It's tourney time on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" as the quarterfinals of the 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament kick off this week at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev.
The Boxcino tournament, which kicks off its middleweight edition on Feb. 28, gets underway Friday (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) with four six-round single elimination bouts in the lightweight division. The network had previously broadcast a Boxcino tournament in 1997, won by future four-time world titlist Acelino "Popo" Freitas.
The career path of each of the fighters competing in the lightweight bracket have created a huge anticipation about the quality of bouts we are expected to see.
Yakubu Amidu (21-4-2, 19 KOs) vs. Chris Rudd (12-1, 8 KOs)
Amidu, 29, of Ghana, has held regional titles in Africa and is fresh off a win against Rynell Griffin in November. He has good technique and has already faced top level opponents such as Ali Funeka, Ricky Burns and Juan Carlos Burgos. Rudd, meanwhile, is a fearsome puncher who is coming off the first defeat of his career in November against William Jackson. The clash of styles -- technique versus aggression -- should produce a close and attractive battle.
Petr Petrov (32-4-2, 15 KOs) vs. Fedor Papazov (14-0, 9 KOs)
This bout between Russian fighters promises an entertaining pairing of experience against conviction. Petrov, 30, who was born in Ryazan and now resides in Spain, is a 14-year pro most known for his 2011 knockout loss to Marcos Maidana in an interim junior welterweight title bout in Argentina. Papazov, 28, who is known as "Knockout Man," has yet to face first-class opposition the way Petrov has. In his last bout, held in Krasnodar, Russia, Papazov won a 10-round decision against Sergio Javier Escobar.
Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) vs. Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-2-2, 21 KOs)
Expect a firefight between aggressive Mexican fighters in this one. Gonzalez, 28, who fights out of Cleveland, ended the 12-fight win streak of Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos by knockout last July. Mendoza, 30, has not only stopped all 21 opponents he has defeated, he has faced higher opposition than Gonzalez, including a 2011 defeat against Rey Bautista.
Fernando Carcamo (15-5, 12 KOs) vs. Samuel Neequaye (21-0, 15 KOs)
Neequaye, of Ghan, puts his unbeaten record on the line against the Mexican southpaw Carcamo. In his last bout, Neequaye, 30, won a decision over Dorin Spivey last August. But he faces a tough test in Carcamo, 23, who is aggressive and has plenty of power behind his punches. Carcamo has stopped his last five opponents, the last two inside of two rounds, including a victory last September against former world title contender Vicente Escobedo.