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Scotch Plains/Fanwood — Scotch Plains/Fanwood Top Stories

Local “Rocky” Set to Make Boxing Comeback

Bryan C. Kuriawa

Thursday, February 14, 2013 • 11:00am

Fanwood, NJ, February 14, 2013 -  Local resident and boxing champ Emmanuel Nwodo, after a two year absence from the boxing world, is returning  once more to the ring for a comeback fight in April  of 2013.

Born on March 19th 1974, Nwodo initially began his boxing career in his home country of Nigeria in March of 1998 against heavyweight James Omondi.  The bout was very close throughout, yet he won a unanimous decision. His subsequent matches during the same year proved even more eventful with Nwodo winning two bouts by knockouts. With the exception of three losses, Nwodo proved similarly effective in his numerous matches, cited for his swift quickness and frequent knockouts.

Despite losing his first international match in 2002 against Richel Hersisia, Nwodo demonstrated his skill against Tyrone Tate with a convincing knockout in August 2004 at the P.A. Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He fought and defeated former IBF World champion Imamu Mayfield in the same year. Overall, he scored 5 wins, 4 being straight knock-out wins in 2004.This earned him the chance to fight and subsequently knock out former USBC cruiserweight champion Rayco Saunders in 2005, even though he was suffering from a broken hand.

By 2006, Nwodo had successfully defeated eight opponents in the United States, yet with his July 1st bout in Springfield, Virginia, he again hit a new high.  In a match against IBF’s USBA champion Chris Thomas, Nwodo won the USBA Title, currently known as the United States Boxing Association Title.

Nwodo consequently became the reigning USBA cruiserweight champion after a third-round knock-out win.   At this point, he was ranked No. 3 in the World cruiserweight division. However, none of the contenders in the rankings were willing to risk fighting him for the USBA title.

After one year, a boxer with a reputation for fighting dirty named Daniel Wilson finally stepped forward to challenge him for the title. This became one of the most exciting fights for boxing fans, earning the title ‘Fight of the Year’ in ESPN magazine in 2007. Nwodo fought well and hard, but suffered a fractured eye socket in the 2nd round. He never threw in the towel, winning up to the 11th round while injured. Unfortunately, he suffered a devastating loss in the 12th and final round, losing the title to Wilson.

Nwodo made a come-back in 2008 after a medical leave, in a televised Showtime bout in Madison Square Garden, against former IBO World Champion Ezra Serleis. He won by an impressive 2nd round knock-out.

In August of 2009, after a victory against Lenzie Morgan, Nwodo departed from his boxing career. After a two year departure, Nwodo surprised fans with a return match against Gary Lavender in Washington D.C.’s Star Night Club in October of 2011. In a triumphant victory, Nwodo won against his opponent in a unanimous decision. The following May, he managed a similar victory over Michael Shanks at the Derby Park Expo in Louisville, Kentucky.  This one was a 1st round knock-out, only a few minutes into the fight.

Now, at the age of 39, with great anticipation, Nwodo has been selected to participate in the first ever $500,000 American Heavyweight Box-Off. Created by promoter Don Elbaum and financial manager Greg Sorrentino, the tournament will take place in April once a site is determined, with varying prizes going to the winners of the three successive bouts. The final prize of $250,000 goes to the overall box-off champion. In a press release to the staff of FightNetwork.com concerning the upcoming match, Nwodo seems quite energetic and prepared for any potential challenges.

“I’m so glad I’m in the tournament and can’t wait,” Nwodo said. “This is something new in the heavyweight division, it’s awesome. We’ll all show our best, this is an opportunity to prove ourselves and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

With the tournament tentatively scheduled for April, fans should prepare for an entertaining evening of quality boxing and the grand return of a boxer striving to recapture the glory of his former days in the ring.

 

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