Giovanni Marquez: Nicky Vitone is experienced, but I can outbox and stop him late
Giovanni Marquez may be a chip off the old block, but he is eager to create his own path of success as a prizefighter.
Marquez will face Nicky Vitone tonight at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The six-round bout will precede the main event bout between junior lightweight contender Albert Bell and Presco Carcosia.
Both fights will stream live on DAZN (7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT).
The 22-year-old Marquez (5-0, 3 knockouts), who resides in Houston, Texas, last fought on April 1, defeating Bryan Springs by unanimous decision. The fight took place at Summer Creek High School, where Marquez graduated from in 2019. Marquez was grateful to fight in a showcase fight with familiar faces in attendance.
“It was a great experience for me to fight at the high school I graduated from,” Marquez told The Ring Wednesday. “The opportunity presented itself and I took it. It was great to fight in front of classmates, teachers, and faculty. It was very motivating and I’m glad I was able to do it.”
Marquez will take a step up, on paper, against Vitone (9-2-1, 7 KOs), who is coming off a knockout loss to journeyman Jordan Rosario in his last bout, also on April 1. Vitone, who resides in Pine Brook, New Jersey, had won his previous five fights.
Despite Vitone having won several fights by knockout, Marquez believes he has the skills to outbox Vitone, and eventually make a statement late in the fight.
“My opponent has a good record with a lot of knockouts,” said Marquez, who turned pro on March 11 of last year. “He’s experienced and older than I am. He looks pretty strong. I believe I have the edge in speed, ring IQ, and defense. I’m going in there with a plan to outbox him, and then getting him out of there in the later rounds.”
Last Friday’s card was the debut of the Overtime Boxing series, which will run on four consecutive Fridays in August. Overtime is best known for its basketball league, featuring top high school and collegiate-age players.
Overtime Boxing includes unique features in their fights, including bonuses to the winner for knockout victories in the opening and final rounds of each fight. Should the fight be declared a draw on the scorecards, a bonus round would take place to determine the winner.
Along with several other fighters, Marquez signed a one-fight deal with Overtime Boxing. He hopes to become a fixture of the upstart promotional company.
“I’m blessed to be a part of this position,” said Marquez. “It’s a promising venture. I like the OTX mantra. It’s different from other companies. It is not like the traditional platforms.”
Marquez is trained by former world junior middleweight titleholder and Showtime color commentator Raul Marquez. Since turning pro, which took place on a ShoBox telecast, Marquez has significantly improved.
Raul Marquez understands his son’s progress will take time before he contends, but he has been impressed thus far.
“So far, we’ve worked on being creative, changing speeds, and sitting down on punches,” said Raul Marquez. “We’ve worked on mixing it up. We want him to not tense up and establish the jab. The jab is the key.
“He’s going to shine if he follows the plan we worked on. Knockouts help sell and we’re looking to do that.”
Marquez is eager to continue working in the gym to improve his craft. He is grateful for the attention to detail his father has provided, but he hopes to continue building his brand and make a name for himself. He has even spent time in Las Vegas, sparring with the likes of lightweight contender Shakur Stevenson.
“I want to continue representing the Marquez name well. I’m focused and humble and I love the sport. I want to continue with this clean-cut image and continue associating class with my last name.
“My grandfather raised us to be humble. I want to continue putting forth this good image. I also want to inspire kids to continue chasing their dreams. I’m chasing mine to be the best fighter I can be.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]