Sunset Park, Brooklyn Boxer Julian Sosa Continues Torrid Fighting Pace With Win On Coney Island


Julian Sosa after his victory on Sunday on Coney Island.

Professional boxer Julian Sosa is busier than your average 20-year-old.

Sosa, a welterweight from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has fought seven times since turning professional approximately a year and a half ago, including his impressive, unanimous six-round decision over Rene Marquez (5-2, KOs) Sunday at the Ford Amphitheater on Coney Island.

Though training and fighting don’t leave much time for the typical youthful shenanigans, Sosa (6-0-1, 2 KOs) doesn’t mind putting in the necessary long hours to reach his championship aspiration—something, he said, that’s gradually taking shape.

“It is a lot of work, a lot of sacrifices,” Sosa said. “But I’m willing to make those sacrifices because I have a vision. I have a dream, and nothing comes easy in life. So, I know I have to work for what I want. I’m glad everything is slowly starting to become a reality.”

The Sosa camp, comprised of his father/trainer Aureliano, his uncle Eusebio, and his strength and conditioning coach Hugh, set fourth a strategy in which the young pugilist would strike from the outside, as to avoid Marquez’s interior fighting style. Sosa said it worked like a charm.


Julian Sosa gets ready to go in for more action Sunday on Coney Island.

While Sosa is usually ready to jump right back into the mix and start preparing for his next bout almost immediately, he said he’ll savor the sweet victory for the time being.

“As of right know, I just want to embrace this moment,” he said. “This (upcoming break) is only temporary. I want to celebrate with my family, and once the next week hits, I’ll be back in the gym, back to the drawing board. Whenever the next fight presents itself, I’ll be ready.”

Sosa and Marquez’s fight was part of the undercard to the Errol Spence Jr.—Lenard Bundu 12-round IBF Welterweight World Title Eliminator — won by Spence — as well as the Heather Hardy-Shelly Vincent 10-round WBC International Women’s Featherweight Championship, claimed by Hardy, on NBCSN.

By Jerry Del Priore


Heather Hardy Hopes To Take Next Step After Unanimous Win

By Jerry Del Priore


Heather “The Heat” Hardy runs her record to 17-0 after beating Kirsti Simmons last night at the Barclays Center!!

If you ask Heather “The Heat” Hardy, she’ll be the first to tell you that she deserves her due after she defeated Kirstie Simmons (8-1, 2 KOs) with a unanimous decision in an eight-round Super Bantamweight bout Saturday night at the Barclays Center.

It was part of the undercard of the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter World Boxing Association World Welterweight (WBA) main event title fight, which Thurman won on points.

“I’m ready for a world title shot,” Hardy told the media with the utmost conviction following her fight. “I mean, come on, enough is enough. It’s time.”

Hardy (17-0, 4 KOs), although not devastatingly overpowering in the match by her own standards, felt she captured all eight rounds.

“From one to ten, maybe like a seven,” the five-foot-five spitfire said when asked to rate her performance. “It took me like two rounds to just loosen up and find my (striking) distance. And I was really unhappy with the end of the fight. Other than that, I know I won all the rounds, but I know I could’ve done better.”

Nevertheless, Hardy, who is a popular draw, especially in her hometown of Brooklyn, has beaten everyone that has been placed before her and is ready to fight on TV under a bigger spotlight and not be buried in sports obscurity.

“The problem with boxing is the promoters want to put us on Fox Sports 38 at midnight, and then they say we get no ratings,” she said. “So, I think, it’s going to take somebody who’s going to take the chance and shove Heather Hardy between two big fighters and see what happens when everybody tunes in.”

And people do show up to see the Gerritsen Beach native compete, as Hardy said she had sold $15,000 worth of tickets – low for her, she noted – but still pretty decent numbers.

Hardy is hoping to secure a spot on July’s fight card at the Barclays Center, where she has boxed seven times, to keep her momentum going. However, she has been told to take a well-earned break.

“I asked them [promoters] to put me on next month’s card, but I got a big fat no,” Hardy quipped. “I got, ‘Shut up, Heather. Take some time off.’ So, I will be calling the office, bothering them to get me something hopefully soon.”


Three Top Inspirational Brooklyn Boxers

By Jerry Del Priore

There’s no denying that, in order to compete in the bloodlust world of boxing, you need plenty of fire, guts and gumption, along with ample athletic talent.

