A full night of action awaits fans on Saturday, December 19 as heavyweight world title contender Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) and undefeated Cuban star Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) battle on HBO Boxing After Dark staring at 10:15 p.m.
The undercard of the event will also see three stellar undercard bouts one featuring the return of Cuban superstar Yuriorkis Gamboa (24-1, 17 KOs), as he squares off against Hylon Williams Jr. (16-1-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on HBO Latino Boxing at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT (tape delay) presented in association with SMS Promotions.
Featured in off-TV bouts will be unbeaten super middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (10-0, 7 KOs) taking on Brazilian seasoned fighter Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena (11-3-1, 8 KOs) in a 6 to 8 – round brawl and an all-Puerto Rico 10-round clash between Manati’s Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (28-5-1, 26 KOs) and Bayamon’s Steven Martinez (15-2, 12 KOs).
As previously mentioned, Nicholas “Axe Man” Waters (26-0, 21 KOs) battles Jason “El Canito” Sosa (18-1-3, 14 KOs) in a 10-round junior lightweight matchup as the co-main feature of the HBO Boxing After Dark portion of the televised undercard presented by Top Rank.
In the HBO Latino® Boxing portion of the televised night, Cuban light heavyweight contender Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs) fighting out of Miami, Florida will face the undefeated power-puncher, Vyacheslav “Lion Heart – Chigonsky” Shabranskyy (14-0, 12 KOs) of Los Angeles in a 10-round light heavyweight main event presented in association by Star Boxing.
Plus, former world title contender, “King” Gabriel Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia makes his highly anticipated return to the ring against former IBF Welterweight World Champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, in a 10-round junior middleweight co-main event. The HBO Latino Boxing event will start at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT (tape delay) or immediately following the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast.
A 2004 Olympic Gold medalist for Cuba, Guantanamo native Yuriorkis Gamboa was one of the greatest fighters to graduate from the Cuban amateur boxing program, and he has not stopped making history as a professional. Now living in Miami, the 33-year-old Gamboa has won three world titles already, defeating the likes of Orlando Salido, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Darleys Perez. Following the lone loss of his career in a Fight of the Year candidate against Terence Crawford in June of 2014, Gamboa bounced back with a technical knockout of Joel Montes de Oca five months later, and now he makes his return to the ring on December 19.
Houston’s Hylon Williams Jr. was a decorated amateur himself, winning National PAL and National Golden Gloves titles while also securing a spot as an alternate on the 2008 United States Olympic team. As a pro, “Lil’ Ced” has won all but two of his pro bouts, with his most recent draw against Jason Litzau in August coming after a nearly three-year layoff. On December 19, he gets a chance to make a statement to the boxing world if he can defeat Gamboa.
Blasting through all comers at super middleweight, Washington, D.C.’s D’Mitrius Ballard is one of the top prospects from a region of the United States that is producing more world-class fighters than any other these days. Showing his ability to box as well as bang in recent victories over Josue Ovando and Juan Carlos Rojas, the 22-year-old Ballard is looking to end the year with a knockout when he faces an opponent to be determined in a six-round bout.
Fabiano Pena of Los Angeles has accumulated an impressive record of eleven victories since his professional debut in Balneario Rincao, Santa Catarina, Brazil in February of 2013, where he went on to claim the vacant Brazilian cruiserweight title against Lourival Luiz Da Silva that same year. He made his U.S. debut in 2014 boasting a win against Dave Valykeo at the Wheeling Island Casino Racetrack in Wheeling, West Virginia, and hit a rocky patch with one win and three loses in 2015. Pena will seek redemption as he takes on an evenly matched opponent in D’Mitrius Ballard.
A power puncher who delivers the knockouts Puerto Rican fight fans love, 26-year-old Jorge “The Destroyer” Melendez has won several regional titles over the years, but after snapping a two-fight losing streak with a 68-second finish of Antonio Rodriguez in June, the Manati native is firmly focused on finishing 2015 with another win and beginning his quest for world title honors in 2016.
Owner of wins in four of his last five bouts, Steven Martinez packs fight-stopping power in his fists, and with nine of his 12 knockouts coming in three rounds or less, he will be hoping to make short work of Melendez in this battle for Puerto Rican pride. But more importantly, with a victory over this veteran contender, the 25-year-old Martinez can start to make his move up the divisional ladder.