Berto retuns on July 27


Berto retuns on July 27

The strength, speed, power and stamina of the thoroughbred will be on display at Saratoga throughout its upcoming summer racing meet. DiBella Entertainment's undefeated "thoroughbred" – future boxing champion Andre Berto –  will showcase all of those qualities and more in Saratoga on July 27 when the welterweight star takes on Cosme Rivera on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights at the Saratoga Springs City Center .


Berto (18-0, 16 KOs), the 2004 Olympian, squares off against ring veteran Rivera (30-10, 21 KOs) in the toughest test of his promising, young career in the headline bout of the annual summer boxing card. 


"Andre Berto is going to bring his boxing horsepower to Saratoga," said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment. "It is a great opportunity to perform in front of the many avid sports fans assembled at Saratoga for the historic racing meet, and on national television on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights."


"I am very excited to be able to perform and showcase my talent in front of a broad national audience on ESPN2," says Berto. "Saratoga is going to be fun because it is a city known for running the best thoroughbreds in the world, and I hope to bring the same kind of excitement in the ring."


In the co-feature, DBE's Philadelphia heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon (18-0, 12 KOs) takes on his stiffest challenge to date against Fernely Feliz (29-8, 16 KOs) in the boxing extravaganza   promoted by Pugnacious Promotions and DiBella Entertainment during the first weekend of world-class thoroughbred racing meet at the city's historic race course.


Local favorites Shannon Miller (14-3, 8 KOs), Wayland Willingham (11-0, 6 KOs), Brandon Mitchem (25-4, 8 KOs) and Tommy Rainone (7-0, 2 KOs) will fight challenging opponents on the swing bouts and undercard.  Feature fights on the card – held on the first night of twilight racing the evening before the Breeder's Cup qualifier Whitney Stakes – will be televised on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."   


Berto, from Winterhaven, FL, is one of the most highly touted youngsters in the fight game, and considered by many to be a future world champion. Berto won his last 14 pro fights by KO, six in the first round. He was also named Prospect of the Year by ESPN's Dan Rafael.  Since turning pro, he has excelled against increasingly difficult competition, stopping recent opponents, Miguel Figueroa (25-5, 14 KOs) and Contender TV's Norberto Bravo (24-12, 13 KOs) impressively.    Rivera, from Culiacan, Mexico, challenged Zab Judah (34-5, 25 KOs) for the undisputed welterweight championship in 2005.  


"At this point, I m just taking it one fight at a time and hope to see a title shot   on the horizon as I continue to climb up the ranks," adds Berto. "When that opportunity presents itself, I'll face whoever is in the top spot."

Witherspoon was 2004 Olympic alternate and National Golden Gloves winner.   He has also impressed in his pro career, remaining undefeated in 18 fights and stopping his last five opponents.   In his well-traveled, 14-year career, Feliz from Danbury, CT has faced current heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev (34-5, 26 KOs) and former champ John Ruiz (41-7, 28 KOs).


"Pugnacious Promotions' annual Saratoga summer show is a great way to start the Saratoga racing season," said Lisa Elovich co-promoter of the event.   "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with DiBella Entertainment and bring these exciting, young, high-level fighters to Saratoga.  Fans will be chomping at the bit to see these bouts live." 


Tickets and more information are available from Pugnacious Promotions, or 518-326-9756. Call or visit for more information. Tickets are $125 for Golden Ringside and $75 for Ringside.   General Admission open seats are $40.