Boxing is making a comeback in Atlantic City.
Philadelphia-based Hard Hitting Promotions will bring a card to Bally’s Atlantic City on Saturday, March 7. It is the fourth professional boxing event to be held in town so far this year. There were only five cards in Atlantic City in all of 2019.
“Our vision is to try and revive boxing, at least on a local level, in Atlantic City,” Hard Hitting Promotions CEO Manny Rivera says. “The main thing we want to do is get out there and work with the local community to try and people excited about boxing again. We want to create some buzz for our events.”
An intriguing main event pits Atlantic City super-middleweight Gabriel Pham (11-2, 5 KOs) against Glassboro’s Derrick Webster (28-2, 14 KOs).
Pham is among at least four local fighters scheduled to appear on the card, joining Atlantic City super-middleweight DeCarlo Perez (17-6-1, 5 KOs), Atlantic City middleweight Isiah Seldon (13-3-1, 4 KOs) and Pleasantville welterweight Anthony Young (21-2, 8 KOs).
Young, who is scheduled to meet Mexico’s Jorge Martin Garcia (12-7) is focused on bringing some positive vibes to the local sports scene.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Young says. “It’s been a tough couple of months for sports around here. Hopefully, this will start to turn things around.”
Young, a former standout football player at Pleasantville High School, was standing on the Greyhounds sidelines during their South Jersey Group II playoff game against Camden on Nov. 15, when gunshots were fired from the stands.
Ten-year-old Micah Tennant died from a gunshot wound to the neck. Six people were charged with gun-related offenses.
“I’m good friends with (former Pleasantville coach) Chris Sacco and I was talking with (Greyhounds running back) Ernest Howard when it happened,” Young says. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Young is hoping to provide some exciting moments in the ring at Bally’s, while also attempting to maintain his status as a contender. The 32-year-old has won 10 straight, including an impressive, third-round TKO over former World Boxing Organization super-welterweight champion Sadam Ali.
Another win or two should put Young in the running for a title shot. The danger is overlooking an opponent like Martin Garcia.
“No chance of that happening,” Young says. “I’m probably more motivated for this one than I was for the Ali fight, simply because I’m fighting in Atlantic City.”
Perez, who won the New Jersey super-middleweight belt in his last fight, is returning from an 18-month hiatus. His opponent has not yet been finalized.
Seldon, son of former WBA heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, hopes to build some momentum after losing two of his last three fights against Asbury Park’s Darryl Bunting (4-6-2, 2 KOs).
“I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth for a while now,” Seldon says. “I have to get rid of it.”