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News: Lucas Browne; Sal Cenicola; WBO Events, Cayo

Dominican super lightweight Victor "Mermelada" Cayo (31-3, 22 KOs) knows the dire consequences on his boxing career another loss will have and is training like his future as a top contender depends on it.

Cayo is in the final stretch of his preparations to meet once-beaten Emmanuel "The Tranzforma" Taylor (16-1, 11 KOs) on Friday, March 8, 2013, in the 10-round main event of promoter Sampson Lewkowicz's "Friday Night Fights" boxing in the Superstar Theater at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Cayo vs. Taylor will be televised live on ESPN's Friday Night Fights (10 PM Eastern on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, online through WatchESPN.com, and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.) along with the night's 10-round, co-featured televised bout between a couple of very promising heavyweights: undefeated Russian powerhouse Magomed "Mago" Abdusalamov (16-0, 16 KOs) defending his WBC United States (USNBC) heavyweight title against once-beaten former Puerto Rican Olympian Victor Bisbal (21-1, 15 KOs).

Once rated as high as #3 in the world, 28-year-old Cayo stumbled badly of late, losing by KO to Lamont Peterson in July 2011 and then dropping a shock TKO to shopworn former champion Nate Campbell in March 2012.

Since then, Cayo has righted the ship somewhat with four straight victories over solid, but lesser-known opposition. Taylor, however, represents his first real test at a higher level since the double disasters.

"I know what's at stake," said Cayo through an interpreter. "I have to beat this guy and look good if I'm going to fight for a world title. I have trained like everything I worked for is on the line in this fight and in many ways it is."

Cayo, who started boxing at the age of 11, has spent his entire adult life dreaming of one day wearing a championship belt.

"I have worked my whole life for a shot at a title. I have been very close a couple times and things went wrong. I cannot let Taylor take away my chance for another try. Every fight I fight from now on, I will treat as though it is my world championship fight because if I lose I may never get one. I'm not coming to Atlantic City to do anything but show the world Victor Cayo is one of the world's best."

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Headlining the undercard will be Virgin Islands-based "The Hawk Flock", the sons and nephew of former world champion Julian "The Hawk" Jackson, each of whom is an up-and-coming contender in the respective divisions.

WBC Super Welterweight Youth World Champion John "Dah Rock" Jackson (14-1, 13 KOs), super middleweight contender Julius "The Chef" Jackson (14-0, 10 KOs) and junior middleweight contender Samuel "Rock City Cobra" Rogers (12-0, 7 KOs) will each make appearances.

Also scheduled to appear in separate bouts are local favorites such as Millville, New Jersey, light middleweight Thomas "Cornflake" Lamanna (10-0, 6 KOs), Brooklyn lightweight Scott "Bang Bang" Burrell (6-1, 5 KOs) and a special showcase featuring the son of former heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, undefeated super middleweight Isiah Seldon (6-0, 3 KOs).

The event is promoted by Sampson Boxing. The main event is presented in association with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing.

Tickets start at $40 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Resorts Casino Hotel box office on fight night.

The Resorts Casino Hotel is located at 1133 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. On fight night, doors open at 6:00 pm and the first bout is at 7:00. All bouts are subject to change. For more information, visit sampsonboxing.com or resortsac.com.

LUCAS "BIG DADDY" BROWNE has fast earned a reputation as one of the heavyweight division's hard hitters, but he won't necessarily be looking for an early finish this Friday night. The unbeaten Australian banger faces Masataka Takehara at Lions in Richlands, Queensland and knows he's likely to have a tough bout on his hands.

Japan's Takehara has a modest record of seven wins, seven defeats and three draws, but is regarded as someone who gives his all when shares the ring with men from down under, having held Pieter Cronje and Alex Leapai to draws.

"I'm not looking past Takehara," Browne said. "He's proven he's a tough guy by drawing with Leapai and Cronje. 

"It's an eight round bout and I'm prepared to go the distance if needs be. If the knockout comes, then so be it.

"I'm really looking forward to getting in the ring again. My last outing was against Jason Gavern and I'd like to improve on that performance. I've trained hard for this bout and I believe you'll see that with the result".

While Lucas is quickly moving towards a Commonwealth title fight, his manager Matt Clark believes a massive all-Aussie showdown with the aforementioned Leapai could soon be on the cards.

However, he's keen to stress that they are happy to come to UK and face David Price if Liverpudlian wants the fight.

"Lucas will look to better Leapai's result against the tough Japanese veteran," he said.

"There's been a bit of talk about a potential showdown with Alex later in the year, so a good win here for Lucas will be a useful measuring stick, to see where he's at.

"We've called out David Price before as well and now that he needs to rebuild somewhat, perhaps he'll defend his Commonwealth title against us."

He added: "Hatton Promotions have been fantastic in helping Lucas continue his development as a boxer. Many people aren't aware that he had zero amateur fights and he's still learning on the run. 

"One thing you can't teach is power and I believe Lucas Browne hits as hard as any heavyweight in the world."

