Fight Night at the Stadium

Boxing returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time in 34 years at about 6:45 tonight, when Manhattan junior welterweights Christian Martinez and Jonathan Cuba climbed into the ring for the first bout of the Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto junior middleweight title bout.

Less than 15 minutes later, Martinez walked out of the ring with the first boxing victory at a place called Yankee Stadium since Muhammad Ali escaped with his heavyweight title at the ballpark across the street on Sept. 28, 1976 and the very first boxing victory at the new ballpark.

"I couldn't wait for tonight.'' said Martinez (4-0, 4 KOs), who stoppedCuba (2-2) at 1:18 of the fourth round. " It was a tremendous feeling walking through the stadium into the ring. It's great being the first man to win a fight in Yankee Stadium. It feels historic.''

Martinez and Cuba fought before a largely empty ballpark, but by the time Denver welterweight Terry Buterbaugh (6-3-1) decisioned Tommy Rainone (12-4) of Plainview, about half of the 30,000 seats set aside for the event appeared to be filled. Earlier, Puerto Rican welterweight Abner Cotto (8-0), second cousin of headliner Miguel, scored a unanimous decision over Edgar Portillo (6-5-1) of Midland, Tx. and featherweight Jorge Diaz of New Brunswick, NJ, stopped Jae Sung-Lee of Korea at 1:54 of the sixth.