Apollo to host second boxing event

The Apollo Theater is best known as a music venue.

On March 2, however, the Harlem landmark will host a talent search of sorts, in a boxing promotion staged by Golden Boy.

Mexican Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4) defends his WBC featherweight crown against Puerto Rico's Jayson Velez (20-0), topping a night of boxing, which will be featured at the building for the first time since 1997. This will be just the second professional boxing event staged at the fabled space.

Showtime will televise some of the scraps, including the mainer and a clash between Richard Abril (17-3-1) and Sharif Bogere (23-0). The vacant WBA lightweight title will be up for grabs in that one.

"There's nothing like boxing's Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry and this fight between Ponce De Leon and Velez is going to be explosive from start to finish," said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. "New York City is the perfect location for this event and we can't wait to have our first show at the historic Apollo Theater."

"This will be a great fight once again the classic battle between Puerto Rico and Mexico," said Miguel Cotto, who promotes Velez. "Jayson is ready to take the challenge and fight for the world title. Puerto Rico will have a new world champion on March 2."

Gary Russell Jr. (21-0) tangles with Vyacheslav Gusev (20-2) in the TV opener.

Nigerian David Izon stole the show on the 1997 Apollo card, knocking out Lou Savarese of the Bronx in round five.