Huntington native Chris Algieri will have his work cut out for him Friday when he squares off against Emanuel Taylor in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights card at the Paramount Theater in Huntington.
Taylor (17-1, 12 KOs), rated sixth in the latest IBF junior welterweight rankings, has an extensive background in amateur boxing, with five junior Golden Gloves and three national PAL titles. He finished is amateur career with a record of 186-26.
Algieri (18-0, 8 KOs) didn’t come up through the amateur ranks, but was a championship kick boxer. That kickboxing background could serve as an advantage for Algieri, according to one veteran observer.
“He’s already taken the necessary steps and has already reached a certain level of maturity,” Longtime trainer and ESPN FNF analyst Teddy Atlas told Newsday.
Algieri, 29, a former International Sport Karate Association and World Kickboxing Association champion, has been fighting without head gear since he was 19. All amateur boxers are required to wear head protection.
“I’ve heard it time and time before,” Algieri told Newsday in a previous interview of not having an amateur background. “With everything I’ve done as a pro, I think I made up for it.”
Atlas is convinced Algieri’s amateur background has given a leg up in the ring and said: "being a great kickboxer tells me he’s not a baby and that he’s a mature kid.”
The rest of the card, put together by Star Boxing president Joe DeGuardia, features three Long Island fighters, including Huntington lightweight Alan Gotay (7-0), who will take on Chicago's Carl McNickles (8-4).
In other fights, Junior welterweight Issouf Kinda (16-1) will take on Jeremy Bryan (16-3) in an eight-round bout; Hicksville’s Anthony Karperis (5-2) will square off against Calvin Smith (2-6); Huntington junior middleweight Wendy Toussaint (3-0) will battle Anthony Gangemi (4-1) in a four-round fight and Jason Escalera (13-1-1) will take on Lekan Byfield (4-5-2) in a six-round middleweight bout.
Friday will mark the fourth time DeGuardia will have a major network broadcast one of his cards. NBC Sports Network, SHOWTIME and Azteca were the previous networks.