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News: Bakhtiyar Eyubov, Joel Djeko, Danny Dignum, More

Undefeated Kazakhstani dynamo Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov has been added to the special two-hour UFC Fight Pass live stream (7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT) on Friday, February 15, from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.

Eyubov (14-0, 12 KOs) will face Mexican veteran Jose Luis “La Boa” Rodriguez (25-12, 13 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight showdown.

The live stream, presented by Salita Promotions will also feature US Olympic bronze medal winner Nico Hernandez, women’s top contender Elena Saveleva and undefeated heavyweight puncher Apti Davtaev in separate bouts.

A born showman, Eyubov’s relentlessly aggressive fighting style has won him new fans with every fight. The young slugger says he’s looking forward to bringing his mayhem to a new audience through the UFC.

“I look forward to showcasing my skills February 15th and am honored to do so on UFC Fight Pass,” he said. “I am the best in the world and look forward to proving this point when I get in the ring.”

Eyubov was last seen taking out 21-1-1 Nicholas Givan in seven rounds last June. His promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says he’s happy his entertaining slugger is back in action.

“Bakha is one of the most dominant contenders in the sport. I look forward to an exciting performance from him on one of the leading combat platforms in the works in UFC Fight Pass,” said Salita.

In a very special bonus that night for online viewers, the commentating team will consist of long-time combat sports voice Sean Wheelock and “2018 Female Boxer of the Year” and women’s world champion Claressa Shields, making her debut behind the microphone.

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STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of "Rockin' Fights." The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington's, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the 'big boys' in a truly international fight between European champs.  Giant Belgium JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington's own JOHNNY "HITMAN" HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS "THE HAWK" HAWTHORNE. 
 
The main event features two international cruiserweight prospects who will travel a combined 7,873 miles to meet in the squared circle, in front of the expected packed crowd at The Paramount. Belgium's Djeko (14-2-1 7KO's), an IBO Champion, stands at a towering 6'5" and breaks the will of his opponents by fighting behind his jab, followed by devastating power in both hands. Djeko's marquee win came against then undefeated MARIANO ANGEL GUDINO (then 12-0 7KO's), when he defeated the Argentinian by wide unanimous decision, dominating for the full ten-rounds, to secure the IBO Continental Cruiserweight Title. Djeko has fought in America only once before, but intends to begin laying roots state side, for an eventual shot at a cruiserweight world title. Djeko's only 2 losses were on the road and by majority and split decision against undefeated prospects.
 
Djeko had this to say about fighting in America, "I am excited to make my first fight in New York, a city that saw the birth of great champions. But, I also come to fulfill my mission, that of leaving with a victory by knockout."

Federici (14-1-1 6KO's), a 25-year-old Italian who resides in Roma, Italy, will be making his debut on American soil on the February 22nd Paramount show. Federici had an impressive amateur record of 35-1-1. As a professional, Federici defeated FRANCESCO CATALDO in a thrilling battle earning the Italian Cruiserweight Title. Since then, Federici has successfully defended his title twice, most recently defeating the dangerous Georgian, ZURA MEKERESHVILLE by unanimous decision to add the IBF Mediterranean Cruiserweight Title to his pedigree. Federici has his eyes set an a massive victory on February 22nd main event.  Federici and Djeko both have their eyes set on victory in the February 22nd main event and both know a top rankings in the cruiserweight division are at stake.

Federici said this about his American debut, "I thank America for the wonderful opportunity that has offered me! I hope to better meet American expectations.
I can't wait to get in the ring."

In the co-main event, fans will see Johnny "Hitman" Hernandez (9-4 1KO), a familiar face at The Paramount having fought eleven of his thirteen professional fights at the venue. Hernandez who is known for his footwork and great conditioning, always seems to get stronger as the fight carries on. This will be Hernandez second main event at The Paramount.  He was last seen in an absolute thriller with fellow Star Boxing stablemate DANNY "EL GALLO" GONZALEZ (then 16-1-1 7KO's). Over the ten-round main event, Hernandez and Gonzalez exchanged blow after blow at the center of the ring, as the crowd seemed to be on their feet throughout the fight with consistent and vocal support for both fighters. While the judges scored the bout in favor of Gonzalez by majority decision, Hernandez proved to the rowdy sold out crowd that he has the skill to fight the upper echelon of the 140 lb. division.  Gonzalez went on to fight fellow Paramount alumni CHRIS ALGIERI at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago.  Hernandez promises to return with vengeance on February 22nd in his Paramount hometown.
 
Hernandez is ready for his opportunity on February 22nd, and is prepared to leave his mark. "There are no secrets to success," said Johnny, "it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failures."
 
