2016 Olympic junior flyweight bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will make his professional boxing debut at home on Saturday, March 25 (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT) on CBS Sports Network. He will headline “Knockout Night Boxing: History Begins” live from Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.
A press conference was held today at Kansas Star to announce the show, as well as Hernandez signing a promotional contract with Knockout Night Boxing LLC, the promoter of the March 25th event, in association with Kansas Star Casino and sponsored by Miller Lite. Neon Media Sports & Entertainment is the parent company of Knockout Night Boxing.
“I reached the highest-level I could in my amateur career and it was time for me to turn pro,” Hernandez said. “I’ve always wanted to make my pro debut in my hometown, Wichita. My plan is to do it like Terence Crawford has done in Omaha. I’m hoping it works out as well for me. I signed with Knockout Night Boxing because they’re really going to work with me and I like what they want to do.”
The all-star announcing team for “History Begins” will include Hall-of-Famer Jim “J.R.” Ross, Sean Wheelock and Joey Varner, while Justin Roberts serves as ring announcer.
The 21-year-old Hernandez’ long anticipated pro debut will be against flyweight Patrick Gutierrez (0-2), fighting out of the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas (NV), in the six-round main event.
Hernandez was a highly-decorated amateur boxer (94-5) whose accomplishments, in addition to capturing a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, include eight-time Ringside World Championships and six-time consecutive Silver Gloves National Championships winner, as well as 2014 National Golden Gloves gold medalist.
Undefeated rising junior middleweight star Neeco “Rooster” Macias (14-0, 8 KOs) takes on Arturo “El Toro” Crespin (13-8-1, 4 KOs) in the eight-round co-feature. Macias is a colorful, fan-friendly fighter from Palm Desert, California, who is the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) United States 154-pound division champion.
Kansas cruiserweight Jeff Page, Jr. (17-3, 11 KOs), will open the televised portion of card in a six-round bout against an opponent to be determined.
Scheduled to fight on the non-televised undercard, in separate four-round matches, are four Kansas boxers: Kansas State junior middleweight champion Efrain Morales (4-0, 1 KO) faces Brandon Philips (1-2); cruiserweight Chris Harris (2-2-2, 2 KOs), super middleweight Marcio Navarro and featherweight Eric Vargas (1-0, 1 KO) will meet opponents to be determined.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Ticket prices are $115.00 (ringside, rows 1 & 2), $75.00 (floor seats, rows 3-5), $60.00 (floor seats, floor rows after 1-5), $35.00 (lower bowl) and $25.00 (upper bowl). Suites seating up to 22 people are available to purchase for $2,500 (includes non-alcohol beverages and food). Tickets are available to purchase via pre-sale tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 17), starting at 10 a.m. CT (use presale code: KOBOX), at www.kansasstarcasino.com/entertain/arena. Tickets go on sale this Saturday (Feb. 18) at 10 a.m. CT at www.kansasstarcasino.com/entertain/arena, and
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. CT with the opening bout scheduled at 6:00 p.m. CT. TITLE Boxing is the official apparel and gloves partner for Knockout Night Boxing.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Nico Hernandez: “I want to thank everybody for coming here today to Kansas Star. I also want to thank my opponent for stepping up. I’m training hard and don’t take anything for granted. I hope to put on a great show.”
Patrick Gutierrez: “I want to thank Nico and his team. He represented our country so well and I’m honored to be fighting him in five weeks. It’s a big fight, make or break for me. If I can pull it off, it’ll be a jump start for my career. I plan to put on a good show. I’m coming to fight and I’ll be putting in a lot of hard work.”
Jeff Page, Jr.: “I want to thank everybody here. It’s been fun watching Nico fight and I’m blessed to be fighting on his pro-debut card.”
Efrain Morales: Thank you for this opportunity. It’s an honor to be fighting on the same card as Nico’s pro debut. I’m grown up watching Nico fight and I’m excited to be on hi card,”
Eric Vargas: “It’s a huge opportunity for me to fight on Nico’s card. I’m coming out big.”
Mike Garrow, CEO, Neon Star Sports & Entertainment: “First off, I would like to thank, on behalf of “‘Knockout Night Boxing’ on CBS Sports Network, all fighters here today and also those competing on the card, Saturday, March 25th, at Kansas Star Arena. It is you that fans are coming to see and we are excited once again to provide a platform with ‘Knockout Night Boxing’ for you to showcase your skills and dedication to the sport. That is one of the core philosophies of the ‘Knockout Night Boxing’ series: to provide a platform for the stars of tomorrow – today – to shine on Saturday, March 25th. Wichita’s own Olympic medalist, Nico Hernandez, will make his pro debut as he takes on Patrick Gutierrez from Las Vegas. History will begin!
“In closing, we would like to thank you, fans and media, for coming out today to support ‘Knockout Night Boxing’ on CBS Sports Network and we look forward to you also being part of ‘History Begins’ on Saturday, March 25th.”
John Andersen, Promoter, Knockout Night Boxing: “Let me start by saying what an absolute pleasure it’s been working with Kansas Star. Our mission Knockout Night Boxing is to help put Kansas on the boxing map. What better way to do that than announcing our signing of Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez to the Knockout Night Boxing Team? I feel having Nico fight in his hometown, in the main event on CBS Sports Network, is exactly what an Olympian like Nico deserves for what he’s accomplished, not only for himself, but for the state of Kansas. It is such an honor for us to showcase him in the main event, on national television, for the boxing world to see.
“This is a can’t-miss show, loaded with Kansas fighters like Jeff Page, Jr., Efrain Morales, Eric Vargas and others. Let’s not forget that ‘Knockout Night Boxing’ series is known for putting on well matched fights and this card will not disappoint. Nico will have his hands full with Patrick Gutierrez. I also would like to announce the return of Neeco “Rooster” Macias on our series. You guys will be in for a real treat watching this kid fight. He is one of a kind. Come support your very own Nico Hernandez in what will really be a can’t-miss show where ‘History Begins!”
Dan Ihm, Vice President & General Manager, Kansas Star: “I’m very excited about today’s announcement of this event that will be held right behind me in Kansas Star Arena. We’ve hosted a lot of events – equestrian, MMA and national entertainment acts – but this will be the first time it’s boxing. We’re very excited.”
Pete Meitzner, City Councilor from Hernandez’ district in Wichita: “On behalf of the mayor (Jeff Longwell) and City Council, we’re so proud of and excited for Nico. He’s elevated the excitement in this city (Wichita), state and country. For him to continue his story here in the next stage of his life is great. I want to thank Kansas Star and Boyd Gaming for all they do.”
Adam Roorbach: Executive Director, Kansas Athletic Commission: “For the past 2 1/2 years, since I’ve been on the commission, we’ve had some great fights It’s exciting for Mr. Hernandez to make his pro debut in Kansas. I’m familiar with some of these other (fighters) faces from fights in Kansas and I’m glad they will be able to showcase their skills here on a larger stage. I’m looking forward to the fights.”
Lewis Hernandez, trainer/father of Nico Hernandez: “This is an opportunity we’ve been waiting for a long time. I want to thank Patrick for stepping up. We don’t take anybody lightly. This is going to be a great fight.”