By: Kevin Rooney, Jr., Dibella Entertainment
New York, NY (11/21/2011) - On Friday, January 6th, DiBella Entertainment will kick off the 2012 season of ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" with what promises to be an action-packed night of boxing, outdoors at Mallory Square, in beautiful Key West, Florida. Headlining the card will be WBC and WBA #9 rated Super Middleweight, Dyah Davis (20-2-1, 9KO's), taking on hard-hitting Alfonso Lopez (22-1, 17KO's), in a 10-round match-up. Opening up the show will be a can't-miss junior middleweight showdown between DiBella Entertainment's highly regarded up-and-coming prospects, Steve Martinez (11-0, 9KO's) and Jonathan Cepeda (11-0, 10KO's). Martinez-Cepeda is scheduled for eight rounds.
"January 6th begins ESPN's 2012 season with a bang," said Lou DiBella, CEO and President of DiBella Entertainment. "You have two huge punchers in the Martinez-Cepeda match-up, and someone's '0' must go. This is a terrific opener almost guaranteed to be explosive. In the main event, Dyah Davis looks to continue his climb toward a world title shot against emerging contender Alfonso Lopez. This is a helluva way to kick off the new year."
"We are pleased to be starting off the 2012 Friday Night Fights season from Key West Florida with Dibella Entertainment. Coming off a spectacular 2011 we expect the main event of Davis VS. Lopez to deliver action and excitement for our boxing fans," said ESPN Director fo Programming, Doug Loughrey.
The Florida-native Davis, son of former Olympic gold medal winner and world title challenger, Howard Davis, is two fights removed from his most impressive victory to date, a 10-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Marcus Johnson (20-0, 15KO's, at the time). Davis followed up that win with another unanimous decision victory over the always dangerous Darnell Boone in October. Davis is hoping an impressive showing on the nationally televised ESPN network will move him one step closer toward challenging for a piece of the super middleweight crown. First though, he must get passed Lopez, whose only defeat as a pro came in a disputable majority decision loss to former middleweight kingpin Kelly Pavlik.
Puerto Rican Steven Martinez, who hails from the Bronx, and is co-managed by NY Giants Running Back, Brandon Jacobs, is one of the most promising prospects to come out of New York in years. A three-time New York Golden Gloves Champion, and 2008 National Golden Gloves Champion, the 21-year-old Martinez has everything you look for in an up-and-coming prospect; size, speed, and knockout power in either hand. Martinez recently spent time serving as one of the lead sparring partners in helping prepare reigning Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez defend his title against Darren Barker this past October. Martinez was one of the featured bouts on the undercard that night, stopping the always tough Jay Krupp in the fifth round of their scheduled six-round junior middleweight contest.
Like Martinez, Cepeda is another can't-miss prospect, and a former Golden Gloves Champion. Cepeda, who is of Dominican descent, and originally hails from New Jersey, now lives and trains in Florida, under renowned trainer John David Jackson.
The bout on January 6th will be the first scheduled eight-round bout for both Martinez and Cepeda, as well as the first time either will be featured on national television.
The entire show is promoted by DiBella Entertainment. The show will air live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes at 9PM ET. A complete list of the undercard will be announced shortly. Tickets will go on sale soon.