By Robert Coster
It has been a very special year for Star Boxing, the New York-based promotional company, with two world champions with national TV coverage. Star Boxing is on a roll with Chris Algieri’s upset victory over Ruslan Provodnikov and Demetrius Andrade, its other young champion, who appears destined to boxing stardom. Fightnews sat down with Star Boxing’s president and founder Joe DeGuardia who talked to us about the history of Star Boxing, from the difficult and humble beginnings of the company to its present success and what lays ahead.
While it is not our first champions, and we have had some really special moments in the past (i.e. Tarver beating Roy Jones), this certainly was a first in many respects. In addition having our two fighters winning/defending the world championship in the same night, the feeling of having Demetrius Andrade show himself to be as talented as he is and then have Chris Algieri shock the boxing world with his amazing performance was priceless.
Very few fighters survive like Algieri did after the first round. Chris’ eye was grotesquely swollen. The Doctor didn’t mention stopping the fight?
The New York State Athletic Commission had an extremely qualified and experienced doctor working the corner and fortunately the fight continued and our sport was rewarded with a fantastic night.
The strategy used by Algieri against Provodnikov — was it the result of hard work and strategy before the fight?
Certainly. Chris and his trainers worked very hard at establishing his game plan and all of his hard work, strategy, mental toughness, composure and technical skill came together to produce a victory.
Let’s talk about Star Boxing—it’s history, its beginning, its champions. With boxers like Algieri and Andrade holding world title, do you feel that you are reaping the fruits of hard work and perseverance?
I am proud that we’ve been promoting consistently since 1993 and are the longest running, most consistent boxing promoters in New York. We pride ourselves on developing boxers and putting on sensational boxing shows. Therefore it certainly rewarding that we currently have two world champions who are so highly regarded and have such tremendous success on June 14 at the Barclay’s Center on HBO. Certainly, our success is the result of hard work and perseverance, just as the success of our athletes also requires the same characteristics– hard work and perseverance.
Looking back as a promoter, can you talk about the bad moments, the hard times and the frustrations? You’ve had the case, for example, of Delvin Rodriguez fighting a draw in South Africa, a world title that should have been won?
Certainly we have had our share of bad decisions and tough breaks. Boxing is a difficult business that requires the same perseverance, determination and grit outside the ring as it does for the combatants inside the ring. However I grew up in a boxing family, (father and uncles were professional boxers) and I was personally in the boxing gym every day sparring from the time I was six years old until I graduated law school (DeGuardia was a NY Open Class Golden Gloves Champion in 1988). One thing I learned from that background is that life is going to throw a lot of ‘punches’ at you, the key is to learn to avoid them when you can, and if they do hit you, make sure you get back up.
What other young boxers do you have coming up that could bring yet another world title to Star Boxing?
We have a whole bunch of fighters that have the capability of being world champions. We seem to be on a roll, have had some nice big upset wins (i.e. Algieri and a month before Joshua Clottey beating Anthony Mundine in Australia). I think the future will only be brighter for us at Star Boxing and I am confident that we will continue to provide opportunities for our fighters.
What are the plans in store for Andrade and Algieri?
For both, the plan is to fight the biggest and best out there — for Algieri that means trying to land a shot against Manny Pacqauio and for Demetrius, it is trying to lure any big name in the ring with him.
Joe, you had a terrible car accident that you miraculously survived two years ago. Looking back at then and now, what comes to your mind?
Looking back at that accident it solidifies the way I’ve been living my life since — enjoy each day, appreciate everything about life, and take nothing for granted— seeing the sun every new morning is a blessing.
What qualities must a successful boxing promoter have?
Determination, hard work ethic, grit, intelligence, common sense, people skills, steel nerves, and a whole host of other things. Certainly, being in the business as long as I have, I recognize and appreciate the efforts needed to succeed as a boxing promoter.