lightweight Angelo Santana will face Carlos Cardenas for the WBA interim lightweight championship, and undefeated super lightweight prospect Amir “Young Master” Imam meets Jeremy Bryan in the co-feature on Friday, April 12 at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The 12-round fight will be the first for both Santana and Cardenas, The WBA’s No. 3- and No. 4-ranked contenders, respectively. Santana, a 24-year-old southpaw, was a two-time national champion in Cuba before defecting to Miami to follow his dreams of winning a boxing title. Blessed with heavy hands, he has stopped his last seven opponents in five rounds or less.
Cardenas is a tough Venezuelan who campaigned at super featherweight until last year. He was a two-time WBC Continental Americas champion as well as a WBC FECARBOX regional champion.
Promoter Don King sees similarities between boxers, civil rights pioneers and the American dream.
“I have named the event Fight For Freedom …The Dream Lives On in dedication to all the Freedom Fighters and trail blazers who fought for a better America,” King said. “My boxer Angelo Santana risked his life on a raft from Cuba with 27 others, braving the hazards of the ocean and inclement weather to arrive in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. The Dream lives on.”
“On the night of this fight, it will be exactly 31 years since we lost the inimitable and incomparable ‘Brown Bomber’ Joe Louis. I remember a memorial we had at Caesars Palace with me and Frank Sinatra on behalf of the great champion of freedom and the boxing world. Remember what Joe said during World War II: ‘We can’t lose because God is on our side.’ The Dream lives on.
“I recently saw that Warner Bros. will launch their new movie “42” on the night of our fight. Branch Rickey broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947, and now Jackie Robinson is an American hero. The Dream lives on.
“Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. An assassin took him from us on April 4, 1968. They killed the body, but his Dream lives on as evidenced by the fact that 45 years later we have an African American President in the White House. I must add to that a quote from Frederic Douglass: ‘Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening.’”
The fast-handed power-punching Imam, a 2011 U.S. Olympic alternate, has won all but one of his fights by knockout. Since winning a four-round decision in his pro debut on Nov. 5, 2011, Imam has won seven fights in a row by knockout, all inside four rounds.
Bryan was a National Golden Gloves Champion and national under-19 champion who notched wins over current WBA/WBC 140-pound world champion Danny Garcia and former world-title challenger John Molina in the amateurs. Bryan, a pro since November 2007, is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eight-round unanimous decision over former European champion Yuri Romanov on Jan. 4 in Miami.
In the top non-televised undercard bout, Ryan “The Irish Outlaw” Coyne (21-0, 9 KOs), from St. Louis, and Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 KOs), from Lawrence, Kan., will collide in a battle of unbeatens in a WBA light heavyweight elimination bout. The two were to have met on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs. Tavoris Cloud on March 9 before Coyne suffered a cut during training that resulted in a postponement.
The winner of Coyne vs. Oliveira, scheduled for 12 rounds, will become the No. 1-ranked light heavyweight by the WBA and the mandatory challenger to its champion, Beibut Shumenov.
March 29, 2013