Rising unbeaten heavyweight Michael Coffie will square off against former world title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington in the 12-round main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, July 31 from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
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Welterweight prospect and New Jersey-native Vito Mielnicki Jr. will battle James Martin in an eight-round rematch in the co-main event, as Mielnicki looks to avenge the first loss of his career. Kicking off the broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer takes on Dan Karpency in an eight-round battle.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale tomorrow, Thursday, June 24 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
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“Michael Coffie has risen up the heavyweight rankings quickly and will look to take another big step when he faces the always dangerous Gerald Washington live on FOX on Saturday, July 31,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “In the co-main event, the fans at Prudential Center will be in for a treat as New Jersey’s Vito Mielnicki Jr. steps right back into the ring seeking revenge against James Martin, after Martin spoiled his perfect record in April. Adding in the return of powerful prospect Joey Spencer, and this card is full of intriguing fights from top to bottom.”
A Marine Corps veteran who picked up boxing after returning from overseas, Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) quickly impressed in amateur tournaments enough to earn sparring assignments with Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki. The 35-year-old was born in the Bronx, but now fights out of Brooklyn. Coffie broke through in 2020 by stopping previously unbeaten Luis Pena in the fifth round of their August matchup before earning a TKO over Joey Abell in November. Coffie added a highlight-reel knockout over previously unbeaten Darmani Rock in January of this year.
“This is going to be a really good fight,” said Coffie. “It’s a fight I need to get me moving in the right direction. I’ve been wanting to fight Washington for a while now. He’s only been beat by top level guys, and this is a way to prove that I belong in that class. It’s amazing to be headlining on FOX. This is a ‘no guts, no glory’ kind of fight. I have to take advantage of this opportunity in a step-up fight.”
Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) is a six-foot-six heavyweight contender who was a former college football standout at the University of Southern California and a U.S. Navy veteran. Born in San Jose, California, Washington most recently lost a contest against former heavyweight champion Charles Martin in February 2020. Prior to that fight, Washington had delivered a knockout of veteran contender Robert Helenius in July 2019. Washington was unbeaten in his first 19 pro fights before dropping his world title challenge to Deontay Wilder in February 2017.
“I’m real excited to be back in the ring and back on FOX,” said Washington. “This is another major opportunity for me and I’m going to do everything in my power to fully capitalize on it. Michael Coffie is a good fighter. I like what I’ve seen from him so far. Not to mention, we’re both veterans. I’m looking forward to this fight and I expect fireworks. I believe my experience will carry me to victory. “
Representing Roseland, New Jersey, Mielnicki (8-1, 5 KOs) will look to bounce back after losing by decision to Martin in April on FOX. The 19-year-old began turning heads during an exceptional amateur career where he compiled a 147-22 record and was named the Most Outstanding Boxer of the 2011 Junior National Golden Gloves amongst many accolades before turning pro. Mielnicki was able to add four victories to his ledger in 2020 and he kicked off his 2021 campaign with a knockout of Noe Lopez in February on FOX.
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“I believe everything happens for a reason and everyone has their own path,” said Mielnicki. “James Martin was the better man that night in our first fight, and I know what to expect from him come July 31. You won’t see a young prospect doing what I’m doing, making a rematch only four months after my first career loss, in my hometown and in front of my family and friends. Expect nothing but fireworks on July 31. I can’t wait to show the world why I’m different! Tune in and get your tickets now.”
The 24-year-old Martin (7-2) scored a career-best victory in upsetting the previously unbeaten Mielnicki in April. Martin first turned pro in 2017 and won his first four fights to begin his career. Fighting out of Philadelphia, Martin has won three of his last four showdowns dating back to late 2019, including dropping a decision to unbeaten prospect Xander Zayas in February.
“I am going for the knockout this time,” said Martin. “You will see me fight better. I feel I have the advantage, because I gave him his first loss, and he will always have that in the back of his head. I don’t think that he can bring anything different in the rematch.”
The 21-year-old Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs) turned pro in February 2017 and immediately caught the eye of fans and pundits with his combination of speed, power and athleticism. Following an impressive 2020 campaign which included a KO victory over Shawn West in August, the Linden, Michigan native kicked off 2021 with a first-round TKO over Isiah Seldon in January on FOX. Spencer will continue his march toward world title contention against Adah, Pennsylvania’s Karpency (9-3-1, 4 KOs).
“I can’t wait to get in the ring on July 31,” said Spencer. “I’m training hard to become the first person to knock out Karpency. I’m going to bring the fight for the fans like I always do and give everyone watching a great show.”
“I’m excited to fight one of boxing’s top prospects in Joey Spencer and I’m having a great training camp leading up to fight night,” said Karpency. “He’s an excellent fighter, but make no mistake, I’m coming to win on July 31. I’m a boxer-puncher and I can rely on either style. We’re going to adjust to what we see in the ring and take it from there. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’m planning to make the most of it.”
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MICHAEL COFFIE: “I’VE SHOWN THAT I CAN PUT YOU DOWN WITH ANY SHOT!”
Unbeaten rising heavyweight Michael Coffie will look to continue his ascent up the heavyweight rankings when he takes on former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington on Saturday, July 31 in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“I’m looking to make a big statement,” said Coffie. “I want people to look at this fight and see my calmness. I want it to look like I’m the veteran and he’s the prospect. If he has belief in himself in the beginning of the fight, he’s going to start fast. It’s my job to take that away from him. “
In his last fight, Coffie scored an explosive knockout over previously unbeaten Darmani Rock live on FOX. The triumph was Coffie’s best win to date as a pro, a feat he will look to repeat as he steps up again against Washington.
“I showed in the Rock fight that regardless of the amount of years of experience that someone has over me, you can’t count me out,” said Coffie. “I definitely displayed poise and calmness and I’ve shown that I can put you down with any shot.”
Coffie has continued to train under the guidance of his head coach Josue Aguilar, as the two have put in the work in Orlando, Florida to continue to show improvement fight after fight. For this fight, Coffie has used some new techniques, combined with lessons learned from days sparring Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki, to hopefully put on his best performance to date.
“We’ve been working on strategy and how we’re going to expose Washington’s tendencies,” said Coffie. “We’ve been adding pool training and focusing a lot on breathing and explosiveness. I’ve been sparring with young, fast guys to work on my reflexes. I’m combining that with what I learned from Wilder and Kownacki, who really helped me with my range and distance, plus showing me the importance of conditioning.”
The 35-year-old Coffie got a late start into the sport after serving in the U.S. Marines prior to a successful amateur career that saw him put on standout performances at the New York Golden Gloves and Metro Championships. Coffie believes that his unorthodox entry into the sport will actually be a benefit as his pro career continues to burgeon.
“The biggest obstacle I’ve faced as a pro has been that people keep talking about my age,” said Coffie. “That has nothing to do with your boxing ability. If you keep yourself in shape, age is not a big thing. I’ve taken less damage at this point than other people my age who’ve gotten to this point. I also have a strong mentality and I know when it’s time to lock in for a fight. Life experience in general has shown me what I can become.”
As he enters this latest challenge, Coffie will look to take advantage of the opportunity headlining on FOX and deliver the fans a great fight in the style of some of the sport’s all-time greats.
“It’s still surreal to be in this position,” said Coffie. “When I decided to start boxing, I did not know that this would be happening so fast. I’m going to show the fans a piston jab. I want to give the feel of Sonny Liston, Larry Holmes and George Foreman. This is a combat sport, so expect blood and big shots on July 31.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.