Nassau Coliseum to host first card since 1986

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Former world titleholders Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero will square off in a 10-round welterweight fight that will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox in prime time and return the sport to the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, PBC announced on Tuesday.

There has not been a boxing card at the arena since an up-and-coming Mike Tyson fought there in 1986.

“Boxing’s grand return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is going to be wall-to-wall action,” said Lou DiBella, who will promote the card. “The main event between Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero is destined to be a bloody slugfest. As a Long Islander, I am proud to promote the first fight card at Nassau Coliseum in 31 years.”

The building reopened in April after undergoing a $170 million renovation. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the company that runs Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and has made that building a boxing hotbed, also runs the Nassau Coliseum and aims to have regular fights there too. It hoped to have its first boxing event on April 29 but various issues pushed it back to July 15.

Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) and Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) will top a televised tripleheader that begins at 8 p.m. ET. It will also be simulcast in Spanish on Fox Deportes.

“The Coliseum has a rich history in boxing, having hosted notable fights with the likes of Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Gerry Cooney, among others,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “We are thrilled to build on the sport’s heritage on Long Island, and to bring boxing back to the venue 31 years later with a major event on network television.”

Figueroa, 27, of Weslaco, Texas, held a lightweight world title from 2013 to 2014 before moving up in weight. But he is coming off a 19-month layoff since he won a 12-round decision against former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco in December 2015.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing fans what I’m known for — exciting fights,” Figueroa said. “I’ve been quietly training and preparing in Indo, California, with [trainer] Joel Diaz and now it’s time. I’m looking forward to a great fight with Robert Guerrero on July 15 in front of a New York crowd. I can’t wait to show everyone at the Coliseum and on Fox what ‘Panterita’ is all about.”

The faded Guerrero, 34, of Gilroy, California, who won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight, as well as interim belts at lightweight and welterweight, is coming off an 11-month layoff and is in dire need of a victory. He enters the bout having lost two in a row and three of his past four. Had it not been for generous judges he could be mired in a four-fight losing streak.

“Both me and Omar Figueroa like to bang on the inside, which should make for great entertainment, but Omar is going to find out on July 15 that he’s facing a man who has his back against the wall and is going to leave everything in the ring,” Guerrero said. “I’m going to give the millions who’ll be watching on Fox and Fox Deportes a fight to remember. This is going to be a classic Mexican war and I’m coming out on top.”

Long Island fan favorite Seanie Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs), 35, who likely will sell most of the tickets for the card, will face an uphill battle against 26-year-old Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, New York, in their light heavyweight fight, which could be elevated from a 10-rounder into a 12-round world title elimination fight.

“It is a dream come true to be fighting at the Coliseum, which is literally right next to the track where I run every day,” Monaghan said. “It is an honor to represent Long Island in the first boxing event held at this venue in 31 years. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I feel that this bout will bring a new chapter in my career. I have a lot of respect for Marcus Browne, but let the best man win. On July 15, I am putting everything on the line.”

Browne is coming off a strong performance in a sixth-round knockout win over former world title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. in February and is excited to face Monaghan.

“I have fought more times at Barclays Center than anyone, so it’s exciting to get to fight in a new venue not too far from home,” Browne said. “We might be in Seanie’s immediate backyard, but I’m just down the block, so he really isn’t any more at home than I am. I know he’s a hard-nosed fighter with a come-forward style. I’m preparing for a tough opponent. A win won’t come easy, but we have to take care of business. I am just ready to display my talent on national television and continue my climb toward a world title.”

The card will also feature a 10-round all-Polish heavyweight fight between former world title challenger Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs), 28, and Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KOs), 28, who was born in Poland but fights out of Brooklyn.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and give my fans another exciting fight,” Szpilka said. “With two Polish heavyweights fighting, you know there will be power and pride on display. I’m training harder than ever to get this victory in front of the great Polish fans in New York. This will be my first step towards getting back to fighting for the heavyweight world title.”

Szpilka will be fighting for the first time since January 2016, when he suffered a devastating ninth-round knockout loss challenging world titleholder Deontay Wilder. Kownacki will be taking a significant step up in the level of his opposition, having faced no one of remote note thus far.

“I can’t wait to fight again,” Kownacki said. “Most of my past fights were at Barclays Center, so fighting at the Coliseum will be a new and exciting experience. I am training very hard. A win on July 15 puts me one step closer to becoming a world champion. Szpilka will not stand in my way.”

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