By Chris Cella
This Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, HBO Boxing After Dark will be airing two title fights as Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell and Johnathon Banks battle for Mitchell’s NABO title and the vacant WBC International heavyweight title, as well as Adrien “The Problem” Broner and Antonio DeMarco fighting for DeMarco’s WBC lightweight belt.
Setting the stage for these title fights is an action packed undercard featuring veterans of the ring as well as local up-and-coming stars.
In an eight round bout Philadelphia’s former USBA light welterweight title holder Demetrius “The Gladiator” Hopkins (31-2-1, 11 KO) will throw hands with Keenan Collins (14-7-3, 9 KO). Nephew of boxing legend Bernard Hopkins, 32-year-old Demetrius will be fighting in his second bout at 154 pounds, having won a unanimous decision over Doel Carrasquillo this past September.
Twice in his career Hopkins has worked his way to fighting for a world title, but has fallen short (against Kendall Holt in 2008 for the WBO light welterweight title and March of 2011 against Brad Solomon for the WBA International welterweight title), but he looks comfortable as a light middleweight and is hoping to win in impressive fashion over Collins as he moves up the ranks.
Despite going 12-1-1 in his first 14 pro fights, Collins has since been nothing short of inconsistent between the ropes, going 2-6-2 with 1 NC in his 11 fights thereafter. He will have his work cut out for him against the crafty Hopkins Saturday night; he has shown power in his hands early in his career, and will need to land a few money shots on his slick opponent if he wants to have any chance at emerging victoriously.
Another featured undercard bout highlights undefeated Canadian welterweight Phil “The Italian Sensation” Lo Greco (24-0, 13 KO) as he puts his unblemished record on the line against welterweight journeyman Daniel Sostre (11-7-1, 4 KO). Lo Greco captured the WBO International welterweight title in 2010, establishing himself around the world as a top up-and-coming prospect, and has since fought in the United States twice and has put on impressive performances for fans.
Sostre will be looking to play spoiler, as Lo Greco is eager to continue his winning ways and build himself a fan base here in the states. Having lost his last four fights, Sostre hasn’t had his hand raised in the ring since March of 2010, and will be looking to end the year with an upset win over the favorite Lo Greco.
The full fight card for this action packed night of boxing is as follows:
12 rounds- NABO/vacant WBC International heavyweight title- Seth Mitchell vs. Johnathon Banks
12 round- WBO lightweight title- Adrien Broner vs. Antonio DeMarco
Light middleweight- Demetrius Hopkins vs. Keenan Collins
Welterweight- Phil Lo Greco vs. Daniel Sostre
Light middleweight- Julian Williams vs. Jonel Tapia
Light heavyweight- Thomas Williams Jr. vs. TBA
Zachary Ochoa vs. Michael Salcido
Lightweight- Terron Grant vs. Abraham Esquivel
Welterweight- Patryk Szymanski vs. TBA
This card will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern.