Preparing for a busy 2019, DiBella Entertainment (DBE) has added to its deep stable of world champions and top contenders, signing undefeated junior welterweight contender Mikkel "Slikk Mikk" LesPierre (20-0-1, 9 KOs) and unbeaten junior lightweight prospect Jude "King Zar" Franklin (9-0, 8 KOs). Both LesPierre and Franklin are Brooklynites who train out of Gleason's Gym.
"I'm very excited to add Mikkel LesPierre and Jude Franklin to the DiBella Entertainment roster," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Mikkel is very talented and has a tremendous work ethic, as he juggles boxing with his fulltime job at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He is world rated and belongs with the top of the junior welterweight division. We will continue to position him for a world title opportunity in 2019. Jude is a dynamic young boxer-puncher with a growing local following. He's both talented and fan-friendly. I look forward to working with both of these future stars as their careers progress."
A professional for six years, LesPierre picked up his career-best victory on February 7, with a 10-round unanimous decision versus then-undefeated Noel Murphy in New York City. The dominant performance earned LesPierre the WBC USNBC Junior Welterweight Title. Following that up on June 21, LesPierre stopped Italian veteran Gustavo David Vittori in the seventh round in Queens, NY. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, LesPierre moved to the US at age six and was raised in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. As an amateur, LesPierre was a New York City Metro and Empire State Games champion as well as a participant in the 2012 Olympic Trials before turning pro in June 2012. He is managed by Josie Taveras and trained by Don Saxby out of Gleason's Gym. When he's not training, LesPierre works fulltime as a data specialist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he's been employed for the past 10 years in various positions. In the ring, LesPierre is determined to secure a world title opportunity against the junior welterweight champions.
"I'm very excited to sign with Lou DiBella and DBE. DiBella Entertainment is well established and has produced many champions," said LesPierre. "I know that they can guide me toward the world title. I would love to fight Jose Ramirez or Maurice Hooker. I want anyone with a belt. In the meantime, I will keep winning until I get that opportunity."
"I've always wanted to work with Lou DiBella and I'm happy to sign Mikkel LesPierre with DiBella Entertainment," said LesPierre's manager Josie Taveras. "DBE is based in New York where Mikkel lives and they are heavily invested in the junior welterweight division with two of the 140-pound world champions, Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk, in their stable. I look forward to building LesPierre's career with Lou as we match him against the division's elite contenders and champions."
The 23-year-old Franklin stayed busy in 2018 with three knockout victories on DiBella Entertainment's Broadway Boxing series against Floriano Pagliara and Angel Jimenez in the first half of the year then a sixth-round knockout versus Danny Flores on September 29. Franklin was born in the US but spent much of his youth in Trinidad and Tobago before moving back to the States permanently at age 13, settling in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY. Shortly thereafter, Franklin's mother took him to Gleason's Gym where he was introduced to trainer Elmo Serrano. They've been working together ever since and Franklin accumulated an impressive 60-11 record as an amateur. Before turning pro in February 2016, Franklin won gold medals at the NY Metros Tournament, twice at the Bergen County Tournament, Battle of the Tri-State Tournament and at the Trinidad and Tobago National Championships, as well as a silver medal at the 2014 Junior Olympics.
"It's been a pleasure to work with Lou DiBella these last few fights so signing a long-term deal with DBE was a no-brainer," said Franklin. "I'm happy to have DiBella Entertainment as my promoter and I look forward to achieving great things together."
"Jude is like my son so watching him grow into the fighter he is makes me extremely proud," said trainer and manager Elmo Serrano. "Making this deal with DiBella Entertainment in the next step in his growth. Lou is one of the best promoters in the world and he's got a future world champion on his hands with Jude."