Avery Sparrow is one of the fastest-rising stars in boxing. After only 12 pro fights, he is ranked No. 13 in the world among junior lightweights (130 pounds) by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 27 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).
The 25-year-old Philadelphian scored his biggest win March 15 when he scored a pair of knockdowns in the second round on his way to a 10-round decision over fellow-Philadelphian and former world-title challenger Hank Lundy at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University.
Sparrow's other major victory came Nov. 30, 2017, when he upset Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, of Puerto Rico, at a time when Lopez was ranked No. 5 in the world by the WBO. To add to this success, Sparrow accepted the fight on 11 days’ notice and did it on the road in Oxon Hill, MD, in a fight televised by ESPN.
The win over Lopez capped a brilliant 2017 for Sparrow, who also defeated crosstown rival Anthony Burgin and two undefeated opponents, Isaelin Floridan, of the Dominican Republic, and Joey LaViolette, of Canada.
Sparrow's pro record is 10-1-1, 3 K0s.
Junior middleweight Roque Zapata
Heavyweight Joel Caudle has the talent and the hand speed to make inroads in the division. Not afraid of stern opposition, he already has been tested, having scored an impressive eight-round decision last October over Kimdo Bethel Boykin (11-1-1 at the time) in Washington, DC.
A pro since 2015, Caudle is 8-2-3, 5 K0s. He was held to a draw by unbeaten Niall Kennedy in June, 2018, in Kennedy's friendly backyard of Gilford, NH. Caudle did stumble in his last fight, losing on points after six rounds to unbeaten lefty Johnnie Langston, of Sarasota, FL. That spoiled Caudle's homecoming in Charlotte, NC.
Caudle has been in there with Joe Hanks and Stephan Shaw. He also boxed a draw with unbeaten Colby Madison.
One of boxing's most colorful figures, 33-year-old Rosado simply won't go away. A pro since 2006, Rosado remains among the sport's most interesting middleweights and is coming off two controversial fights. What else is new?
Last November, he was held to a disputed 10-round draw by Luis Arias in a DAZN-televised fight in Mulvane, KS. Nearly everyone at ringside and those watching on TV had Rosado as the victor.
In his last fight March 15 at the Liacouras Centyer on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, Rosado came back from the dead to score a pair of ninth-round knockdowns over Maciej Sulecki, of Poland. Sulecki turned his back on the second knockdown and the referee could have stopped the fight...but he did not. The bell saved Sulecki, who made it through the 10th and final round to get the decision victory.
Now 24-12-1, 14 K0s, Rosado remains on everyone's radar. He has beaten Jesus Soto-Karass, Sechew Powell, Charles Whittaker abnd Glen Tapia and he is a two-time world-title challenger, having lost to Gennady Golovkin (WBA) and Peter Quillen (WBO) in championship challenges. He is ranked No. 17 by the WBC at 160 pounds.
Rosado spends his time between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, where he owns several rental tal propertierties. He recently opened a gym there.
A pro since 2011, Jenkins, a junior middleweight, continues to look for that breakthrough win he needs to get his career back on track, having lost five of his last six fights--all against solid opposition.
The 32-year-old North Philadelphian is 10-6, 3 K0s. His best win came in 2014 when he knocked out Jeremy Trussel, of Baltimore, MD, in two rounds at the 2300 Arena.
He is managed and trained by his dad, Fred Jenkins, Sr, a member of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
FRED JENKINS, JR
Junior lightweight contender Jason Sosa jumped back into the world title picture with a pair of victories within the last year. He registered a one-sided eight-round decision over Reynaldo Blanco, of the Dominican Republic, on Aug. 18, 2018, at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, then he exchanged knockdowns with Moises Delgadillo, of Mexico, en route to a 10-round victory last Jan. 18 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.
Sosa, 31, rose to No. 5 in the 130-pound rankings of the World Boxing Council (WBC) based on those two victories. His record is 22-3-4, 15 K0s.
The two wins came after a disappointing 2017 for Sosa. He dropped a disputed 10-round majority decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa, of Cuba, on Nov. 25, 2017, in Madison Square Garden. Earlier in 2017, Sosa was stopped in nine rounds by Vasyl Lomachenko, of the Ukraine, for the latter's WBO world title. Sosa won rounds one and three, but could not contain Lomachenko, considered boxing's best.
Sosa won the WBA title in 2016 when he knocked out defending champ Javier Fortuna, of the Dominican Republic, in the 11th round in Beijing, China. He defended the title later in 2016 in Monte Carlo with a unanimous 12-round decision over Stephen Smith, of England.
This 35-year-old Haitian junior welterweight is one of boxing’s most colorful figures. A pro since 2009, Charles always can be counted on for entertainment despite his deceiving 13-19-1 record. In his last fight June 15 at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, Charles earned a four-round decision over third-time rival Laquan Lewis, of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to that, on Feb. 8 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, Charles lost a four-round majority decision to Gerardo Martinez, of Coatesville, PA. Charles’ four-fight series with Philadelphia’s Victor Vasquez stands at 2-2 and Charles would love to have a fifth and deciding contest.
When he is not training or fighting, Charles works at the Cedar Food Market in his Atlantic City, NJ, hometown. He makes the best subs in town, according to his favorite promoter, J Russell Peltz.
Charles is managed by Arnold Robbins and trained by Bill Johnson Those two, plus assistant Donnell Parker, have been together since Charles was an amateur.
This 31-year-old welterweight from North Philadelphia works as a foreman for Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) in between his training and his fights. He turned pro late in 2016 in order to provide a better future for his young son. Rivers is 7-1, 4 K0s, and he is managed and trained by Fred Jenkins, Sr., and Julius Goldsmith. In his last fight June 15 at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, Rivers was surprisingly stopped in two rounds by Evincii Dixon, of Lancaster, PA. Prior to that, on Feb. 8 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, Rivers scored his best win, a six-round decision over previously unbeaten lefty Derrick Whitley, Jr., of Springfield, MA. Rivers also has defeated Jamal Gregory, of Durham, NC, and Osnel Charles, of Atlantic City, NJ.
Gerardo Martinez, a 23-year-old lightweight, migrated from Mexico City to Philadelphia when he was 3 and has been here since and has obtained his legal residency. He currently resides in Coatesville, PA.
Martinez graduated from Delaware County Community College with an Associates Degree in Business Administration and he owns a small landscaping business. He also works as a trainer at the Title Boxing Club in Malvern, PA. He turned to boxing when he was 19 after an accident on the field ended his promising soccer career. He was a D1 soccer player.
Martinez is 4-1 as a pro, having scored a four-round decision over Nyrome Lynch, of North Philadelphia, last June 29 at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, and a four-round decision over Osnel Charles, of Atlantic City, on Feb. 8 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.