After the most successful and entertaining year in the series' 11+ year existence, DiBella Entertainment will kick of the 2014 season of Broadway Boxing with the final boxing card ever to take place at NYC's famed Roseland Ballroom, with an event titled "The Last Dance". Having promoted a number of cards at the venue over the years, the historic ballroom will be closing its doors in April after more than 50 years of operation at its current location.
Featured bouts on the card will see New York fan-favorites Heather "The Heat" Hardy, an undefeated super bantamweight (7-0, 2KO's), and West Point graduate junior middleweight Boyd "The Rainmaker" Melson (13-1-1, 4KO's) in separate eight-round bouts. An opponent for Hardy will be announced shortly while Melson is set to go toe-to-toe against Mike Ruiz (17-8, 9KO's) in what promises to be an all-action affair.
"I am sad that Roseland is closing and that this is the last boxing card we will ever promote there. 'The Last Dance' will not only be a celebration of New York boxing, but a celebration of a legendary hall. This boxing card will help say goodbye to Roseland in style," stated promoter Lou DiBella.
The popular Melson has gained national exposure and was featured on HBO's Real Sports last year for his involvement with Team Fight to Walkand the Just a Dollar Please organization. Melson has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Spinal Cord research through his effort, which includes donating his entire purse from each fight. With an exciting come-forward style, Melson's efforts in and out of the ring have seen him continuously pack venues every time he climbs through the ropes. Melson is hoping to move into more significant fights in 2014, but he must first get past the battle-tested Ruiz on February 12.
Like Melson, Ruiz has fought primarily in New York. Ruiz, a Puerto Rican-native now living and training in Queens, has seen his career take a number of ups and downs, which included starting off 0-2 before putting together a string of eight straight victories. Ruiz is 9-4 in his last 13 and was coming off back-to-back stoppage victories prior to dropping a razor-thin eight-round majority decision in an absolute war last time out to world-rated contender Charlie Ohta (24-1-1, 16KO's, WBO #4, WBC #9 & IBF #11). A win over the once-beaten Melson will put Ruiz' career back on track and set him up for much bigger opportunities in the talented junior middleweight division.
Ever since she turned pro in August 2012, Hardy's stardom has continued to rise. Hardy, a NY Golden Gloves champion, signed an exclusive long-term promotional contract with DBE last year and has quickly become one of the main boxing attractions in all of New York. Each time she has stepped into the ring, she has thrilled her adoring and growing fan-base with her exciting and relentless come-forward style. Hardy is coming off back-to-back stoppage victories, with the latter earning her the vacant Universal Boxing Federation International female super bantamweight title. Hardy is looking to continue moving up the world rankings in 2014 and hopes to challenge for her first world championship sometime before the end of the year.
Additional bouts featuring many of the most talented and promising young prospects on the DBE roster will be announced soon.