At a recent Peltz Boxing and BAM Boxing Promotions show on December 2nd appeared a pair of outstanding Latino prospects at the 2300 Arena making their professional debuts. They actually stole the show in this writer’s opinion.
From Allentown, PA, the 17 year-old super featherweight Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno, 1-0 (1), made his debut that night stopping Guy Newman, 0-1 (0), of Lynchburg, VA, at 1:47 of the first round. He is co-managed and co-trained by his father Anibal and well known west coast trainer Robert Garcia while being promoted by Top Rank. That is some resume in itself! Garcia said “My son, Robert, Jr., told me about this kid. Some of my friends from An Antonio had seen him fight in the Junior Olympics and they told my son, ‘You’ve got to check out this kid, Joseph Adorno.”
Top Rank’s Lee Samuels supplied the following as the promoter of Adorno: Most of the kids I manage and train are Mexican or Mexican-American, and Robert told me this kid is Puerto Rican. We’re not too familiar with their culture but I said, ‘Let’s check him out.’ Robert showed me some videos, and man, this kids got that Mexican style!
I told Robert, ‘You’ve got to start reaching out to him and see if they want to meet us.’ The kid and his dad were very happy that we reached out to them. I was in San Antonio a few months ago and I met them there. I flew them in and met his mom and dad, and it started there. I’m Joseph’s co-manager and co-trainer with his dad.
“We brought him to my gym in Riverside and he sparred. He did really good. The Top Rank matchmakers, Bruce Trampler and Brad Goodman, saw Joseph spar and said that he looks like a young Miguel Cotto – you know, coming forward, side-to-side, with a beautiful left hook to the body. Man, that’s a good compliment!
“He’s got a bright future – he’s dedicated. His father is with him 24/7, and they’re humble, down-to-earth. The plan is for him to finish high school first. He’ll graduate next June. Once he graduates, we’ll do our training camps at my gym in Riverside, California.”
Joseph said, “I got to know Robert Garcia through Instagram. It was this last summer, around June, July. I post a lot of videos and stuff, like every day that I train. I guess Robert’s son seen it and was like, ‘Yo dad, look at this!’ They got on Instagram and started talking to me and we met up.”
“I went to Robert’s gym and sparred. I was there for a week. At home, I train at the Allentown International Gym. I can do it all in the ring, but my main plan is to stay calm, use my jab and a lot of hard combinations. If I have to box, I box. If I have to go get the fight, I go get the fight,” said Adorno.
“Robert Garcia is going to be in my corner with my dad. It’s going to be a great experience – something we’ve never had in the corner. They used to call me ‘Kid Sensation’ until I was 15. But now my name is ‘Blessed Hands.'”
On his amateur, personal background Joseph said, “I was born in Union City, NJ, but at age one I was raised in Puerto Rico moving to Allentown at 10. I have four brothers and one sister. I’m the oldest, then it’s my little brother Jeremy – he’s 15, he boxes. Then my other little brother is 10, he boxes, too. His name is Jayion.”
Adorno had 200 amateur fights – 178 wins and 22 losses with 65 knockouts. His experience started back in 2012 at the Ringside World’s in Kansas City, MO, a 110 pounder in the 13-14 year-old division and was the Gold Medalist. In the same tournament in 2014 he was the Silver Medalist. In the 2015 USA Junior National’s in Reno at 125 pounds he was a Bronze Medalist. Also that year he won the Eastern PA Silver Gloves at 132 pounds. Also the Junior Olympic and Prep Nationals in Charleston, W.V. at 125 pounds he won the Gold medal. In 2016 he won the PA Golden gloves in Harrisburg, PA. At the Nationals in Salt Lake City, UT, he was a Bronze Medalist.
Adorno is scheduled to fight February 3rd in San Juan, PR, and March 10th at the 2300 Arena in South Philly for promoter’s Peltz Boxing and BAM Boxing.
One of the other boxers who debuted at the same night was Victor Padilla, 1-0 (1), from Puerto Rico, now living in Berlin, NJ, and is 18 and a lightweight. He stopped Kimmy St. Pierre, 1-2, from Quebec, CAN, at 0:59 of the second round. He is trained by Raul “Chino” Rivas who also trains WBA super featherweight champion Jason Sosa. Rivas is very high on Padilla. He is scheduled to fight March 10th at 2300 Arena in South Philly for promoter’s Peltz Boxing and BAM Boxing.
