DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – August 25, 2017 – Raging Babe and Hall of Fame Matchmaker Russell Peltz have assembled what could be the best card North Carolina has seen this year. When “Raging Babe” Michelle Rosado first stepped foot into North Carolina, she did so with intent and purpose. North Carolina has, for too long, been seen as a place where fighters can go pad their records. Rosado was committed to changing that, and the newly minted Promoter plans on delivering on that commitment when she presents Thursday Night Fights on October 19th at the Durham Armory.
The main event is a local match-up, thick with bad blood. Marko “The Bull City Bully” Bailey (5-0, 3KO) faces off against Charlotte’s Stevie “The Answer” Massey (4-1, 4KO) in a six-round bout that has been brewing since both fighters were in the amateur ranks. The behind-closed-doors trash talk that both fighters have partaken in over the past few years has spilled over onto social media, and will now culminate in North Carolina State Championship bout on October 19th. “He runs his mouth too much,” said Bailey of his opponent. “This is personal. I want to beat the s— out of him. I have waited a long time to get my hands on this guy, and I’m going to break him down over six rounds. I’m going to make him look bad.” This is Bailey’s first six round bout, and he enters camp with the words of Undisputed Super Lightweight Champion Terence Crawford in his mind. “I spent some time with Bud last weekend. He told me that even when you’re struggling, and times get hard, you gotta fight through it no matter what. No excuses.” Bailey is training three hours from home with his head coach Don Turner. “It’s not easy work, training hours each day on a farm with only work, rest and corn.” Said Rosado of Bailey’s camp. Bailey isn’t deterred. “You gotta fight through adversity. That’s what makes champions. That’s what shows what you’re made of,” said the young fighter.
Massey plans on letting his fists do the talking. “I don’t back down from nobody,” said Massey of the match-up. “We should have fought in the amateurs, but it didn’t happen, and now it’s time.” The 24-year old featherweight is moving up in weight to fight Bailey, and Bailey is moving down. They are meeting in the middle at 132 lbs. Massey is coming off his first loss, a tough unanimous decision to Reggie Barnett Jr. Many fighters would take an easier touch after a loss, but that’s not the way Massey is built. “The loss gave me that hunger back. He better strap up because October 19th, I’m coming.”
It is the kind of matchup that Rosado and Peltz like best. “Listen, Michelle is a go-getter, she’s aggressive,” said Peltz. “She buys into the local match-ups theory. There’s nothing wrong with boxing that good fights won’t help. Michelle understands that. You have to make competitive fights. If you can make them at the local level without TV, it’s only going to help boxing in the long run. We’re trying change the culture in NC. Anytime you get two local kids to fight each other in the 21st century, it’s a big deal.”
In the co-main event, two undefeated, local Durham fighters step up to face each other in a six round bout at Junior Middleweight. Joseph Jackson (8-0, 6KO) squares off against Monreco “King Reek” Goldston (5-0-1, 3KO), with both fighters putting their ‘O’ on the line. It will be Goldston’s first bout in over a year, after having scored a majority draw with Virginia’s Robert Sweeney in May 2016. The bout will be Jackson’s fourth this year. He is coming off a knockout win over Darryol Humphrey last Saturday, August 19th.
Also on the card, Carlos Olmeda (2-0, 2KO) faces a very tough opponent in New York brawler Vinnie Denierio (1-2, 1KO). It isn’t the first time the 5’10” Southpaw Denierio has fought in the Bull City. He faced Marko Bailey there in April, before rematching him in June in Philadelphia. Both bouts earned standing ovations from the crowd. Olmeda isn’t the type to back down, despite being the smaller of the two fighters, plans to give the New Yorker all he can handle.
The remainder of the card is stacked with some of North Carolina’s most promising talent. Undefeated Junior Middleweight Donnie Marshall (5-0, 4KO) makes an appearance on the card, alongside Super Middleweight prospect Blake “The KO King” Mansfield (4-1-1, 2KO) , and Raleigh Heavyweight Nate Williams (1-0, 1KO). Also on the card, Hasim Rahman, Jr. makes his North Carolina debut. The heavyweight is following in his father’s footsteps, and has earned two wins, both by knockout, since his April debut.
The fight card fulfills Rosado’s promise to the fans of North Carolina. “These fighters are not messing around,” said Rosado. “It’s refreshing to work with guys that want to fight.” Rosado noted that, to the fighters’ credit, the aforementioned match-ups were an easy sell. “They wanted to come and fight for the fans. No outlandish press tours, no pay-per-view, no circus acts, no embarrassing match-ups. Just real boxers fighting real fights, Durham style.”