamed live on BILD +.
In the 12-round main event, former 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, BDB German International and IBO Continental Super Lightweight Champion Artem “The Original” Harutyunyan (9-0, 6 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany via Yerevan, Armenia, will face WBA #9 and former world title challenger Oliver “Trombita” Flores (30-3-2, 19 KOs) from Leon, Nicaragua, for the WBA International Lightweight Championship.
And in the 10-round co-main event, former IBF International Welterweight and EBU European Union Super Lightweight Champion Timo Schwarzkopf (20-4, 12 KOs) from Stuttgart, Germany via Mleqan, Kosovo will face Sochi, Russia via Yerevan, Armenia’s former WBC International Lightweight Champion Vage Sarukhanyan (20-2-2, 4 KOs).
Also appearing on the livestream will be an intriguing eight-round showdown between undefeated light heavyweights, as Essen, Germany’s Rostam Ibrahim (6-0-1, 3 KOs) takes on Stuttgart’s Altin Zogaj (7-0, 5 KOs).
In an eight-round women’s special attraction, undefeated 20-year-old Phannarai “Fai Phannarai” Netisri (7-0, 4 KOs) of Schwabach, Bayern, Germany via Bangkok, Thailand will take on once-beaten 23-year-old Cheyenne “Pepper” Hanson (8-1, 6 KOs) of Augsburg, Bayern, Germany, for the WBC Youth Female Super Bantamweight Championship.
A six-round heavyweight battle is also scheduled for broadcast between southpaw Senad “GachineGun” Gashi (20- 3, 20 KOs) of Marbella, Andalucía, Spain via Pec, Kosovo and undefeated German KO specialist Dominic Vial (6-0, 5 KOs) of Moenchengladbach, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
In a six-round super middleweight bout, former World Boxing Federation World Super Welterweight World Champion Rafael “Karibik Tiger” Bejaran (26-5-1, 12 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany via Esperanza, Dominican Republic will take on Altoetting, Bayern, Germany’s Florian Wildenhof (30-6-1, 11 KOs).
And to open the broadcast, undefeated Cuban lightweight Frank Zaldivar will face an opponent that is TBA in a six-rounder.
“We are very happy to be able to present a very international fight card worldwide on April 24,” said Ismail Özen-Otto, CEO of Universum. “In the main fight we have two elite athletes, Artem Harutyunyan the Olympic bronze winner of the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 against WBA #9 contender Oliver Flores from Nicaragua. The winner of this fight could soon be a world championship challenger.”
“I am excited about working with Universum CEO Ismail Özen- Otto and matchmaker Flavio Oleaga Mirabal and all their world-class fighters,” added Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “On April 24, boxing fans will get a chance to see some of the best international talent on the planet in competitive, match-ups.”
Oleaga Mirabal, who put the card together, says he’s happy about the exposure the Universum fighters will receive from the partnership with Salita. “The fight card is very exciting. We will stream it in Germany with our media partner Bild + and thanks to our US partner Salita Promotions, we will also broadcast it internationally with other media partners,” he said. “This is a great start to our collaboration.”
A further seven fights will be held on the untelevised portion of the undercard, featuring several of Germany’s next wave of boxing talent in career-building challenges.
The April 24 broadcast will begin at 7:30 German time (1:30 pm ET in the US).
This past Saturday night, popular heavyweight Joey Dawejko knocked out Joe Jones in the opening round of their scheduled eight-round heavyweight bout at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
The bout headlined a card promoted by RDR Promotions.
Dawejko was dominant in dropping Jones twice, with the final punch coming from a big left hook, and the fight was halted at 2:50.
Dawejko of Philadelphia improved his record to 21-8-4 with 12 knockouts. Jones falls to 11-4.
In the co-feature, surging lightweight Nahir Albright notched his third consecutive stoppage victory by stopping Dante Cox in round three of their scheduled six-round bout.
Albright dropped Cox twice in round two, and finished him off at 2:13 of the third frame.
Albright of Sicklerville, NJ is now 11-1 with five knockouts. Cox of Glen Burnie, MD is 6-2.
Former National Golden Gloves champion Mike Hilton shrugged off a knockdown to win a six-round unanimous decision over Twon Smith in a cruiserweight fight.
Smith put Hilton down for a flash knockdown in round three from a left. That was sandwiched around Hilton outboxing Smith, and Hilton took all three cards by 58-55 scores.
Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 11-0. Smith falls to 3-5.
Afunwa King scored a mild upset by taking a six-round majority decision over previously undefeated Benny Sinakin in a light heavyweight bout.
King took two cards by 58-56 tallies, while a third card read even at 57-57.
King is now 3-1. Sinakin of Philadelphia is 6-1.
Matthew Gonzalez of Brooklyn, New York remained undefeated by taking out Luis Eduardo Florez in round five of a scheduled six-round junior welterweight bout.
The time of the stoppage was 2:13 for Gonzalez, who is now 12-0 with eight knockouts. Florez is now 25-19.
Rasheen Brown stopped late-replacement Christopher Nelson in round three of their four-round featherweight fight.
Brown dominated with body shots, and the fight was stopped at 1:50 of round three. A West Philadelphia native, Brown is 7-0 with four knockouts. Nelson is 3-18.
Tahmir Smalls remained undefeated by winning a four-round unanimous decision over Andres Abarca in a welterweight bout.
Scores were 40-34 twice and 39-35 for Smalls, who is now 3-0. Abarca,is 2-4.
Jahdon Ervin made a successful pro debut by taking a four-round unanimous decision over Kareem Gladney in a middleweight fight.
Ervin of St. Clair, PA is 1-0. Gladney is 0-4.