But when you factor in out-of-the-ring adversity, that’s when you get to see what an athlete’s really made of as their real-life mettle gets tested to the max.

I have compiled a list of three inspirational Broolyn boxers who have thrived in the ring despite their out-of-ring obstacles.

Daniel Jacobs


Daniel Jacobs poses for boxing photo.

When professional boxer Daniel “the Miracle Man” Jacobs beat Jarrod Fletcher for the vacant WBA World Middleweight Championship on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he became the first cancer survivor to capture a world title.

Almost five years ago, in May of 2011, doctors diagnosed the then-24-year-old Brownsville, Brooklyn native with osteosarcoma-a life-threatening form of bone cancer.

The 29-year-old Jacobs’ road to the Championship was anything but easy, as he recalled bleaker times during which the feeling of helplessness and self-doubt crept in while in the hospital.

In addition, a piece of cracked spine resulted in partial lower body paralysis and a great deal of pain, not to mention an arduous rehab process.

“There was a time when I was laying in a hospital bed, and I didn’t think I could do it,” the then-27-year-old admitted. “I cried in the dark.”

In 2012, Jacobs (30-1-27KOs) used his life experiences and growing celebrity status to help form the Get in the Ring Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to help families who are struggling financially with medical expenses for their cancer stricken children, and to combat childhood obesity and bullying in schools.

Heather Hardy

There’s no denying that Heather “the Heat” Hardy is one tough pugilist and overall woman. She used to jump in the middle of her ex-husband’s bar brawls. Hardy’s competitive attitude guided her to kickboxing, which eventually led her to a regular boxing ring.

Heather Hardy

Heather Hardy after a bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

She juggled multiple jobs and the duties of being a single mother while pursuing a shot of becoming a pro boxer. It wasn’t trouble-free, though.

Just a month before she turned pro in August of 2012, a fire destroyed her apartment and all of her worldly possessions.

The fire forced Hardy to move back to her childhood home. But devastation would strike again. On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy paid an unwelcomed visit to her family’s home in Gerristen Beach, leaving destruction in its wake.

Hardy lacked a permanent residence for a little under a year, but continued to train throughout all the turmoil.

The Brooklyn-born prizefighter finally found a place in September, near her training grounds, the legendary Gleason’s Gym, where she worked tirelessly in order to perfect the craft of the sweet science.

On Novemeber 9th, 2013, the time and effort paid off as Hardy (15-0, 3 KOs) won the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) female super bantamwieght title, and later captured the World Boxing Commission (WBC) international female super bantamweight strap on October 15, 2014. 

Frank Galarza 

Frank Galarza

Pro boxer Frank Galarza training at Starret City Boxing Gym in Brooklyn.

Professional boxer Frank “Notorious” Galarza knows what it’s like to buck the odds as a youngster. Galarza’s father died when he was just seven years old after a gunshot wound to the leg caused health-related complications. Two years later, at the age of nine, his mother lost her life due to a drug overdose.

His aunt and uncle took him in prior to their deaths and managed to keep him focused enough to graduate high school, with the help of boxing, which he took up at 17, he noted.

But Galarza couldn’t escape the pitfalls of the mean streets, admittedly battling with his inner demons throughout his youth.

“It was a struggle because I was confused. I was really lost,” the junior middleweight recollected. “I found myself heavy in the streets, and being involved in drugs—selling drugs. And being involved in crimes and violence.”

Though Galarza realized the street life wasn’t for him, getting arrested at 15 and 17 for robbery, he didn’t have a clear plan mapped out for himself at the time, causing him to fall back into his old ways.

Unfortunately, Galarza’s watershed moment came at the expense of a near-tragic incident while engaging in an illegal, precarious activity.

“I was trying to make a sale, and I got robbed,” he candidly said of a drug deal gone wrong. “Right there, I knew I needed to change my life.”

After giving up boxing at 18, the Brooklyn native returned to the sport at 24. His trainer didn’t take him seriously at first, but he won the 2010 Golden Gloves tournament in the 165-pound novice division. It helped cement his decisions to live clean and turn pro.

The 30-year-old highly-touted prospect sports an impressive record of 17-1-2 (9 KOs).

Wanting to give back, Galarza has developed the Youth Fighting Forward program, a fledgling non-profit that combines boxing, education and youth services for at-risk Brooklyn children.


