Unheralded Cuban-born welterweight Damian “Devo” Frias (19-6-1, 10 KOs) has an opportunity this Thursday (April 4th) in New York City to turn his career around, if he can upset former NABA champion Ionut “Jo Jo” Dan Ion (30-2, 17 KOs) in an eight-round co-main event as part of the fan favorite “Broadway Boxing” at the historic Roseland Ballroom in midtown Manhattan.
Frias, fighting out of Miami, has only been boxing the past six years. He already has one major upset to his credit having defeated 21-1-1 Henry Crawford (TKO 9) in 2011.
The Romanian-born Ion, who now lives and trains in Montreal, is rated No. 5 by the WBC. Ion’s only losses as a professional have been 12-round decisions to Selcuk Aydin in a pair of WBC Silver title fights.
“I’m looking at this as the most important fight of my life,” Frias said about his showdown with Ion. “He’s rated and I want his spot. If I beat him, it won’t be like when I beat Crawford. After the Crawford fight, it was, OK, what’s next?
“I’m at a good place right now, perfect for this fight. My personal life is going very well and I’ve been in the gym training since August. If the knockout comes, great, but I’ve trained to go the full distance.”
Frias’ manager, Si Stern, believes Frias has gotten his act together and is a dangerous opponent for Ion.
“Damian is a very, very tough kid who is strong and has no fear,” Stern remarked. “He is as tough as tough can be, a gym rat who’s never been stopped. His mind is right going into this fight – physically, mentally and emotionally – unlike for some in the past. He should have a few more wins than he does but he’s fought a lot of guys on the road. This is a very important fight for him because he can turn his career around with a win.”
In his last fight, Frias lost a ten-round split decision (96-93, 92-97, 94-95) to undefeated Kazak lefthander Vitaliy Demyanenko in November.
“I felt I won that fight,” said Frias. “His promoter had his back, I don’t have a promoter. I felt I won that fight and I told him that afterwards in the ring. I was in a good fight against an undefeated guy. Ion is a strong southpaw, similar to my last opponent. This guy steps back and throws a lot of punches. I saw a couple of things he does that I plan to take advantage of. I’m up for this challenge.”