ATLANTIC CITY — Pleasantville welterweight Anthony Young hopes this is the year he establishes himself as a contender.
Young (19-2, 6 KOs) will try to take the first step Saturday night at Showboat Atlantic City, when he faces Juan Rodriguez Jr. (13-5, 6 KOs), of Union City, for the vacant New Jersey state welterweight title.
Young, 31, has won eight straight but fought only once in 2018, earning a six-round decision over Donald Ward (10-8-1) in Virginia last September.
“I have to be more active,” Young said. “I’m not getting any younger, and the window of opportunity is only going to be open for me for another year or two. I need to have three or four fights this year and hopefully set myself up for a big fight.”
Young, a former football standout at Pleasantville High School, and Rodriguez will vie for a state title belt that was formerly held by Millville’s Thomas LaManna (27-2-1, 9 KOs), who now competes at junior-middleweight. LaManna is tentatively scheduled to face former International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) on June 1 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Millville-based Rising Star Promotions and the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame reintroduced the state titles last year. Current state champions include Toms River’s Chris Thomas (middleweight), Atlantic City’s DeCarlo Perez (super-middleweight) and Mays Landing’s Quian Davis (heavyweight).
“It’s a nice strap to have,” Young said. “I don’t know how significant it is, but it’s something that will be nice to put around my waist.”
Davis and Thomas will fight nontitle bouts at Showboat on Saturday.
Davis (5-0-2, 2 KOs), a former football and baseball player at Buena Regional, will face Larry Knight (3-17-1, 1 KO), of Birmingham, Georgia, in a four-round bout. Thomas (11-0-1, 7 KOs) will meet Joe Hughes (6-1, 4 KOs), of Indianapolis, in a six-rounder.
Saturday’s 10-round main event will feature Paulsboro heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon (37-3, 28 KOs) against Panamanian Santander Silgado (28-6, 22 KOs).
Six other bouts are scheduled, including a six-round super-middleweight contest between Atlantic City’s Gabriel Pham (9-1, 4 KOs) and Colombia’s Ronald Montes (18-11, 16 KOs).
Showboat doors for the fight will open at 6:30 p.m. with the first fight scheduled for 7. Tickets range from $55 to $125 and are available through rspboxing.com and at the door.