From Wayward Youth to Boxing Prospect, East Flatbush Product Finds New Path

By Jerry Del Priore

Mikkel LesPierre was a standout basketball player at Transit Tech High School. But he got sidetracked, and wound up getting kicked off the team.

Getting into some form of trouble with a friend seemed to be the norm for the young LesPierre. So his friend’s father suggested they give boxing a try in order to channel their behavior in a positive direction, and learn how to protect themselves if the need arose.

Mikkel "Slikk Mikk LesPierre delivers blow to opponent. Photo Courtesy of

Mikkel “Slikk Mikk LesPierre delivers blow to opponent.
Photo Courtesy of

“I used to be in the streets a lot,” said LesPierre, a longtime Flatbush resident. “My friend’s father was into boxing. He said, ‘you guys are always getting into trouble. At least you should learn how to protect yourselves.’ So, he was like, ‘get into boxing.’ That’s how I initially got into boxing.”

After giving the sport a lukewarm effort in his teens, he returned to boxing in his early twenties. It gave him the focus he desperately needed.

“I found a new love. Boxing changed me as a person altogether, and made me into a better athlete,” LesPierre said. “Being that it’s a sports driven by self-motivation, self-discipline, it changed me as an induvial.”

LesPierre, 30, posted an impressive 36-13 amateur record, taking home the 2008 New York Metro City and 2007 Empire State Games championships.

LesPierre turned professional on June 8, 2012 in Woodhaven, New York, where knocked out Miguel Antonio Rodriguez.

Since then, the Trinidad and Tobago-born light welterweight has been impressive, peeling off 10 wins and a draw for an 11-0-1 record, with six victories coming this year alone.

Mikkell Lespierre poses for photo at the world famous Gleason's Gym, site of his training grounds.

Mikkell Lespierre poses for photo at the world famous Gleason’s Gym, site of his training grounds.

LesPierre, who has garnered the nickname SlikMikk because of his slick fighting style, plans on continuing on his the path of success, even if he has to cut back on his torrid boxing schedule just a little to give his a body some rest. He said he hopes his scheduled fights and his training coincide better in the future so he can peak simultaneously, not the way it transpired in his last bout in October.

“I have been real consistent from the beginning of the year,” he said. “My last fight, I think is where I really felt over trained. I was supposed to fight at the beginning of last month, and that didn’t happen.

“But I was able to get on a card at the end of the month. So I had to prolong my training. I was already training five weeks prior for that fight. So to extend my training another two and half, three weeks, I was already peaked. So I had to come down, and try and peak again, which was hard.”

Unfortunately, LesPierre’s body almost quit on him. Thankfully, however, he was able to lean on guts and guile to pull out the four-round junior welterweight bout against Evincii Dixon when all was said and done.

“After the first round, it was like, ‘I’m in in this.’ In the middle of the second round, my body just didn’t want to go nowhere,” the converted southpaw fighter recalled. “My mind was telling my body to do one thing, but my body was trying to resist it. But at the end of the day, I dug deep, and pulled out the win the best way I knew how to.”

As good as a fighter as he is, he’s even a better student and individual, making Don Saxby’s (his trainer) job that much easier.

“He’s a good student all together; very discipline,” Saxby glowingly said. “Everything I teach him, he goes in the ring and tries it until he gets it. Everything I ask him to do, he does it. He’s very coachable, and even a better person.”

As for the future, LesPierre’s camp is eyeing a bout in late December, early January, believing he has the perfect mindset to help fulfill his potential, sacrificing a social life in order to do so.

Mikkell LesPierre sports game face before a fight.

Mikkell LesPierre sports game face before a fight.
Photo courtesy of

“He works, he trains, he goes home,” Saxby explained. “That’s his lifestyle, and that’s the lifestyle he needs to have if he wants to become a world champion. Once he becomes the world champ, and I’m almost sure he will, it can slow down a little bit for him. He can have a little fun, but we don’t want to get too crazy with it.”

For now, it’s all business for the local humble, hardworking fighter who’s doing his best to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

“I’m here to accomplish my own goals,” LesPierre said. “I’m putting myself at risk, and I’m challenging myself each time I get in that ring. I tell myself I can do this. I’m putting in the work, and going out there, and showing and proving.”

It’s that determined attitude that has LesPierre on a path to glory at the moment, with his old life in the rearview mirror.