Boxer Chris Algieri is one of the area's top ticket sellers. Now his faithful fans will get to see him fight for a world title on Long Island.
Huntington's Algieri challenges WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov on June 14 at the Nassau Coliseum. The fight will be televised by HBO and is being co-promoted by Joe DeGuardia and Bob Arum.
"I knew the Coliseum was a possibility," Algieri said. "It was either here or Las Vegas. I wanted the fight no matter where it was. But the fact that I get to fight for my first world title in my hometown is a great opportunity."
Since 1974, there have been at least 12 boxing cards at the Coliseum, but this is the first world title fight. The two biggest fights at the venue have been George Foreman's fifth-round knockout of Joe Frazier in 1976 and Gerry Cooney's first-round knockout of Ron Lyle in 1980. Long Beach light heavyweight contender Seanie Monaghan (20-0) also will be on the card.
"I think the Nassau Coliseum will be a big factor in this fight," said DeGuardia. "Chris is going to pack the place with his fans and that fan support is going to be an integral part of the fight because he's going to be tested."
Provodnikov (23-2, 16 knockouts) is considered one of the toughest fighters in the sport. The 30-year-old Russian has a straight-forward style and often overwhelms opponents with steady pressure. His thrilling 2013 loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. was named Fight of the Year by ESPN, Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
"I think with Ruslan, you know what you are going to get," said Algieri. "He's going to come forward and throw bombs. That's what he does. I am expecting that. I think our styles match up perfectly. I think this fight is all about real estate, whoever can control where the fight is happening in the ring will have the advantage."
The 30-year-old earned the title fight with wins over Emmanuel Taylor (17-1), Bayan Jargal (15-2) and former world title challenger Mike Arnaoutis (24-7).
"We won't do anything different," said Algieri's trainer, Keith Trimble. "Chris is going to be Chris. We know the other guy is tough. But Chris has unbelievable cardio. Chris can box for days. There is no reason to stand in front of Provodnikov. Chris is going to win with what has gotten him to this point so far. And that's boxing."
Algieri (19-0, 8 knockouts) has fought his last eight bouts at the Paramount in Huntington, selling out the venue each time.
"I'm proud of the way we moved Chris," said DeGuardia. "We've been fortunate to build him up at the Paramount. We've progressed on the networks -- Azteca, NBC Sports, ESPN, and now it's HBO. We've given him tougher assignments each fight out and he's risen to the occasion. This is obviously a big step up. Provodnikov is probably one of the toughest kids out there but I think Chris has the tools to win the fight."