Valley Forge, PA—Junior welterweights Naim Nelson and Ryan Belasco are looking forward to their long-awaited showdown set for Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.
At stake is the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) 140-pound title.
Nelson, 24, of Philadelphia, PA, and Belasco, 30, of Wilmington, DE, had been scheduled to collide more than one year ago, but a hand injury sustained in training by Nelson canceled the match.
“I’m looking forward to finally fighting Belasco,” Nelson told the press last night at the Valley Forge Casino Resort. “The hand injury set me back but everything has been fine since then.”
Joining Nelson was his long-time trainer Rory Bussey and his new manager, Stephen Edwards, who also manages junior middleweight sensation Julian Williams.
A pro since 2011, Nelson comes into this fight off an eight-round decision victory over previously unbeaten lefty Jerome Rodriguez, of Allentown, PA, last May 16 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
Last year Nelson (12-0, 1 K0) won the vacant Pennsylvania lightweight title by earning a 10-round decision over Victor Vasquez, of Philadelphia. He also has defeated Osnel Charles, of Atlantic City, NJ.
Belasco (18-6-3, 3 K0s) has not boxed since Oct. 13, 2012, when he lost a 10-round decision to Rod Salka in Pittsburgh, PA.
The loss to Salka snapped a four-fight win streak for Belasco, who also has defeated Tyrell Samuel, of Baltimore, MD.
The only common foe is Vasquez, who was stopped in five rounds by Belasco in 2008.
“I’ve been idle this year because my wife just had our baby and that has been slightly more important to me than fighting,” Belasco joked. “I’m anxious to get back into the ring and win a title, any title. The UBF belt would be fine with me.”
Junior lightweight Frank Santos de Alba, of Reading, PA, proudly brought his UBF belt to the press conference. He defends Oct. 4 against Jesse Carradine, of Las Vegas, NV.
“I’m up for the challenge,” said De Alba, who is 13-1-2, 5 K0s. “They say Carradine is tough and he’s only been stopped once, by Karl Dargan, who is a solid lightweight. I’m a natural junior lightweight, 130-pounder.”
Others fighters on the card in attendance included heavyweight Maurice Byarm, of Philadelphia; lightweight Travis Thompson, of Pottstown, PA; welterweight Shawn Sutton, of Norristown, PA.