News: Michael Perez vs. Eric Cruz on Saturday; Attou-Vandekerkhove on Friday; Estrada vs. Gonzales

LOS ANGELES, June 26 - It promises to be a hot summer in Puerto Rico this year, and things will start heating up at the Coliseo Roger Mendoza in Caguas on Saturday, June 30 when two of Puerto Rico's rising lightweight stars, Michael "The Artist" Perez and Eric Cruz, headline a TeleFutura "Sólo Boxeo Tecate" broadcast in the main event of an explosive night of boxing featuring a host of the island's favorite battlers.

The co-main event will also feature an All-Puerto Rico showdown as unbeaten Jeffrey Fontanez of Caguas takes on Aguadilla's Pedro Hernandez in a four round junior welterweight matchup. Plus, undefeated standout Eddie Gomez will compete against Bayamon's Joseph De Los Santos in an eight round non-televised fight.

Perez vs. Cruz, a 10 round lightweight bout, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions and H2 Entertainment and is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. AT and the first bell rings at 7:00 p.m. AT. The TeleFutura "Sólo Boxeo Tecate" broadcast begins at 11:00 p.m. AT/ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $10, $15 and $25 are available for purchase by calling (787) 792-5000 and online at

Returning to the ring for the first time since his upset loss to undefeated fellow prospect Omar Figueroa in January, Lares, Puerto Rico native Michael "The Artist" Perez (15-1-1, 9 KO's), who now resides in Newark, New Jersey, has been waiting for this moment for months. On June 30, he will show the world that his fight against Figueroa was merely a bad night and that he's ready to take on the lightweight division's elite. A fan favorite in Puerto Rico, where he is 4-0 with impressive wins over Ira Terry and Tyrone Harris, the 22-year-old will feed off the energy of his local fans as he looks to get back in the win column.

Toa Baja, Puerto Rico's Eric Cruz (16-9-3, 13 KO's) is the type of fighter no one wants to meet in the ring. He has the kind of power that can change a fight in a split second as evidenced by his eight opponents who didn't make it out of the first round. Now attempting to add a second straight loss to Perez' record, the 24-year-old will test whether Perez is ready for primetime or not.

19-year-old Jeffrey Fontanez (7-0, 6 KO's) has shown plenty of pop in his fists with five of his opponents being sent to defeat in less than a round. That kind of finishing ability has made the Caguas native the talk of the island, so it's up to fellow islander Pedro "El Gago" Hernandez (6-5-1, 2 KO's) to show the youngster some veteran tricks and silence the hype on June 30.

Even though Eddie Gomez is just 8-0 (6 KO's) in his promising young career, the buzz is growing louder and louder about the native of The Bronx with the fast hands and fight ending power. Coming off of a near shutout decision win over David Lopez in February, the 19-year-old junior middleweight is ready for whatever awaits him in the ring against Bayamon's Joseph De Los Santos (11-8-3, 4 KO's) on Saturday.

Attou vs. Vandekerkhove For WBF Title

After starting his career out as a journeyman, going 4-4-1 in his first nine bouts, French Super Welterweight Zakaria Attou has turned things around for himself and will be challenging for the vacant World Boxing Federation International title on June 29 at the Salle Marcel Cerdan in Paris suburb Poissy.

Since his up-and-down beginning, Attou has won six straight fights and now spots a respectable 10-4-1 (4) record before his first ever ten-round championship contest. And he will not be in with a walk-over adversary, as the man in the opposite corner is leaps and bounds ahead of the Frenchman in the experience department.

The opponent will be Belgian champion Kobe Vandekerkhove, 21-13-3 (6), a veteran of nine title bouts, who, besides winning his country’s national championship twice, has also challenged for BeNeLux and European Union titles and fought top-opponents all over Europe. He will without a doubt be the best fighter Attou has faced as a pro!

Vanderkerkove is coming off two victories this year, and will not be fazed by the home-mans credentials. While Attou will be enjoying the support of the patriotic crowd at ringside, Vanderkerkhove has “been there, done that” in fights against Emmanuele Della Rosa and Luciano Abis in Italy, Brian Rose in England and Jussi Koivula in Finland, to name a few.

