With the 2023 Boxing schedule now officially off and running, many fans of the sport are likely looking to dive in and see some of what Boxing will have to offer in the new year. For those who follow the Boxing scene in the state of Florida, there will be no shortage of action as there will be four Boxing cards scheduled to take place over a five day period throughout the state.
As a veteran Boxing scribe who is always monitoring the upcoming schedule worldwide in search of fights and full cards that I will be covering, I felt this provided a unique opportunity to spotlight some of the upcoming bouts that will be taking place on these cards in the sunshine state. First up, promoter Anthony Arvelo’s Undisputed Promotions will present a Boxing card at the Kissimmee Civic Center on January 20th. Headlining this card will be Jr. Welterweight contender Wesley Ferrer facing Jonhatan Cardoso.
This will be a fight between two fighters who are trying to work their way into the rankings and towards world title contention. Ferrer will enter this fight riding a five fight winning streak since suffering the only loss of his career in September 2018 when he dropped an eight round majority decision to Steven Ortiz. The only other mark on Ferrer’s record to this point is a draw that he fought to in December 2017 against Will Madera. Ferrer will enter this bout with a record of 17-1-1, with 8 Knockouts. In his last fight in August of last year, Ferrer scored an eight round majority decision victory over Jayson Velez. Ferrer now faces what could potentially be a dangerous opponent in the form of Jonhatan Cardoso. Cardoso however, will be coming into this bout off of his first career loss as he was stopped in one round by Juan Huertas in June of last year. Despite this, Cardoso has ended all of his fourteen career wins via knockout and it may be logical to expect that he will try to end the fight early if the opportunity arises. This card can be seen on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE.
Coincidentally, FITE will also be broadcasting the next two events that will be covered in this column, which will both take place on January 21st. Former two-division world champion Antonio Tarver’s Tarver Promotions will present a Boxing card at the Calta’s Fitness and Boxing Center in Tampa. Headlining the card will be Tarver’s son Antonio Tarver Jr. who will face Drew Dwelly in a scheduled ten round Jr. Middleweight bout.
Unbeaten in ten professional fights with six knockouts, Tarver has gradually developed and could now be approaching the stage of a prospect. This fight against Drew Dwelly could be a test for him as it is the first time that Tarver will be facing someone, who like himself, is undefeated. Drew Dwelly will enter this fight with a record of 11-0-2, with 11 Knockouts, but much like Tarver has not faced fighters to this point that could be considered on the fringe of what most would call prospect level. So, this is a scenario where both fighters are looking to step up in competition against each other.
The second card FITE will feature on January 21st will feature the return of a former World Heavyweight champion. Hall of Fame promoter Don King will present a Boxing card at Casino Miami in Miami where WBA number twelve Heavyweight contender Jonathan Guidry will face former WBC Heavyweight world champion Bernane Stiverne in the ten round main event. This is a bout between two of the Heavyweights that have been featured in Don King’s stable in recent times. It is also a battle between fighters who have a recent common opponent, but an encounter between two fighters that are seemingly going in different directions in their respective careers.
The common opponent that Guidry and Stiverne have faced recently is Heavyweight contender Trevor Bryan, who defeated both men. Bryan stopped Stiverne in eleven rounds in January 2021. Guidry meanwhile went twelve rounds with Bryan, who held interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Heavyweight ratings for a period of time, in January of last year, losing a close split decision and his undefeated record to Bryan.
Where the two fighters appear to be heading in different directions comes from the fact that Bermane Stiverne has not won a fight since November 2015 and has been stopped in three fights since then including his last against Bryan. This coupled with lengthy stretches of inactivity seem to indicate that the former world champion is on the decline. Meanwhile, Guidry is a fighter that appears to be close to being in the mix amongst potential challengers for a world championship. Although he lost a decision to Trevor Bryan in his only career loss, he made a good account of himself in defeat in a fight that this observer felt he did enough to win in what was a competitive and close contest. Since that fight, Guidry got back in the ring in June of last year scoring a seventh round knockout of Dacarree Scott, also in Miami.
