It’s been nearly two years since Nicky Vitone’s lone defeat, but the 26-year-old prospect from New Jersey says he hasn’t stopped thinking about it since. The fight was against Jordan Rosario at the Prudential Center in Newark, on the undercard of a PBC on Fox card headlined by another local favorite, Vito Mielnicki Jr. After four rounds, Rosario emerged victorious by split decision.
“That fight still bothers me to this day. It is still motivation for me everyday to get better. It’s something I always wanted to get back,” said Vitone (9-1-1, 7 knockouts) of Pine Brook, NJ
He will get his shot at revenge on April 1 when “The Bull” Vitone and “The Fox” Rosario meet in a six-round junior welterweight fight which is expected to headline an Abella Boxing Promotions card at The Terrace at Biagio in Paramus, NJ
Vitone is eager to show that he’s not the same fighter he was that night. Vitone has fought five times since then, winning all five fights. Rosario (4-10) of Jersey City hasn’t fought since their first meeting in July of 2021, but has been steadily training out of the Ironbound Boxing Academy in Newark, where he spars with rising amateurs Keith Colon and Jasai Kirkpatrick.
The first fight was a close bout, but the 32-year-old Rosario says he plans on making it more decisive the second time around.
“He’s a pretty good opponent so I’m ready for this. The first time ain’t gonna be like the second time. They say the second time is the charm. I’m ready and I’m more than prepared to see what the outcome is,” said Rosario, a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Rosario turned pro in 2015 after just five amateur bouts, and lost his first six pro fights before winning three straight. His layoff is similar in duration to the one he was coming off before the first fight against Vitone.
Vitone is trained by Joe Zabry of Aces Boxing Club as well as Aroz “Terrific” Gist, who is best known for leading Kendall Holt to the WBO junior welterweight title. He turned professional in 2020 after a 40-fight amateur career which was highlighted by a Sugar Bert Boxing National Championship win the previous year.
“This is definitely the biggest moment of my career. The first time I fought Jordan it was a great fight, it was definitely close but everything happens for a reason. I feel like I’ve grown so much since that fight. I’ve had five fights since that fight so I want to make this fight clear. I want to prove to everybody and myself that I am the better boxer and make a statement and get this blemish off my record,” said Vitone.
The rest of the card will feature a number of local prospects, including John Leonardo (9-1-1, 4 KOs) of Manalapan NJ against Ernest Hall (4-2-1, 1 KO) in a six-round junior featherweight fight . Leonardo, a 2016 NJ Golden Gloves champ, is seeking his third straight win since suffering his first loss last year.
Raymond Cuadrado (5-0, 1 KO) of Ridgewood, NY will face Usiel Hernandez (2-1) in a six-round featherweight bout. Cuadrado, who lost in the 2019 NY Golden Gloves finals to Bruce Carrington, will be fighting in his first six-rounder.
Former amateur standout Kevin Hernandez (0-0-1) of Bergenfield, NJ will face Tyrell Cook (0-3) in a four-round welterweight bout, which will be Hernandez’s first since drawing in his pro debut in 2017. Hernandez is currently a student at Columbia University in New York City, where he studies Computer Science with an expected graduation year of 2024.
Also in action will be Dane Guerrero, a 35-year-old from Ridgefield Park, NJ who will be making his pro debut. Guerrero, who owns Combat Fitness Club in Ridgefield Park, will face the 29-year-old Andre Hinton (0-2) of Philadelphia in a four-round super middleweight fight.
Tickets are priced at $100 for general admission and $300 for VIP, with livestream information to be announced shortly.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].