There has been something about this year's Boxcino tournament that has generated a great deal of interest, probably more than it was expected to do. There are a number of reasons why boxing fans have tuned in to the ESPN2 broadcasts since the tournament began in February.
There are the upset victories pulled off by underdogs. The sudden and impressive knockouts. There is also the single-elimination format that has produced two match-ups between unlikely finalists. The two 2014 Boxcino tournaments that have aired on Friday Night Fights culminate tonight with two lightweight finalists and two middleweight finalists at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y.
In the lightweight final, Petr Petrov will fight Fernando Carcamo in a 10-round bout. In the middleweight final, unbeaten Brandon Adams fights Willie Monroe Jr. in a 10-round bout. Both bouts will be televised live on ESPN2, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.
The tournament began with eight fighters in each tournament and it has produced some compelling fights and story lines. In the lightweight final, two fighters took different routes in their professional careers to get to tonight's bout.
The Russian-born Petrov (34-4-2, 16 KOs), who now resides in Madrid, Spain, has a significant experience advantage over Carcamo. He has almost twice as many fights and has faced the better opposition.
After beating Fedor Papazov in a quarterfinal bout in February, Petrov punched a ticket to tonight's final with a fourth round technical knockout over upstart Chris Rudd on March 28.
The hard-hitting Carcamo was considered a dark horse in the tournament. With an aggressive southpaw style, Carcamo has pulled off significant upsets in his career, but had also suffered bad losses early in his career.
In his quarterfinal match-up, Carcamo (17-5, 13 KOs) stopped unbeaten Samuel Kotey Neequaye in the second round and earned a hard-fought eight round majority decision over Miguel Gonzalez in the semi-final.
Carcamo has won his last seven bouts in a row, six by knockout.
In the middleweight final, it could be a tactical fight between Brandon Adams and Willie Monroe, Jr. Both fighters will be battling for two vacant regional title belts.
Adams (14-0, 9 KOs) had the least amount of pro fights of all middleweights in the tournament, but it has not stopped him from making the run to the finals.
After stopping Daniel Edouard in a quarterfinal bout on Feb. 28, he won a hard-fought eight round split decision over Raymond Gatica.
Monroe (17-1, 6 KOs) might have pulled off one of the surprises of the tournament in his semi-final bout. After defeating Donatas Bondorovas in a quarterfinal bout, he won a one-sided eight round unanimous decision over Vitaliy Kopylenko, who entered the tournament unbeaten and was a favorite to win the tournament.
Both finals should be compelling. With Banner Promotions behind the tournament and its success this year, fans might see more in the future.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing