By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Photos: Werner Kalin
Australian light heavyweight Blake “Il Capo” Caparello (18-0-1, 6 KOs) will make his debut on American turf Friday when he will headline on ESPN Friday Night Fights against veteran Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriq (40-5, 24 KOs) in the ten round main event at the Richard J. Codey Arena, West Orange, New Jersey. Caparello, 27 years, has been made a solid favorite to defeat Muriqi with Australian betting agencies. The Australian was impressive in his most recent ring outing in scoring a dominant twelve round decision over formerly world-rated American Alan Green who he defeated to capture the IBO world 175 pound title during October 2013. (Caparello religuished the IBO title recently.)
Other American light heavyweights who have been defeated by the 6.1″ Aussie southpaw are Aaron Pryor jnr, Kevin Engel and Dante Craig, all three fights in 2012. Caparello’s toughest fight was against New Zealand 175 pounder Robert Berridge who he outscored over ten rounds in 2012.
“Can’t wait for Friday night and put on a good show for my debut in the USA,” said Caparello. “I’m feeling great. This is a big opportunity for my team and I. I’m very excited to be signing with DiBella Entertainment. I have always wanted to fight in the USA and test myself against the world’s best. With DiBella Entertainment as my promoter all this is now possible. I can’t wait to make my US TV debut on ESPN.”
“I’m a boxer-mover. I like to use angles, long punches and quick hands,” Caparello added. “Elvir (Muriqi) is a strong, solid fighter. We’ve had a good look at him. He’s the type if we want to make an impression, we have to beat him good. That’s our plan.”
Caparello’s manager Brendan Bourke said “Blake has shown he is a genuine world class light heavyweight in sparring sessions with former world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Blake has sparred Pascal several times including recently in Las Vegas when Jean was preparing for Lucian Bute. Caparello looked great in sparring with Pascal.”
Elvir Muriqi who is based in New York but born in Kosovo 34 years ago is having his second comeback fight after having been inactive in 2012. In his most recent ring appearance Muriqi outscored Paul Vasquez over eight rounds in his only fight in 2013. In 2007 Muriqi pushed Antonio Tarver in IBO world title bout dropping a close majority decision but in 2009 was clearly outpointed by former IBF champion Clinton Woods.
On his fight with Caparello on Friday, Muriqi said “When you fight a lefty, you can never look great but as long as I win, that’s what matters. I’m pretty good with lefties and I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people.”