On Friday, June 14, ESPN Friday Night Fights will hail from from the Richard J. Codey Arena at South Mountain in West Orange, New Jersey. In the 10-round main event, IBF #14-rated featherweight Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10 KOs) of Montreal, Canada (via Afghanistan) will face once-beaten contender Art “Lionheart” Hovhannisyan (15-1-2, 8 KOs) of Glendale, California (via Armenia).
And in the exciting 10-round heavyweight co-feature, WBA #2-rated Luis “El Mercedez” Ortiz (19-0, 16 KOs) of Miami, Florida (via Cuba), will take on WBA #11-rated Travis “The Truth” Kaufmann (24-1, 18 KOs) of Reading, Pennsylvania in a WBA Heavyweight Elimination Bout with the winner positioning himself for a title shot.
31-year-old Usmanee has already won the NABA and WBC Continental Americas Championships as a professional. As an amateur he was a five-time National Canadian Champion. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Usmanee and his family moved to Alberta, Canada, when he was three years old. He now resides in Montreal. Usmanee’s only career defeat was a highly controversial 12-round decision to fellow contender Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy on January 4 of this year.
As an amateur, 31-year-old Hovhannisyan gained extensive international experience and was a four-time Armenian National Champion, going 163-12. He moved to the United States in 2007. He is coming off the only loss of his promising career, a very close decision to Alejandro Perez last February. Hovhannisyan has served a sparring partner for former pound-for-pound #1 Manny Pacquiao.
34-year-old southpaw Ortiz was an accomplished amateur, finishing with a record of 343-19. He was a long-time member of the Cuban National Team and competed internationally. Ortiz won the Cuban National “Playa Giron” in 2006 and won the Pan-American Championships, took silver at the World Cup (Team Competition) in Russia, was a quarter-finalist at the world championships and won several medals at the Cuban Championships. As a professional, he has already held the WBO Latino, WBA Fedelatin and WBC FECARBOX Heavyweight Titles.
27-year-old Kauffman is the World Boxing Federation Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion and a former Number-One Ranked American Amateur Heavyweight. He received a full scholarship to Northern Michigan University for boxing, but elected to focus on fighting professionally. Kauffman’s promising career has been hampered by injuries in the past, but he has picked up his activity rate since signing with GCP.
“I am extremely happy to bring ESPN to my hometown of West Orange,” said co-promoter Greg Cohen, CEO of Greg Cohen Promotions. “Vito and I are committed to bringing world-class boxing events to New Jersey and this spectacular event is a testament to that. It will truly be a great night for boxing in my home state.”
“We also have a number of local hot prospects on the undercard,” said Vito Mielnicki of GH3 Promotions. “This show will be an important showcase for the four televised fighters as each will be looking to line up world-title shots in the immediate future with a victory. But it will also shine a light on the up-and-coming young fighters about to make waves on the world scene. I am very proud to be a part of such an amazing night of boxing.”
Tickets are priced at $35, $50, $75, and $100 Ringside (Rows 1-2). VIP Tables for 10 are also available that include dinner. To purchase, please call 212.851.6425.