Thursday, September 25, 2008

Demetrius Andrade Excited About Turning Pro

Here is the story, via The Providence Journal:

Demetrius Andrade closed one chapter of his boxing career in Beijing when the Providence welterweight lost a controversial, 11-9, quarterfinal bout to South Korea’s Kim Jung-Joo at the Summer Olympics.

On Sept. 6 he began writing another chapter when the 20-year-old world champion announced that he was turning pro. He signed a multiyear promotional undisclosed six-figure agreement with Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing.

Pelullo and DeGuardia say that Andrade is the world’s best boxer turning pro this year.

Yesterday at a news conference at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Andrade said that his first professional fight will be Oct. 23 in Airway Heights, Wash., on a nationally televised card headlined by the vacant featherweight title bout between Orlando Salido and Cristobal Cruz.

“It means the world to me,” Andrade said. “… It’s just another stepping stone in my life. Going to the Olympics was my dream. I always knew eventually I was going to turn pro, get all of the belts, and that’s just another dream I have and now I have to accomplish that dream.”

Andrade, who trains at 401 Boxing Gym in Cranston, said that he doesn’t know who he is fighting, but he is excited about making his pro debut on the Versus network.

“I’m going to go out there and I’m going to give [my fans] what they want,” Andrade said.

“It’s a big day,” Andrade’s father, manager, and co-coach Paul Andrade said. “It’s great that people are going to get to see him early [in his career]. A lot of people have already seen him at the Olympics and we are going to keep that going by going on TV shows and fighting on TV. We plan on coming to Providence and doing a real big show for our fans in Providence next. This is our hometown and we love everybody here.”

Andrade has been an exciting amateur, having won two national titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, and a world title in the 152-pound weight class.

For those achievements, along with representing the United States at the 2008 Olympics, Andrade was given several citations yesterday, from Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts, and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline who declared yesterday to be “Demetrius Andrade Day.”

“This is an incredibly proud day for this city,” Cicilline said.

Being a pro boxer was a goal that Andrade dreamed about when he first started boxing at 6-years-old.

“We’ve been waiting for this for 14 years,” Paul Andrade said. “We’ve spent a lot of hours in that gym.”

“This is something that we’ve always spoken about for years and years,” Andrade’s co-coach David Keefe said. “We talked about doing this the right way. We’ve got two great promoters and we’ve got a great racehorse in Demetrius.”

Andrade said that he doesn’t think he’ll have to adjust much from the amateur style to the pros.

“There is no headgear so you have to watch out for the head butts and the elbows,” Keefe said. “The rounds are a [minute] longer. We’ll iron out the kinks and he’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of making a few adjustments.”

Pelullo and DeGuardia believe that Andrade can become a bigger icon and ambassador for the sport than boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, who has built his own promotions company.

“If you look at what Oscar De La Hoya did and how he built an enterprise and how he made so much money, I think that Demetrius can surpass that ten fold,” Pelullo said. “I think that the world is changing. The market is changing. With the advent of the Internet, so many more people will be able to watch him so I think that we can’t even imagine the possibilities that he can reach.”

“We don’t expect a champion only,” DeGuardia said. “We don’t expect a multi-champion only. We expect a superstar.”

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