If you're a boxing fan, you want to be in downtown Albany on Saturday, Feb. 4.


Boxing returns to the Times Union Center, with two title bouts for fans to enjoy, in the card KO at the TU.

Headlining the card is the IBA World Title Bout, between Joe "The Future" Hanks (18-0) and Rafeal " The Cuban-Cajun Giant" Pedro (21-9-1).

Hanks has been billed as the next big heavyweight.

"Those are the kinds of fights I want to show," said Star Boxing's Joe DeGuardia.

Fans who are in attendance for the event, will be asked to stay for filming to be extra's in a boxing film, "The Challenger."

"Now that the Times Union Center has become a New York State Qualified Film Production Facility, we're thrilled to start utilizing the arena for movie productions," said Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber.

The other title fight -- for the WBO Intercontinental World Title Bout -- will pit bantamweights Sahib Usarov (17-0) against Yan Barthelemy (12-2).

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the first bell scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster, the Times Union Center box office or starboxing.com. Tickets are valued from $30-$75.

"Our real goal is to create an event and have people be part of a major event," said DeGuardia.

DeGuardia said that tickets are selling well and he hopes for a big crowd downtown, as they try to bring world class boxing back to Albany.

"I'm excited about the card," he said.

Kevin Rooney Jr. (Catskill) and Bryan Abraham (Schenectady), who both have local ties, also have bouts scheduled for the card, which currently has five bouts, but additional ones will be announced.

Rooney's father of the same name was the main trainer for Mike Tyson.

Star Boxing believes that the bout will be very successful and that people in the Capital District will come out to see quality boxing on display.

"Albany is a boxing-type town," DeGuardia said. "It's a hard-working area."


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