What this fight boils down to is whether or not Stiverne still has enough left in him of the fighter that was once a WBC World Heavyweight champion. In all truth and honesty with the reader, Stiverne has not been the same fighter since he lost the WBC crown to Deontay Wilder in January 2015 and has not looked good in recent outings. Although Stiverne will forever hold claim to being the first fighter to take Wilder the distance in his career in losing that fight via twelve round unanimous decision, he has displayed some signs of what could be a shot fighter recently including being stopped by Wilder in one round in their November 2017 rematch. Stiverne still does have the name recognition clout to get opportunities per his being a former world champion, but he is in need of not only a win here in this fight, but perhaps a victory that will impress people to where it generates buzz for him. If he should not win this fight, it may be time for him to consider retirement. Although Jonathan Guidry is not known for his ability to score knockouts, he does have eleven knockouts in his eighteen career wins, and is likely looking to this fight as a way to catapult himself into the list of potential challengers for a world title by beating a former world champion, even if by appearances Stiverne may have seen better days and could be on his way out in terms of his career inside the ring.
Finally, the final card on this lengthy stretch of Boxing in the sunshine state of Florida will take place on Wednesday, January 25th as digital Boxing streaming network ProBox TV presents a card under it’s Future Stars series at the ProBox Events Center in Plant City. ProBox TV, a relative newcomer to the Boxing streaming space in providing Boxing fans with a reasonably priced subscription-based model, debuted in May of last year and in addition to staging cards in it’s own in house arena in Plant City, FL has also staged cards in Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico in it’s first year of operation.
In addition to providing value for a subscription price for Boxing fans in addition to staging fights featuring world champions, former world champions, and top contenders, Pro Box TV has also focused on showcasing up and coming fighters looking to progress to higher levels in the sport. Thus, this card on January 25th, will be the first in what the network and promoter Gary Jonas intend to be a bi-weekly to monthly Wednesday night Boxing series focused exclusively on future stars in the sport in addition to other content they hope to offer subscribers.
The debut edition of the Future Stars series will be headlined by undefeated Jr. Welterweight prospect Cesar Francis as he will face Jesus Saracho in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. This fight similar to other bouts that have been showcased on ProBox TV in the past year will feature two fighters with similar records that are both looking to take the next step towards contention for a world championship. Cesar Francis will enter this bout unbeaten in twelve professional fights with seven knockouts. In his last bout in October of last year, also at the ProBox Events Center, Francis scored a second round knockout of Francisco Armenta.
Now Francis faces what could be a step up in the form of Jesus Saracho. Saracho, like his opponent has twelve wins in his career, but has suffered one loss in his career. The loss came in March of last year when he was stopped in nine rounds by Deonte Brown. Of Saracho’s twelve victories however, he has scored eleven knockouts registering a near 85% career knockout percentage. Saracho has been unbeaten in his last two fights and has scored knockouts in both of those outings. This suggests that Saracho will likely look to force Francis into a fight very early in the bout and should be viewed as a dangerous opponent as his record suggests.
What these cards should suggest is that the Florida Boxing scene is one that is growing and could develop into one of the sport’s hot spots in a short time. As a longtime resident of the state and proud Boxing lifer, this observer very much looks forward to covering these upcoming events and we will see who emerges as fighters to watch as 2023 progresses.
And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Undisputed Promotions: Ferrer vs. Cardoso takes place on Friday, January 20th at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, FL. The card can be seen on digital combat sports streaming network FITE for FITE+ subscribers beginning at 7PM ET/4PM PT (U.S. Time). For more information about FITE and how to subscribe to FITE+ please visit: www.FITE.TV.
Tarver Promotions: Tarver vs. Dwelly takes place on Saturday, January 21st at Calta’s Fitness and Boxing Center in Tampa, FL. The card can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE beginning at 7:30PM ET/4:30PM PT for $12.99. To order, download the FITE app on mobile, tablet, or connected streaming devices and Smart TVs, or Click Here.
Don King Productions: Guidry vs. Stiverne takes place on Saturday, January 21st at Casino Miami in Miami, FL. The card can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE beginning at 7PM ET/4PM PT for $19.99. To order, download the FITE app on mobile, tablet, or connected streaming devices and Smart TVs, or Click Here.
ProBox TV Future Stars Series: Francis vs. Saracho takes place on Wednesday, January 25th at the ProBox Events Center in Plant City, FL. The card can be seen on the ProBox TV app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices and Smart TVs beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT. For more information about ProBox TV, including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, availability around the world and to subscribe please visit: www.ProBoxTV.com.
*Cards and Start times Subject to Change.*
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