Big-time boxing has landed in Kansas thanks to Nico Hernandez – and the local star will prove tonight that he was born to perform on the biggest stage when he faces Josue Morales in his sixth pro outing at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, KS, live on DAZN.
Hernandez became a household name in his home state after landing bronze in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and after turning pro, he’s raced to 5-0 with four wins inside the distance.
The Wichita native has drawn big crowds in all those fights, and that caught the eye of Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, who decided to move tonight’s card from Atlantic City to Kansas to shine a spotlight on the 22 year old.
Hernandez insists that he won’t be fazed by being part of a bill that includes his Rio teammate Claressa Shields – as the big stage is exactly where the Flyweight talent belongs.
“Kansas has never seen anything like this before,” said Hernandez, who weighed 112.4lbs, with Morales scaling 113lbs. “There is pressure, but not really. Everyone is coming to watch me do my thing and all I’ve got to do is perform like I always do.
“To have them come all the way here because of me, that’s really an amazing feeling. I’m blessed to have this happen and to have this chance to show out in front of the world.
“The support and fan base I have is unreal and I’m forever grateful. That’s another reason I pour my heart and soul into the gym. I want to give them something to be proud of. I can’t really take all the credit for the crowds, I have a great team behind me, my father, John Anderson, my sponsors, family, teammates and local media have all been part of the success.
“The Rio team want the best for one another. I came and watched Shakur (Stevenson) on Crawford’s card, once he found out about this card, he texted me and said that he’s coming to support me and Claressa. Than earlier in the week Karlos (Balderas) said he’s making the trip too. It’s going to be like a reunion
“I have been on the big stage during the Olympics. Me and Shakur both were highly publicized. One time we even did mits at Time Squares in New York as part of the promotion building up to the Olympics. The experience I talk about wasn’t just boxing related, it’s everything.
“I have felt pressure, fought in front of enormous crowds, tough crowds, been the favorite, been the underdog too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed and honored to be on a card such as this but to be honest, I belong at this level. On Saturday night I will prove it one again.”
Hernandez’s clash with Morales is part of a massive night of action in Kansas in association with KO Night Boxing with a host of stars and local talents in action.
Brooklyn’s Heavyweight star Jarrell Miller meets fellow unbeaten big-hitter Bogdan Dinu in a crunch clash at the top level of the division, while chief-support provided by the brilliant two-weight World ruler Claressa Shields who looks to add the WBC Middleweight strap to her WBA and IBF crowns against tough Scottish challenger Hannah Rankin.
There’s an all-Mexican clash and a homecoming for Brandon Rios against Ramon Alvarez, brother of ‘Canelo’’, as both men look to make a splash at Welterweight.
Unbeaten Wichita Super-Middleweight and police officer Manny Thompson looks to improve his 7-0 record and Las Vegas’ Jeremy Nichols meets Wichita’s Jeremiah Page at Middleweight.
Unbeaten contender Anthony Sims Jr. makes a move to Super-Middleweight and Brooklyn’s exciting newcomer to the Middleweight scene Nikita Ababiy, fresh from a first round KO on debut in Chicago earlier in the month, is also in action.
DOORS OPEN AT 5PM
5.05pm 8 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
Jeremy Nichols 155.4lbs vs Jeremiah Page 159.4lbs
Las Vegas Kansas
4 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
Nikita Ababiy 159.4lbs vs Javier Rodriguez 154.4lbs
8 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
Anthony Sims Jr. 170.4lbs vs Colby Courter
12 x 3 mins NABF Middleweight Title
Luis Arias 159.4lbs vs Gabe Rosado 158.2lbs
12 x 3 mins Junior Middleweight contest
Brandon Rios 151.4lbs vs Ramon Alvarez 151.4lbs
8 x 3 mins – Flyweight contest
Nico Hernandez 112.4lbs vs Josue Morales 113lbs (after reweighing and losing 6oz)
10 x 2 mins IBF, WBA and vacant WBC World Middleweight Championships
Claressa Shields 159.6lbs vs Hannah Rankin 158.6lbs
12 x 3 mins Heavyweight Contest
Jarrell Miller 315.4lbs vs Bogdan Dinu 237.4lbs
6 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
Manny Thompson 173.4lbs vs Leroy Jones
Wichita St. Louis