Kicking off the Philly Fight Night series Friday, March 10, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia are 11 fights. Topping the show will be an old-fashioned, all-Philly rumble when lightweights Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow collide after an eight-week training camp for each. In the six-round semifinal, Philadelphia favorite Fred Jenkins Jr. meets Roque Zapata, of Culpeper, VA. The first fight will begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets will be available at the door.
The four fighters and their trainers had this to say about training camp:
“Camp was great; I feel strong and focused. I am in amazing shape for March 10. It was a benefit for me being in Puerto Rico, not only because of the weather but also for the new things I learned and did there to bring my talent to another level mentally and physically. I pushed my body to limits I didn’t even know my body could go to. Now I am just ready for March 10.
“The feeling of fighting a main event in Philly is unbelievable. I am greatly appreciative to have this big opportunity, especially in my own city where all my friends and family can watch. It’s only the beginning for what’s in store for Anthony ‘Bad Boy’ Burgin.
“Every fight for me is an important fight. There is no added pressure just because I am headlining the card, but never have I been so focused for a fight like this and it scares me as crazy as that sounds. I can’t wait to step in the ring. I have been sparring with Michael Perez and a few other guys from Puerto Rico, just working on the game plan.”
TRAINER Raul Rivas:
“Anthony looks amazing; like he’s fighting for a world title. His conditioning and mindset is very focused.
“Camp has been the best ever, I feel the best I have felt in my whole career. We worked hard and smart. I have grown from my last fights, inside the ring and out. I got stronger physically and mentally. I feel it’s going to be hard to beat a guy like me when I’m this focused. I’ve been beating guys just off my talent and now that I’m in peak shape you’re going to see the best Avery ‘A Plus’ Sparrow. The fans and boxing supporters are going see that I’m a world-class fighter and one of boxing’s next superstars. I’ve been under the radar from the beginning of my career.
“It feels great to be fighting in the main event and it’s been a long time coming. I have a lot of fans all around but there’s no place like home. We are ‘war ready’ and we’re gonna put on a great show for the hometown fans who have been supporting me from the start. I want to give them a knockout because that’s what they deserve. We are not looking for a knockout; we’re just looking to put on a great show and get the win so I can put our city on the map again since Danny Garcia just lost the title. Someone needs to stand up for Philadelphia. I feel I’m the perfect candidate I have the look, skills, power, talent and the work ethic to put the city on my back. All in all it just my time and my city gets to witness the first step in greatness for Avery “A Plus” Sparrow.
“Training at home has been positive. I get to train alongside Bernard Hopkins, Jesse Hart and other top guys from Philadelphia who work hard and push me. They give me good advice and knowledge of the game. We also have the best fighters in the world here so I get the best sparring. By training in Philly, my team and I can’t go wrong. I’m at the point in my life and career where I’ve been through so much there’s nothing negative about anything in my life. Just waking up in the morning is blessing to me. I could have trained anywhere and still been focused.
“I like Anthony; he’s a good guy, very humble and a good fighter. I just feel like he missed his window. He’s been stopped, he has two losses and he’s just not mean enough to beat a guy like me I’m ready to die in there and I don’t think he is.”
TRAINER Greg Hackett:
“Everyone knows what it is. They are coming to see Anthony Burgin get his head chopped off. This is not a fight; this is an execution. Avery Sparrow looks like a brand new Bugatti on the showroom floor. His ability to focus has been amazing. Anything I ask for, he gives it to me. He turned it up for this fight. Anthony Burgin is a prime duck, ready to be plucked!”
Fred Jenkins Jr.:
“Camp has been awesome. I can’t wait for this fight. It is everything. It’s not just a fight, it’s do or die. I look at all my fights the same. I go about it as if it’s a fight, it’s boxing. Boxing is fighting. All that extra shit people do, that’s not me, it’s just this is life and death, it’s a fight and I’m gonna get in there and fight the best fight I ever fought. Throughout my life I have been training around world champs and contenders
“I am not looking past this fight. I look past no one. I’m the son of a man who has been around for a long time and I know they know me. Every opponent is coming to fight and either knows or assumes they know who I am because of my dad. It means a lot to be fighting the semifinal, but you’re supposed to go into every fight the same. It’s not about thinking this fight is more important than that fight. The job is to go in there and win by any means necessary. The object is to win. My goal is to get in there and win every time.
“Zapata is just a fighter who comes to fight. He’s fighting Fred Jenkins Jr. this time and he’s in for a real fight. He has never fought anybody before. He’s fighting somebody now. If you want to know more, come see fight night what I am about. I saw him fight Isaiah Wise and it was a good fight. One thing I noticed was that he threw a lot of punches and Wise was still fighting. Wise was really hitting him but he (Zapata) was out-working Wise. I saw what Zapata can do but I’m a fighter and I’m just gonna get in there and fight until the end. I live for this; I get a kick out of it. I love it. I’m not the bragging and boasting type. I’m a quiet guy but when the heat is on I’m gonna fight.”
TRAINER Fred Jenkins, Sr.:
“Fred looks superb. Whatever Zapata brings to the table we are going to match it. After this fight we are looking to move into co-main event position.”
“I feel honored to be back fighting in Philadelphia. Knowing that my performance is what brought me back and that is what I plan to do, give the fans a fight! Of course, I want to get the win but it’s up to me to see if I can pull the trigger and perform at the absolute best.
“Jenkins has a lot more boxing experience. It doesn’t bother me at all. All I know is that Jenkins is going to do what he always does best and I’m going to do what I do best. One of us will get the best of the other and on Friday night everyone will see who is better.
“I am not worried about coming to his backyard or being the underdog. In my MMA days and in boxing I’ve been fighting in the other guy’s backyard a lot and I love it. I know I’ll get the best Fred Jenkins, Jr., that night and it’ll be fun. Being the underdog isn’t something I worry about. I’ve been the underdog in all of my fights. To me it means people are doubting my abilities and that’s fine. I’m used to it.”
TRAINER Eric Zamora:
“He is very focused and hungry for this fight. He’s put in the necessary work to have his hand raised on March 10. We have enhanced his strengths and worked on his weaknesses. Expect to see a Roque like never before.”