Hernandez will be facing the very tough Texan, Marquis Hawthorne, who will be making his second appearance at The Paramount. Over his twelve-fight career, Hawthorne has fought ten undefeated prospects, with an opponent combined record of 81-23-3. Most recently, Hawthorne (6-9 1KO) won in a shocking upset at Mohegan Sun on January 26th over amateur standout and undefeated professional, from Detroit, Michigan RONNIE "TEFLON RON" AUSTION (then 10-0 7KO's). Over the 6-round bout, Hawthorne commanded the action, using his long reach and height advantage to maintain his distance, landing grueling right hands to the body and the head of Austion. At the final bell, the scorecards read 57-56, 58-55 and 59-54, earning a massive upset victory for Hawthorne over the previously undefeated Austion.
 
Hawthorne has is eyes set on one thing only come February 22nd. "I am coming off a big win over a great prospect," said Hawthorne, "the game plan is to continue to trust the plan my coaches have set before me, resulting in victory."
 
Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the main and co-main event, "We have put together a very intriguing international fight for Long Island's dedicated boxing fans. Belgium's, Big Joel Djeko, is an imposing figure, and carries knockout power in both hands. Federici has proven his ability to win big fights in his home country of Italy.  The winner has a bright future. " Regarding the co-main, DeGuardia stated, "this fight is a perfect example of the allure of our 'Rockin' Fights' series.  Both Johnny and Marquis have earned the right to be in this fight.  In his last fight Johnny showed grit and we will always support our fighters, win or lose, when they perform like he did.  That's what the Paramount series is all about, action and heart.  Similarly, Marquis Hawthorne earned the right to this fight with his victory over our undefeated prospect Ronnie Austion in a huge upset. Johnny and Marquis always show up in phenomenal shape with great energy on fight night, and I expect a thrilling fight on February 22nd."
 
The main event between European cruiserweight champions in Djeko and Federici is destined to excite. The co-main event will see Hernandez in front of his hometown fans while Hawthorne will look for a second consecutive upset. Undercard to be announced soon. Tickets are now on sale for "Rockin Fights 34 and can be purchased below.  

Danny Dignum hopes that a victory over Greg O’Neil at York Hall next week can springboard him towards a title fight later in the year.

Dignum (9-0, KO5) steps up to eight rounds for the contest against O’Neil on February 22, and he’s looking forward to displaying his skills.

Dignum said: “In 2019 I’m getting my first title. I’ve got eight rounds coming up against Greg O’Neil and that’s exactly what I need at this stage of my career.

“It’s OK doing the rounds in sparring, but I need to step up and do them in a fight, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

“He’s got a winning record and will come to win so it will be really good for me. Last year was a busy year for me with five fights and three knockouts, so hopefully we can have another successful year.”

The event at York Hall is live on iFL TV, and features a WBO European welterweight title fight between Paddy Gallagher and Freddy Kiwitt in the main event.

There are also a number of talented stars on the undercard, including Dan Azeez, Siar Ozgul, Liam Wells and Huzaifah Iqbal.

Elite Kazakh amateurs Sultan Zaurbek and Nurtas Azhbenov are relishing the prospect of kicking off the year with four fights in three weeks between them.
 
The young duo, who both defeated Olympic champions during stellar amateur careers, are both scheduled to fight on the March 1 show in Cardiff with Zaurbek opening his year at York Hall on February 22 and Azhbenov following up in Brentwood on March 9 – all live on iFL TV.
 
With both men coming off the back of eye-catching first-round knockout wins, they are delighted with the relentless activity.
 
Zaurbek said: “I was born in a gym! I started boxing when I was two years old so it’s all normal to me.
 
“The crowds in the UK are fantastic. It’s very professional here and we both enjoy fighting in these environments.
 
“Nobody forced us to do this. We wanted to fight twice in a week. We want to build our records as quickly as possible.”
 
Azhbenov added: “In Kazakhstan, we are taught discipline by the trainers. We have great weather and the dietary systems are good.
 
“Our ancestors were warriors and so are the generations since. We are very patriotic and the whole mentality of being a Kazakh is about being strong. Boxing in our country has progressed because of that.
 
“A lot of fighters don’t have the opportunity to fight this often but we’ve been given it and we’ll take it with both hands.
 
“I’d even take a ranking fight already if it was presented to me. You have to seize all the opportunities you can in this sport.”
 
Leading the York Hall show is Paddy Gallagher’s WBO European welterweight title clash with Freddie Kiwitt, topping the card in Wales is IBF European super-lightweight king Akeem Enns Brown against the unbeaten Bilal Rehman and world-ranked Michael McKinson clashes with Ryan Kelly in the Brentwood headline act.

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