Joe DeGuardia: Building star boxers one fight at a time

Star Boxing 15/04/2016
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Ed Diller

Star Boxing president and founder Joe DeGuardia has shown a unique ability of identifying young, skilled fighters and then guiding them to championship contention…and beyond.

Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs), who returns to the scene of his greatest triumph when he headlines Saturday’s nationally-televised Premier Boxing Champions card at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center against undefeated Olympian Errol Spence, Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs), is a case in point. The Pride of Huntington vaulted from crowd-pleaser on his home turf at The Paramount to champion of the world with an upset victory of Ruslan Provodnikov for the super lightweight world title on June 14, 2014. The monumental triumph earned him a mega-fight against the legendary Manny Pacquiao later that year.

“Joe has a magical formula at The Paramount,” says former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney. “DeGuardia is a former boxer (1988 NY Golden Gloves champion), and I believe that really helps him. He understands the fighters, and watches out for them. He makes these guys fight durable guys. He and matchmaker Ron Katz are a great combination. They put them in tough fights.”

“He has done a great job with Chris Algieri, and now Joe Smith, Jr. is an up-and-coming light heavyweight. Hats off to Joe. It’s sold out every time at the Paramount, so the fighters have also been able to build the fan base.”

Former NYSAC Randy Gordon, now a boxing commentator and radio host, and a NYS Boxing Hall of Famer, echoes Cooney’s sentiment. “As a former boxer himself on a high level, Joe understands the boxer’s mentality. Building a fighter’s career is not about one fight, it’s a process. With Algieri, he saw the skill, and was able to grow him. Coupled with a great matchmaker in Ron Katz, they walk the fighters through the process. I actually picked him to beat Provodnikov because I watched the process take place at the Paramount. As for Joe Smith, Jr., he may have Kovalev power.”

Algieri, the former WBO World super lightweight titlist, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Erik Bone on December 5 at Barclays. Airtime for the PBC broadcast is at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

The belief is that Joe Smith, Jr. (20-1, 16 KOs) will take a similar path to Algieri. The Mastic, Long Island product looks to continue his climb up the light heavyweight ladder when he faces tough and dangerous Brazilian Fabiano Pena (16-4-1, 13 KOs) in the main event in the 23rd installment of Star Boxing’s Rockin’ Fights series on Saturday night, April 23, at the Paramount in Huntington, New York.

“Joe Smith has all of the tools to be a top light heavyweight,” says DeGuardia. “His power and strength, combined with boxing skills and stamina have him earmarked for a big fight.”

Dubbed the “Irish Bomber” because of his knockout power, Smith is highly-regarded among the light heavyweight prospects during a young career guided by DeGuardia. Smith, Jr. has reeled off 14 straight triumphs, including nine by way of KO, will be making his fourth appearance on his home turf at The Paramount.

In his latest win, the Irish Bomber scored a thrilling, unanimous 10-round decision over Will Rosinsky while showcasing his talents in the Barclays Center ring on December 5. Joe is a Union 66 laborer (concrete) in between fights. Trained by Gerard Capobianco, a former light heavyweight contender himself, Smith fights out of the Heavyhitters Boxing Gym on Long Island.

DeGuardia teamed with Banner Promotions as co-promoters of crafty southpaw Demetrius Andrade on the former U.S. Olympian’s path to the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship. “Boo Boo” will appear on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, June 11 to face hard-hitting perennial contender Willie Nelson in a WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator.

The winner of the 12-round co-feature will become the mandatory challenger to the winner of the May 21 showdown between Jermell Charlo and John Jackson, who face off for the vacant WBC 154-pound title on SHOWTIME.

Fighting out of his native Providence, R.I., the 28-year-old Andrade has compiled an unblemished record of 22-0 with 15 knockouts since turning professional in 2008 after representing the United States in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Andrade is known for his piston-like jab and knockout power in each hand, Andrade won the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship with a career-best performance over Vanes Martirosyan on November 9, 2013 and successfully defended the title against No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Brian Rose on June 14, 2014. Most recently Andrade, who is a consensus top-5 super welterweight, scored a second-round knockout over Dario Fabian Pucheta on October 17, 2015.

Antonio Tarver, the former WBC, WBA, IBF World Champion, fueled the Star Boxing rise to glory with his KO over Roy Jones Jr. to win the world light heavyweight championship on May 15, 2004.

DeGuardia is enshrined in both the New York State (2016) and Connecticut (2013) Boxing Hall of Fame.

A keen eye for talent, combined with a dedication to promoting future champions have become DeGuardia’s trademark combination which has provide success for his fighters and action for the fans.