Heavyweights Joey Dawejko and Mark Rideout meet over eight rounds—or less—in an all-Philadelphia match on May 16 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Topping the seven-bout card is an eight-round between undefeated junior welterweight prospects Naim Nelson, of Philadelphia, and Jerome Rodriguez, of Trenton, NJ.
The seven-bout card program marks the first pro fight card at the 2300 Arena since Jan. 21, 2012, when then-unknown heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings upset Maurice Byarm in a battle of undefeated Philadelphians to open the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series. Formerly known as the ECW Arena, the New Alhambra and later the Asylum Arena, the 2300 Arena, located at Swanson & Ritner Streets in South Philadelphia, has undergone renovations and eventually will seat close to 1,700 spectators.
First fight May 16 is set for 7.30p.m. The card is being promoted by Peltz Boxing and BAM Boxing in association with SugarHouse Casino.
Dawejko, 23, comes into this fight off the biggest win of his career, an eight-round decision over former contender Derric Rossy, of New York, on Jan. 25 in Atlantic City, NJ. Dawejko is 9-3-2, 3 K0s, but this will be only his fifth fight in Philadelphia since turning pro in 2009. He has boxed in Canada, California, Illinois and Connecticut, taking fights on short notice for short money. It all seemed pointless until Dawejko’s recent win over Rossy.
“I know Mark from the amateurs and I was able to beat him when we fought,” Dawejko said, “but I know the pros are a different story. I’m looking forward to fighting in my hometown again in front of my fans. It should be a good fight.”
Part of Dawejko’s preparation for the May 16 fight is in Austria, where he was summoned last week to serve as a sparring partner for Waldimir Klitschko, who is defending his world heavyweight championship belts against Alex Leapai, of Samoa, on April 26 in Germany. Lepai is 6-foot tall, short for a heavyweight; Dawejko is 5-foot-10.
Rideout, 24, is 4-0-2, 1 K0, since turning pro midway through 2012. In his last fight Jan. 24 in Atlantic City, Rideout boxed a four-round draw with unbeaten Fred Latham, of Pittsburgh, PA. Ironically, it was 24 hours before Dawejko’s big win over Rossy across town.
“I am excited about the opportunity to get back in action and be in my first eight-rounder,” Rideout said. “My last couple of fights have ended in draws, but not this fight. Me and Joey fought in the amateurs and he beat me, but this is the pros and I’m getting this win. I respect all of Joey’s accomplishments as an amateur, but this is my time and it will be a long night for Joey.”
Five additional fights complete the May 16 lineup.