The Belgian will like his chances in this one, despite travelling to his opponent’s home turf. And Attou, having gotten used to being a winner, is full of confidence that his streak will not come to an end on June 29 and that he will pick up the WBF title in front of the local fans.

It looks like a real fifty-fifty fight, and it remains to be seen who brings most to the ring on fight-night!

Jason Estrada vs. Alex Gonzales on Friday

PROVIDENCE (June 26, 2012) -- Healthy for the first time in his professional career, 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason "Big Six" Estrada continues his march back to the top of the heavyweight division, headlining Friday night's Big Six Entertainment-presented "Takeover" card, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

The 31-year-old Estrada (18-4, 5 KOs), fighting out of Providence, faces 1992 Puerto Rican Olympian Alex Gonzales (20-6, 10 KOs) in the eight-round main event. One of the most decorated amateur boxers in United States history, Estrada is coming off of arguably his most impressive performance last March, a stunning second-round knockout of veteran Dominque Alexander.

At the height of his career, to date, Estrada went the distance on the road in highly competitive fights with present World Boxing Association ("WBA") World Heavyweight Champion Alexander Povetkin, as well as two-time, two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek.

Estrada's most notable victims have included Lance Whitaker, Derek Bryant, Charles Shufford and Zuri Lawrence. Throughout his career, however, Jason was hampered by aggravating injuries to his elbow and ankle, which have been repaired through surgeries, allowing him to fight pain-free and putting him back in the heavyweight picture.

"This is the first time I've been healthy since before the 2004 Olympic Games (he suffered from plantar fasciitis)," Estrada explained. "It's made a huge difference for me, training and in fights. I'm not worried anymore about hurting something. Now, I'm throwing without recourse.

"This is another one of our shows (Big Six Entertainment), so I don't have to worry about all of the nonsense working for other promoters. I want to keep active. I enjoy fighting at home in Providence. I've never felt added pressure fighting here but, fighting in front of family and friends, I always want to look good, not just win."

Gonzales is an experienced southpaw who is a past United States Boxing Association heavyweight champion. He has been in the ring with former world champion Vassiliy Jirov and world title challenger Calvin Brock.

"I don't have problems fighting southpaws," Estrada said. "I've beaten four or five as a pro and fought so many as an amateur. In the early nineties, southpaw was the style of many International boxers.

"I'm getting back to where I was. I'm not there, yet, but I believe a big fight is on the horizon for me. I just want to keep fighting and beat some big names. I'm hoping to win a few titles and make some money before it's all over for me."

In the six-round co-feature, former USBA/NABO middleweight champion Brian "The Bull" Barbosa (30-6, 22 KOs), also fighting out of Providence, meets dangerous Mississippi light heavyweight John Johnson (13-2, 10 KOs).

Pawtucket (RI) welterweight Diego Periera (6-0-1, 2 KOs) puts his unbeaten on the line versus William "Chino" Correa (9-5, 8 KOs), of Framingham (MA), in a six-round contest.

Also fighting on the undercard in four-round bouts are Providence welterweight Kali Reiss (4-1-1, 2 KOs) vs. Lyneisha Jefferson (0-1), of Newark (NJ), Providence junior welterweight Josh "Bam Bam" Beeman (4-11-3, 2 KOs) vs. Robert Hunt (0-2), of Hyannis (MA), Waterbury (CT) light welterweight Jair Ramos (2-0, 1 KO) vs. New Bedford's Joel Alarcon (0-2), Providence's Rameil Shelton (0-4) vs. Puerto Rican junior middleweight Jesus Cintron (0-1-1), and Cape Cod heavyweight Jesse Barboza (4-1-1, 3 KOs), of Hyannis (MA), vs. Salmon "Manos de Piedra" Beccera (2-5, 2 KOs).

Pawtucket lightweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary, a 2010 National Golden Gloves champion who has signed a promotional deal with Top Rank, makes his much anticipated pro debut against Jonathan Caban (0-2) in a four-round match. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets, reasonably priced at $35.00, $45.00 and $75.00, are available to purchase by calling 1.401.241.3490 (RI) or 1.617.312.5059 (MA), going on line at www.bigsixentertainment, com or, and at the Rhode Island Convention Center box office.

Doors open at 6 PM/ET with the first bout scheduled for 7 PM/ET.

Article posted on 27.06.2012

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