The fans were packed to the rafters for DiBella Entertainment's, "Broadway Boxing," card, even though the event wasn't held on the normal Thursday night.
Peppered in the crowd on this night were heavyweight champ Shannon Briggs and local fighters Dmitriy Salita, Elvir Muriqi, Iran "The Blade" Barkley, Maureen Shea and Emile Griffith.
As the night began, Muriqi was asked which fight he looked forward to, he replied, "I'm going to enjoy watching Curtis Stevens in this rematch and my friend (Edgar) Santana and I'm actually excited to see the rematch with Stevens and to see how he's going to react after losing his first fight."
Muriqi, known as the "Kosovo Kid", told FightNews he will appear at the newly refurbished Paradise Theater on December 8, in the Bronx, where he now resides in the section known as Riverdale. No opponent has been named, but when he last fought near his home, back on March 19, 2003, America started dropping bombs on Iraq and Tiwon Taylor left the Villa Barone Manor on a stretcher after three rounds.
As headliner Edgar Santana was pounding Meacher Major into an early submission, Iran Barkley was explaining, "This is the guy we came to check out... he's doing good," Barkley's commentary was interrupted by Major's early trip to the canvas.
David Salita, the hot, young and practicing Jew from the DiBella Entertainment stable said of Stevens' victory, "I thought it was an exciting fight and it’s good that Curtis put that hurdle behind him and now he's on the track to bigger and better things."
Asked what's next for him, Salita stated, "We're discussing a possible HBO Boxing after Dark date, so we'll see what's going to happen." Asked about an opponent, Salita responded, "I'm not sure yet, bet we should know shortly, the fight is scheduled for February."
Former champ and the newest trainer at the famed Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, Joey Gamache was also enjoying the action at ringside, and was particularly impressed with Noriko Kariya of Jersey City, who was given a unanimous decision over Elisha Olivas of Denver, Colorado.
Gamache recalled, "She had good, good fundamental skills, she did some good things, especially considering that she's a girl. For me, I thought she showed good lateral movement, a nice dip and a hook." Gamache was asked who he was training and laughed, "No one in particular that I could give you a name and say, 'Hey, we know him.'"
We caught up to Shannon Briggs as the champ was waiting for his car at the garage next door to the Manhattan Center. Briggs said of Stevens, "I was very impressed with Curtis, man, a great fighter. He's defiantly going to be champion real soon."
Briggs continued his praise for Stevens, adding, "For a young fighter he's very poised. He stayed strong throughout, and this guy was a veteran. He put on a lot of pressure and tried to get him out of his game plan, but he stuck to his plan."
Briggs said of his own career, "Hopefully I'll be fighting (Wladimir) Klitschko," but any of the other champs will do.
Asked about his asthma, Briggs stated, "I've been fighting with it my whole career and nobody wants to give me credit for it. You know, I'm fighting with asthma and I'm beating these guys. Imagine if I didn't have it, I'd be the greatest fighter of all time."