A former professional boxer managed by Sylvester Stallone is returning to the ring after 25 years. Sal “Rocky” Cenicola, a lightweight contender who fought in the 1980s and was on verge of a world title shot when he left the game in 1988, will fight the main event on April 13 at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach, Florida. When the 53-year-old Cenicola steps into the ring that night, he will break the record of the longest time a pro boxer spent in retirement before returning to the ring (current record is 23 years). “This is something that has been on my mind for years,” said Cenicola, who will fight at 154 pounds, the Jr. Middleweight weight limit. “It’s unfinished business for me. I retired from boxing unfulfilled and left with a bad taste in my mouth after my last fight. I’ve always loved the game and I feel 25 years old now that I’m getting back into it.”

Cenicola was a popular lightweight in New Jersey in the 1980s, fighting multiple times on ESPN and attracting the attention of the famed Duva family, which promoted Cenicola, and Stallone, who managed Sal and even encouraged him to go by the ring moniker of “Rocky” Cenicola.

Sal won 18 of his first 19 fights before fighting in a title elimination match against unbeaten Chicago lightweight Louie Lomelli in February 1988. The winner would get a shot at the title. Cenicola injured his hamstring 10 days before the fight, but promoters, worried about losing ticket sales from Sal’s huge New Jersey fan base, convinced him to go ahead with the match. It was a disaster, as Cenicola’s hamstring tore in the second round and he could not continue. Lomelli got the title shot. Cenicola, disgusted at being bullied into the match, retired.

Cenicola moved to South Georgia, opened a popular restaurant in Saint Simons Island and tried to forget about boxing. But he couldn’t. As the years passed, Cenicola found his desire to fight became greater. He hired a trainer. He ran, sparred, dropped weight and wondered how he could achieve his dream of fighting again. A chance meeting with John Moceyunas of Don King Productions put Sal’s dream into action. Moceyunas got Sal licensed in Florida after Cenicola passed a battery of medical tests. The pair hired former King matchmaker Eric Bottjer to put together the April 13 show featuring Sal.

“I told Sal he was crazy,” said Bottjer. “Another 50-year-old fighter had just returned to the ring in January (Mark Weinman). He had been off almost 22 years. Weinman was a good fighter in his day with a good record (12-3). He fought a guy in January with a record of 0-6 and the guy knocked Weinman out in the first round.”

Sal’s opponent for April 13 is Nathan Petty of Louisville, Ken., a prison guard with seven pro fights who has only been stopped once. Petty has his own inspirational story – his weight had ballooned and he once weighed 258 for a fight, but dedicated himself to boxing and lost 100 pounds. He identifies with Cenicola - to a point. “Sal seems like a nice guy,” said Petty. “But I’m going to send him back into retirement to make pizzas at his restaurant.”

Moeyunass has titled Cenicola’s April fight “Comeback to Reality,” and has been shocked at the local reaction. “Everybody knows Sal in this area and I mean everybody,” said Mocuyenas, after conducting a press conference on Friday announcing the fight. “Everybody wants Sal to win, but he’s heading into uncharted waters with this fight. Nobody has ever come back after 25 years. George Foreman’s comeback was amazing, but he was off 10 years.”

Tickets for “Comeback to Reality” are available at www.ldltv.comwww.Salcenicola.com   Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria on St Simons Island or by calling 912-230-2437.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO- World Boxing Organization (WBO), by president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, announced today the referees and judges who will work this week in the world title bouts to be held in Philippines, Namibia and Germany.

This Saturday, March 2, at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel & Casino in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines, the WBO junior flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (31-1-3, 17 KOs) will make his first defense against the WBO minimum weight champion Moises Fuentes (16-1, 8 KOs), from Mexico. For this fight, an ALA Promotions presentation, the referee will be Jack Reiss from United States.

Judges for the Nietes-Fuentes bout are Adalaide Byrd and Patrick Russell from United States, and Danrex Joseph V. Tapdasan from Philippines. WBO supervisor for this fight will be Leon Panoncillo Jr.

Same day in Windhoek, Namibia, WBO bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-1, 28 KOs), from Thailand, will defend for the first time his crown versus Paulus Ambunda (19-0, 10 KOs). Referee for this Nestor “Sunshine” Boxing presentation bout, will be Paul Thomas from United Kingdom.

Judges for the Sor Singyu-Ambunda fight are Fernando Laguna and Manuel Oliver Palomo from Spain, and Manfred Kuchler from Germany. WBO supervisor for this fight will be John Duggan.

Also on Saturday, at the MBS Arena in Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany, the WBO junior lightweight female champion Ramona Kuehne (19-1, 6 KOs) will face in her fourth defense Brazilian Halanna Dos Santos (14-4, 9 KOs). The referee for this fight will be Mickey Vann from United Kingdom.

Judges for the Kuehne-Dos Santos bout are Ingo Barrabas from Germany, Noel Monnet from France and Giustino Di Giovanni from Italy. WBO supervisor for this bout will be Edoardo Ceccoli.

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