Nico Hernandez pro debut opponent named for this weekend

Bob Trieger 22/03/2017

2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will join an elite group this Saturday night as he makes his professional debut in the “KO Night Boxing: History Begins” main event, airing (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT) on CBS Sports Network live from Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.

“KO Night Boxing: History Begins” is presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, in association with Kansas Star Casino, and sponsored by Miller Lite, Mel Hambelton FORD and TITLE Boxing.

In his six-round bout against upset-minded Las Vegas (NV) flyweight Patrick Gutierrez (0-2), Wichita-native Hernandez will become only the fourth United States Olympic medalist in the last 40 years to make his pro debut at home in a nationally televised main event.

The other three members of this special quartet, all Olympic gold medalists and pro debut winners, include Hall of Famer “Sugar” Ray Leonard (Feb. 5, 1977, in Baltimore, MD, two-time world champion Mark Breland and world title challenger Paul “Super Fly” Gonzales.

“It’s a great feeling,” the 21-year-old Hernandez said from training camp. “I am feeling some pressure but, once I’m in the ring, everything goes away. There definitely is some pressure on me because I’m fighting where everybody knows me in my hometown. So, I can’t lose. At the Olympics, all the Americans there gave me more energy to win. I didn’t want to lose in front of my people. Fighting at home will push me to do my best.

“I’m not really focused on fighting on national television. I’m going out there to put on a boxing clinic and, if the knockout comes, it comes. If it happens, it happens, but not going in there looking for a knockout. I’m used to fighting only three rounds (as an amateur) but, as the fight goes on, I’ve always gotten better. Six rounds do give me more time to work on my opponent and do more damage.”

Undefeated prospect Tramaine “The Mighty Midget” Williams (9-0, 3 KOs), a gifted southpaw from New Haven (CT), takes on Texas featherweight Eduardo Garza (6-1, 2 KOs) in the eight-round co-feature.

Opening the televised segment of the card, in an eight-round match, is a potentially explosive junior middleweight throw-down between unbeaten Neeco “Rooster” Macias (14-0, 8 KOs), of Palm Desert, California, and Mexican veteran Cesar Soriano (26-34-1, 16 KOs).

Andover (KS) cruiserweight Jeff Page, Jr. (17-3, 11 KOs) meets Steve “The Spoiler” Walker (26-33, 18 KOs), from Hannibal (MO), in the six-round television swing bout.

Also fighting on the undercard, in separate four-round bouts, are Kansas St. junior middleweight champion Efrain Morales (4-0, 1 KO), from Garden City (KS), vs. Wichita’s Robert Alexander Sevam (2-5, 2 KOs), Garden City featherweight Eric Vargas (1-0, 1 KO) vs. New Mexico’s pro-debuting Kevin “Indio” Garcia, and Winfield (KS) cruiserweight Juan Hollingsworth will make his pro debut vs. Raymond Gray, of Columbia, Missouri.

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).