The “Long Island Winding Road” to success continues for two Star Boxing fighters this week. The pair of proud pugilists and products of The Paramount – Cletus Seldin and Joe Smith, Jr. -hope to continue their climb to the top of the heap for promoter Joe DeGuardia.
On Friday night (June 17), the undefeated, WBC Silver International Champion and WBC World #6-ranked Junior Welterweight contender Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (18-0, 15 KO’s Long Island, NY), squares off against Mexican brawler Jesus Selig (19-3-1, 12 KO’s Douglas, Arizona) at The Paramount in Huntington, New York in the 10-round Junior Welterweight affair. The main event headlines the 24th edition DeGuardia’s popular “Rockin Fights” series.
Just one night later on Saturday (June 18), the Long Island knockout artist Joe “The Irish Bomber” Smith Jr. (21-1, 17 KOs) makes his national television debut against another battle-tested power-puncher, Andrzej Fonfara (28-3, 16 KOs), when they collide in a 10-round main event on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC from UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Seldin, the Patchogue product fighting out of Shirley, Long Island, has been superb in compiling an unblemished 18-0 mark, with 15 of his triumphs coming via highlight reel knockout . Smith Jr., who grew up in Shirley, and now fights out of Mastic, has registered 17 of 21 career wins by way of KO. Both knockout artists are on similar paths to that of another Star Boxing-promoted fighter, Chris Algieri, who used The Paramount as a springboard to a world championship. Fighting predominantly in the Metropolitan area, four of Smith, Jr.’s last five fights were at The Paramount, while Seldin has won 10 straight and 15 out of 16 at the popular Long Island venue.
The broadcast begins at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT and will feature a bantamweight world title rematch between current champion Juan Carlos Payano (17-0, 8 KOs) take on three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee “Nuke” Warren (13-1, 4 KOs) as they continue their unfinished business that began in August 2015 when Payano won a narrow split-decision to retain his title. Also featured on the telecast is rising star Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (14-0, 10 KOs) who faces powerful Mexican Daniel Sandoval (37-3, 34 KOs) in a super welterweight contest.
“I’ve been working very hard and for many years towards an opportunity like this,” said Smith Jr. “I am grateful to Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing for helping to get me here. This fight is going to change my life and no one is going to keep me from winning.”
“I think that Smith is a great challenge for me and I do not underestimate him,” said Fonfara. “He is young and hungry and he wants to use this fight and my name to show the world his skills. He’s coming to Chicago for victory and glory. I have to show him that I am stronger, more experienced and most importantly, a smarter fighter. I have to win this fight because it will open the door for me to rematch Adonis Stevenson.”
“I am truly looking forward to this main event,” said DeGuardia. “Smith and Fonfara are both very exciting fighters and I expect a thrilling war. Their styles will have Chicago rocking with enthusiastic Irish fans for Smith and Polish fans for Fonfara. The electric atmosphere will be a treat to everyone watching on NBC and I expect big things from Joe Smith Jr.”
“Warriors Boxing is excited to bring PBC on NBC to the Windy City,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing. “Chicago’s favorite son, Andrzej Fonfara, always thrills fans with his non-stop fighting style. Joe Smith Jr. has been destroying his competition in New York and also brings a fan friendly ‘seek-and-destroy’ style to the fight. The main event should be explosive.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, are priced at $201, $101, $61 and $41, not including applicable service charges, and are on sale now. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or UIC Pavilion Box Office at (312) 413-5740. Tickets are also available by visiting the UIC Pavilion Box Office (Thursday or Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).
Fonfara returns to the ring after defeating Nathan Cleverly in October at UIC Pavilion in a fight that garnered Fight of the Year consideration and saw a record number of punches landed (936) and thrown (2524) for a light heavyweight fight in CompuBox history. Prior to that, the 28-year-old became the first person to stop Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and lost a decision to world champion Adonis Stevenson in a fight that saw both men hit the canvas. From Warsaw, Poland but training out of Chicago, Fonfara will fight in the Windy City for the 20th time when he enters the ring in primetime on June 18.
Representing Long Island, New York, Smith Jr. will bring his heavy hands to primetime as he looks for his 16th straight victory on June 18. The 26-year-old was a highly decorated amateur who won the 2008 New York Golden Gloves with a victory over Seanie Monaghan. A member of the Local 66 Laborers Union between fights and the oldest of eight siblings, Smith Jr. picked up his most impressive victory of his career so far when he defeated veteran Will Rosinsky in a hotly contested battle in Brooklyn. He followed it up with a second round stoppage of Fabiano Pena in April and is set for his toughest challenge in June.
Seldin, who has continually climbed the ranks of the Junior Welterweight division, will be appearing for the 15th time at the Paramount. Seldin has become a must-see attraction for his all action fights and tremendous punching power. The Hebrew Hammer captured the WBC title on December 20, 2014, stopping the very tough Bayan Jargal in nine rounds, and has successfully defended the championship three times. In his last outing at The Paramount on March 5, Seldin returned from shoulder surgery and picked right up where he left off by destroying Orlando Vasquez in the opening round.
Selig is coming off two straight knockout wins and has crossed gloves with world rated fighters Sadam Ali and John Jackson as well as top prospect Jose Ramirez.
Says DeGuardia: “Cletus Seldin is becoming a major force in the already loaded Junior Welterweight division. His ferocious style has attracted droves of fans and on June 17th we expect the same as he faces a tough task when he battles Jesus Selig, who hopes to upset the applecart. I expect another exciting night of fights at The Paramount, as has become the tradition with the Rockin Fights series”.
The undercard features a bevy of top local prospects. In another junior welterweight clash, Woodhaven’s undefeated Danny Gonzalez (11-0-1, 5 KO’s) squares off against Curtis Morton (4-5-4) of Myrtle Beach in an eight-rounder. Sweden’s Naim Terbunja (7-1) takes on Lanny Dardar (3-5-2, 1 KO) of Louisiana in a six round contest. Two Elmont, Long Island will fighters showcase their talents on the home turf in four-round bouts. Terell Bostic (1-0, 1 KO) comes off an outstanding first round KO debut to face Miguel Gloria (1-2) of Albuquerque; and unbeaten Tyrone James (2-0, 1 KO) battles New York City’s Kasif Muhammad (0-2). Brooklyn’s Laurend Stewart (2-0, 1 KO) takes on another Albuquerque import in Daniel Flores (0-2).
Tickets are on sale now by calling Star Boxing (718 823-2000) or visiting www.starboxing.com, The Paramount Box Office (631 673-7300), or Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com (1 800 745-3000).