As the lights went down, the crowd roared. The sold-out Paramount Theatre in Huntington rocked with Long Island pride as they waited for the main event of Rockin’ Fights 33 to begin Friday night.
It was showtime for the hometown kid.
After two years, Chris Algieri made his return to the boxing ring in his backyard, looking to jumpstart another run at the WBO super lightweight title.
The only thing standing in his way was Angel Hernandez (14-12-2), who was coming off a knockout win in October.
Don’t call it a comeback.
Algieri (22-3) defeated Hernandez by unanimous decision, continuing his undefeated streak in the super lightweight division.
“It’s good to be back,” Algieri smiled. “This went exactly the way I wanted it to. My opponent was tougher than I expected, even though I knew it would be tough. But it was great. I got the rounds in and I stayed composed.”
Algieri came out strong, controlling the ring in the center for the first couple of rounds. His lightning fast left hand, which he uses to gauge distance, hit Hernandez with a flurry of jabs and hooks.
“I’m really long and my left hand, my leading hand, has to be working overtime,” Algieri said. “I have to keep guys where I want them, keep them at a measured place and keep me from getting hit. I was able to control the fight with my reach.”
As the later rounds commenced, the crowd started chanting his name and Algieri looked ready for more. His hands moved with the same speed and the left hand continued to prevail. He took some shots in the seventh, but overall Algieri remained in control and unwavering.
“I feel like I learned a lot in this fight, even though I’ve been fighting for a long time,” Algieri said. “There was some rust and some things I could’ve put together better, but those are things I’m working on with my new coach. I stepped on the gas pedal a few times and now I’m ready to finish these guys.”
“The pride of Huntington” didn’t let any of his fans down.
Algieri hails from Greenlawn but Huntington, especially The Paramount, is his home. In the beginning of his career, he went 18-0 with 10 of those wins in the Huntington venue. His only losses came in the welterweight division. It’s fitting that his return to the championship road should begin where it started.
For now, Algieri seems very content with the win. However, he isn’t done yet.
“Stay tuned,” Algieri laughed. “I’m getting right back to work.”
Other Long Island fighters
Tyrone James of Elmont notched another win at The Paramount, defeating Leo Carrizales (5-6-1) by TKO in the eighth round.
James (9-0) came out strong landing hard body shots and uppercuts. Carrizales dropped James in the sixth round but he came back with a vengeance. James had Carrizales up against the ropes for most of the seventh, continuously working him with uppercuts.
In the eighth, James had Carrizales in the same spot, landing consecutive uppercuts, leading to the TKO.
“After the knock down, I had to get back in there and return the favor,” James said. “I was going for the knockout but I remained calm. When I landed the first uppercut, I realized he wasn’t trying to guard it. I did it again with the same results. Two more times and they ended the fight.”
Terrell Bostic (3-1) of Wyandanch lost via split decision to Omar Bordoy (7-0) of Danbury, Connecticut.
Alex Vargas (2-0) of Bellport won via unanimous decision over Jarrill Haadi (0-1) of Rochester, New York.