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Boxcino quarterfinals kick off on FNF

Fresh off a successful relaunch in 2014, Banner Promotions' Boxcino tournaments return on this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Established as one of the most prestigious tournaments in professional boxing in the United States, Boxcino returns in 2015 with a pair of tournaments in the junior middleweight (beginning Friday) and heavyweight (beginning Feb. 20) divisions.

Boxcino is considered a true boxing star factory. The first edition, in 1997 -- which aired on ESPN -- was won by Brazilian Acelino "Popo" Freitas, who went on to win world titles in two divisions.

Last year's tournaments created new fighters to watch in middleweight Willie Monroe Jr. and lightweight Petr Petrov. Both have used their success in the Boxcino tournaments to climb the rankings, as have runners-up Brandon Adams and Fernando Carcamo.

Adams, who lost to Monroe in the finals of the 2014 Boxcino middleweight tournament, has moved down in weight to enter this year's junior middleweight draw. Friday's quarterfinal bouts will be six rounds, with the semifinals set for eight rounds (April 3) and the finals scheduled for 10 rounds (May 22).

Here is a breakdown of Friday's quarterfinal bouts in the junior middleweight bracket:

Ricardo Pinell (10-1-1, 6 KOs) vs. John Thompson (14-1, 5 KOs)

The 2015 Boxcino tournament was supposed to be a big opportunity for Cleotis Pendarvis, a native of Los Angeles, who was seeking for more than 10 years to direct his career toward the elite of professional boxing. But Pendarvis, despite moving up two weight classes, came in overweight on Friday and was ruled out of the tournament.

Pendarvis' last-minute replacement will be John Thompson, 25, a native of New Jersey, who will snap a 13-month layoff dating back to the first defeat of his career last January when he was knocked out by Frank Galarza.

Pinell, of California, is a southpaw and is looking to find his place in the competitive elite of professional boxing in the United States. Boxcino can be the door to that dream if he can defeat Thompson.

Pinell accumulated a run of five straight wins since his only loss, in 2013 against Eric Mendez. Pendarvis' experience and better technique should favor his victory; however, keep in mind that he has been inactive for the past 21 months and will be moving up two weight classes to face Pinell.

Stanyslav Skorokhod (8-0, 6 KOs) vs. Michael Moore (13-0, 6 KOs)

This will be an interesting battle between undefeated opponents with contrasting styles. The Ukrainian Skorokhod looks to apply pressure, has good power and moves intelligently in the ring. Moore, 28, of Cleveland, is a technically gifted southpaw with good movement, although he lacks power.

Expect Skorokhod to be aggressive off the start, looking to test Moore, who hasn't fought in 16 months. The Ukrainian will be making just his second appearance in the U.S., and will need to overcome a lack of experience to get the best of Moore.

Nevertheless, in his previous fight, Skorokhod knocked out lefty David Lopez in October in Hollywood, which would certainly be a performance he should look to emulate in his Boxcino debut.

Brandon Adams (15-1, 10 KOs) vs. Alex Perez (18-1, 10 KOs)

Adams, a native of Los Angeles, enters the tournament with the greatest amount of expectation following his performance in the middleweight draw last year. The 2014 middleweight runner-up has dropped to 154 pounds and is coming off a Jan. 16 knockout over Lekan Byfield on "Friday Night Fights."

Perez, 32, of Newark, New Jersey, is a southpaw with good power who moves well around the ring. But he'll be having an aggressive puncher like Adams, who has dynamite in his fists, coming at him.

Despite holding a height advantage, Perez (6-foot) will need to overcome the fact that he has not fought regularly in the past three years. Due to his aggressiveness and the power of his punch, Adams (5-9) is the favorite.

Vito Gasparyan (14-3-5, 8 KOs) vs. Simeon Hardy (13-0, 10 KOs)

This fight promises to set off sparks between two good opponents.

The Armenian Gasparyan enters the bout after losing a unanimous decision to current junior welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas. But that fight took place in December 2012 and Gasparyan, who is tough and able to withstand punishment, hasn't fought since.

Hardy, who was born in Guyana but resides in Brooklyn, has worked under the tutelage of mentor and trainer Colin Morgan in the Trinidad Boxing Gym. Hardy is a rising undefeated prospect, who has won his past three fights by knockout.

Boxcino will be Hardy's first big challenge, and Gasparyan is the most dangerous opponent he has ever faced.