This week’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights comes live from New Jersey featuring two undefeated bantamweight contenders, knockout star Jundy Maraon (15-0-1, 12 KO) and Juan Carlos Payano (13-0, 7 KO) going to battle in a WBA Title Eliminator.
Getting the action started on the night will be an eight round super-bantamweight co-feature where Jorge “King” Diaz (17-1, 10 KO) will face Yenifel Vicente (24-1-2, 16 KO) for the WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title.
This will be the first time boxing returns to West Orange, NJ in over 20 years, and promoters Greg Cohen and Vito Mielnicki of GH3 are excited about their set lineup.
“The Filipinos and the Dominicans both have huge communities nearby, so we expect this fight to be a hotly contested ethnic rivalry with tons of support on either side,” said promoter Greg Cohen. “It’ll be like the glory days of boxing, with flags waving and real national pride on the line.”
Last September was the first time the 28-year-old southpaw Maraon fought in over four years, but had destructed his opponents leading up to his layoff in three-year plus layoff in 2009, and will be jumping right back into the deep end as he squares off against the former Olympian Payano.
For Payano staying active and fighting consistently hasn’t been an issue, having stepped between the ropes four times in 2012 and once in 2013 (May 10).
This eliminator bout will be by far the biggest fight and test of both southpaw’s careers as they have a world title fight in their sights, and with the speed and power both possess, should make for a very fan-friendly action packed contest.
Diaz vs. Vicente features two fighters who were on the fast track to working towards a world title fight when they came up short and had their hopes derailed. But with only one loss on their resume, they know a strong performance Friday night can get their names right back into the mix of contenders.
About New Jersey native Diaz’s loss, promoter Greg Cohen commented, “Jorge suffered that tough loss, but he learned a lot and he’s back now. If he can get by Vicente, no easy task, he’ll be right back in the picture as a hot prospect. Both these guys are very aggressive, fearless types, so this fight could be the kind of war that will reignite the passions of New Jersey boxing fan.”
Also on the card is undefeated light heavyweight prospect Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell (12-0, 7 KO) putting his undefeated record on the line against Paul Vasquez. Harvell finished three of his last four opponents off in the first round, and following a layoff due to his training center in Atlantic City being shut down due to Hurricane Sandy, will be looking to continue his dominating ways.
“This training camp has gone well,” said Harvell. “My punches are strong and I have been doing strength and conditioning. I don’t know much about Vasquez but we prepare for anything.”
The action gets underway this Friday night on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.