After 31 years, boxing is back at Long Island’s home arena.
The first Brooklyn Boxing On Long Island event to be held at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will be a PBC on FOX event on Saturday, July 15. Former world welterweight champions Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero will headline the event, along with a collision of undefeated light heavyweights as Long Island favorite Seanie Monaghan takes on Staten Island’s Marcus Browne. The fight card also includes powerful heavyweights Artur Szpilka and Adam Kownacki.
Figueroa, the 27-year-old former WBC world lightweight champion, carries a 26-0-1 record with 18 knockouts. Guerrero has held world championships at both featherweight and junior lightweight, plus interim belts at lightweight and welterweight. He’s also had welterweight championship bouts against Floyd Mayweather, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.
Long Beach’s Seanie Monaghan didn’t turn pro until he was 29 years old, but the 35-year-old former bricklayer has battled his way to a 28-0 record with a rugged style. In June 2012 he captured the WBC Continental Americas light heavyweight title and has successfully defended that belt eight times. Browne, who has fought in 11 Brooklyn Boxing events at Barclays Center, is 19-0 with 14 knockouts after his February knockout of Thomas Williams Jr.
The hard-punching Szpilka is returning to the ring for the first time since his WBC world heavyweight championship loss to Deontay Wilder in January 2016. He has a 20-2 career record. Kownacki, Polish-born like Szpilka, is 15-0 with 12 knockouts.
For a decade, the giants of an era took to the ring at the Coliseum, with the arena’s last fight night headlined by the explosive young heavyweight Mike Tyson. Just a year into his professional career, Tyson registered his 19th knockout in as many fights on March 10, 1986. Eight months later he knocked out Trevor Berbick to claim the WBC world heavyweight title, his first championship belt.
The first step in bringing a world title fight back to the Coliseum came with the opening of Barclays Center in 2012. The new arena’s Brooklyn Boxing platform has hosted more than 35 title fights and over 150 bouts on 22 fight nights in the last five years.
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment’s commitment to boxing now extends to Long Island, building on the Coliseum’s great history. Before Mike Tyson, the Coliseum hosted legends such as Roberto Duran, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Heavyweight Jerry Quarry headlined the inaugural event on May 8, 1974. Quarry, who had twice faced Muhammad Ali, registered a second-round knockout of Joe Alexander, one month before his second fight against Joe Frazier.
The following year, WBA world lightweight champion Roberto Duran defeated Edwin Viruet. It was the 54th fight of Duran’s epic career, which would span 119 bouts – including 70 knockout victories – over 33 years.
In 1976, George Foreman and Joe Frazier came to the Coliseum for their second bout. Foreman defeated Frazier by knockout for the second time and Frazier – who had lost the Thrilla in Manila to Ali the previous year – retired from the ring, returning to fight just once more five years later. Within a year of his win over Frazier, Foreman retired as well, only to return a decade later for a second act that would see him reclaim the WBA world heavyweight title that he previously won in his first victory over Frazier.
Long Island’s own Gerry Cooney made his only appearance at the Coliseum on October 24, 1980 as momentum built toward his shot at the world heavyweight title. The Huntington-raised Cooney knocked out Ron Lyle in the first round, and would go on to do the same to former champ Ken Norton a few months later before battling Larry Holmes into the 13th round of a WBC championship fight in 1982.
In the next-to-last fight card at the Coliseum, former middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo defeated Marcus Starks with a fourth-round knockout.
Beginning July 15, a new era of championship boxing on Long Island begins.