Erick De Leon To Face Jose Martinez In Main Event

(March 9, 2022) – Rolling on the exciting momentum of two sold-out events there in the past two months, Salita Promotions will return to the Lincoln Ballroom of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, MI, on Saturday April 2, 2022, for another fantastic Detroit Brawl event.

In the main event this time will be the return of one of Detroit’s own, as undefeated power-punching lightweight contender Erick De Leon (19-0-1, 11 KOs) will return after nearly three years’ absence from the sport due to injuries to face hard-nosed Mexico City veteran Juan Jose “Piquet” Martinez (28-11, 20 KOs).

In the main supporting bouts will be a pair of world-class contenders, as undefeated former amateur star Timur Kerefov (12-0, 6 KOs) and WBC #9, IBF #15, WBO #14 light heavyweight Ali Izmailov (7-0, 5 KOs) will both make appearances against separate opponents, while undefeated Grand Rapids, Michigan-based former amateur star Joshua “Double J” Pagan (1-0, 1 KO) will appear in four-round special attraction.

Kerefov will take on divisional gatekeeper Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (21-9-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-round showdown. The murderous-punching Izmailov’s, as well as Pagan’s opponents are yet to be announced.

Tickets for “Detroit Brawl” start at $40 and can be purchased by clicking HERE or by calling or visit the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center Box Office (313.943.2354) at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn on the day of the event. PLEASE NOTE: Tickets ordered online will be placed in will call at the box office for pick-up. A limited quantity of VIP tickets is also available by calling Lina (313.529.7604).

Born in Mexico and raised in Detroit, DeLeon began boxing in the famed Kronk Gym where he developed a strong bond with the late Emanuel Steward. As an amateur, DeLeon (19-0-1, 11 KO) was a three-time national Golden Gloves champion in three different weight classes and a leading contender to make the 2012 USA Olympic Team before a shoulder injury derailed his dream. He elected to turn professional instead in 2012.

Over his past six fights, DeLeon has gone 5-0-1 against opponents with a combined 130-30 record. He followed up his 2018 draw with then 20-0 Andy Vences with two strong performances: a 10-round UD victory over Adrian Yung (25-4-2) and a seventh-round KO over Jose Luis Gallegos (16-5).

Out of action since 2019 because of a series of injuries before the pandemic brought a halt to the sport overall, De Leon says he’s excited to be back in business.

“It feels great being the main event, knowing all my fans will be there cheering me on. I’m excited to showcase my skills, that I’ve worked so hard since a young boy!” said a happy De Leon. “I’m very excited to be coming back, the time off will not stop me from getting a world title for the city of Detroit. I will win, because if my hunger and I want to dedicate this fight to my beautiful cousin Evelyn Garza, who just passed away 2 days ago!

Blessed with excellent hand and foot speed and the fast-twitch reflexes that only come from a lifetime in the sport, Kerefov was a highly decorated amateur boxer, winning several important tournaments and 298 of his 310 unpaid fights. Designated a Master of Sports, he fought at the elite level internationally for nearly a decade. 

“I have been training in Florida and learning under the tutelage of Sugarhill Steward,” said Kerefov during a break in training. “I look forward to showcasing my skills and coming one step closer to a world title shot.”

Now working with highly regarded trainer and former champion John David Jackson, Ali Izmailov is a true blue-chip light heavyweight prospect. In his two-year pro boxing career, Izmailov is already world rated and has held the WBO Global Championship. The 28-year-old Izmailov is a former amateur standout, having competed in multiple elite international tournaments. Widely regarded as one of the hardest punchers in the division, Izmailov stands 5′ 11½″ with a muscular frame, strong punching power, deceptive quickness and a very sturdy defense, Izmailov is a punishing counter puncher with anvil fists who brutalizes opponents into submission.

“I love my activity, staying busy in the ring and learning with trainer John David Jackson,” said an energized Izmailov. “This will be my third fight in seven months. What I learn in the gym, I put to work in the ring. I made my USA debut in Detroit and look forward to backing it up with another impressive performance.”

A smooth boxer with a mean streak, 21-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan-based 2021 USA National Amateur Welterweight Champion Pagan started boxing at age 13, had approximately 90 fights as an amateur, culminating in winning three State Golden Gloves Championships and the USA national Championships in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“Training is going good,” explained Pagan. “We are currently in Fort Lauderdale about to start a mini camp. We’re hoping to get some great sparring in preparation for our next bout, and we are prepared for the challenge, hard work and dedication it takes.”

Promoter Dmitriy Salita, who’s never made a secret of his mission to revive the sport in The Motor City, says he’s happy to be bringing another world-class show to Detroit for the fans who have gotten behind the series.

“I look forward to another exciting Detroit Brawl event that will feature local, national and international world class talent,” said Dmitriy Salita. “Detroit is America’s Greatest comeback City, and, in due time, I have confidence that this series will produce elite world champions from home and abroad. This will be an exciting show from bell to bell.” All bouts are subject to change. The Ford Community & Performing Arts Center is located at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. On fight night, doors open at 7:00 pm and the action starts at 8:00 pm.

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