The Xcite Center at Parx Casino® is just days away from hosting Xcite Fight Night 4 on Saturday, June 15th. The first of eight fights begins at 7 p.m.
We’ve checked in with some of the featured fighters on the card to get updates on their training camps and to pick their brains on the Philadelphia boxing scene, which features world champions such as Tevin Farmer and Julian Williams, and several top contenders.
Miguel Cartagena (15-5-1 6KOs)is eager to get back into the ring. After nearly a year off, the Philadelphia native is in the main event against Jesus Soler. But despite the time off, he hasn’t been inactive. “I haven’t fought in a year, but I’ve been in the gym the whole time. Camp has been really smooth, but very intense.” Cartagena said.
When talking about the state of boxing in Philadelphia, Cartagena said, “I feel like Philadelphia has its own brand of boxing. We’re trademarked as one of the greatest cities to have ever built fighters, period. Having multiple world champions just adds excitement.”
Cartagena’s nickname “No Fear” comes from the streets of Philadelphia, and his willingness as a kid to fight anyone, despite his size.
In the semi-final fight, Philadelphia fighters Jerome Conquest (10-3-0 1KO)and Frank Trader (12-2-1 3KOs) will meet for the vacant USBF lightweight title. Both are popular fighters with strong local fan bases and are ready to put on a show.
With a week out from the fight, Conquest and his team are finishing up training camp and making sure everything is on point.
“The Conqueror” was a natural fit with Conquest’s last name, so when a coach gave him the nickname, it stuck. He’s been conquering another arena as of late, winning 11 awards and international acclaim for the documentary he is featured in, titled “The Conqueror.” The Strawberry Mansion native hasn’t let it go to his head, though. “What keeps me motivated is the struggle. I struggle every day.” While Conquest’s name has been building outside the ring, he remains focused on adding another belt inside of it.
Frank Trader is also motivated for the fight, and “ready for fight night, ready to have some fun. The hard work is going to the gym, that’s the job. Once you’re in the fight, though, that’s when it becomes easy. Fighting, that’s when I have fun.” He pointed out that even though he’s serious, he’ll be smiling in the ring.
When talking about Philly boxing as a whole, he congratulated all the champions, holding them up as examples of perseverance. “They came from the gutter of Philly, they worked hard, proved a lot of people wrong and they made it to the top.” Trader also talked about his focus to get to that level and continue his career resurgence. After being hampered by a shoulder injury, a healthy Trader is gunning for his third win in seven months and that title belt.
Marcel Rivers (7-0-0 4KOs) said he’s had a strong camp. “I feel good, everything is going as scheduled and to plan.” He’s happy to have the chance to continue to fight at home, and sees that Philadelphia boxing is on the rise. “Ah man, I love it, I love it. It’s always a good time to be a Philly fighter.” He pointed out that with world champions calling the city home, the chance for young fighters to fight on national cards has grown and can give local talents a chance to quicken their development.
Rivers credits his nickname to his childhood friend Marquise, who started calling him Celly-B during their high school football days. Rivers has the chance to extend his record to straight wins to start his career as he faces off with the experienced Evincii Dixon.
Other fights for Xcite Fight Night 4 include Osnel Charles against Laquan Lewis and Daiyaan Butt vs. Tivan Young. Shinard Bunch makes the trip in from Trenton to face off against the debuting Tyrone Lewis in a welterweight bout, and Jan Czerkewicz and Angel Vazquez make their pro debuts in a light heavyweight bout.