Out of Philadelphia is 17 year-old Branden Pizarro, 2-0 (1), a lightweight who is trained by his father Angel at Frank Kuback’s Front Street Gym in North Philadelphia.
Branden said “my dad, got me into the sport of boxing. My older brother Angel fought and I had some cousins who also boxed, so I quickly became interested in boxing.” It was not all good for Branden, as he started his amateur career at 0-5, but he stuck with it and his talents soared. The speed and power was there for him and he began to run rampant through the ranks of national and international competitions. He eventually earned the number one rating at 141 pounds in the youth men’s division. The championships and awards came quickly. He won the Ringside tournament four straight years. In 2015 he was Junior Olympic Silver Medalist and Silver Medalist at US Junior Nationalists. The talented Philadelphian recently captured the Gold Medal at the Junior Olympics in July. He was slated to compete with Team USA at the world tournament in Russia, but decided the time to turn professional and felt that Hard Hitting Promotions was just the perfect fit. He finished his amateur career at 65-7.
Branden turned professional on October 28th at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia knocking out Ezeqiuel Occasion in 0:39 of the first round. In his second bout on December 16th at the same facility he won a shutout four round decision over Jesus Lule, 9-19-1, who has been in with very tough competition. The skies the limit for Branden, who has all the talent and dedication to reach the highest levels of the sport. Hard Hitting Promotions with Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz have promoted Branden’s fights. He is scheduled on February 3rd to return to the SugarHouse Casino in Philly.
The third Latino is Puerto Rico’s 18 year-old southpaw Victor “The Bull” Padilla, 1-0 (1), out of Berlin, NJ, at lightweight. He made his debut on the same card as Adorno in December. He scored a knockout at 0:59 of the second round. He is scheduled to fight in Philly at the SugarHouse Casino, on February 3rd and at the 2300 Arena in Philly March 10th. He trains out of Dream Team Boxing Academy in Runnemede, NJ, under the guidance of manager/trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas who owns the gym and who is very high on Padilla. “I also train (WBA Super featherweight champion) Jason “El Canito” Sosa and (WBC No. 3 contender) Tevin “American Idol” Farmer. Them and Victor are teammates, and we’re all like family,” said Rivas.
“I’ve been training Victor since he was 15. He’s been living with me in Berlin, NJ, since he turned 18 in November. He was living with his mother in Camden before that, but she didn’t want him to stay there,” said Rivas. Padilla was born in Vieques, PR, and was adopted when he was one year-old. He and his mother moved to Camden when he was 14. “My adoptive dad used to box amateur, but he never turned pro. All of my brothers boxed, too, but I was the only one that stuck with it,” said Padilla.
In 2016 Padilla was the Gold Medalist in the Bert Sugar Title Belt National Championships, in Columbus, GA, at 141. From there he went to Kissimmee, FL, and was Gold Medalist, won “Outstanding Boxer Award”. “They’re new and are sanctioned by USA Boxing. There were over 400 kids there – they’re bigger than the Golden Gloves Nationals,” said Rivas. Padilla fought amateur in PR before coming to the US. “I had close to 100 amateur fights, with five losses. I boxed every weekend, but since I was so young I didn’t do big tournaments until later,” said Padilla.
While Rivas was out of the country with Sosa Padilla fought in the 2016 U.S. Youth National Championships, in Reno, NV, at 132, on January 15th, 2016. In his first bout he defeated Pedro Cruz by 3-0. In his second bout he lost by walkover because he didn’t make weight to Adan Ochoa. In the 2015 National Golden Gloves Championships, in Las Vegas, NV, May 12th he lost to Malik Montgomery at 132. “I’m naturally right handed, but when I started boxing it was just more comfortable to fight left handed. It was a lot easier,” said Padilla.
These are three highly talented Latino boxers who have a big fan base appearing at their fights. They are a promoters dream with so many Puerto Ricans filling up the arenas in Philly.