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Fighter Profile:  Q&A with 6'6" Belgium Cruiserweight

Joel "Big Joe" Djeko Ahead of His Feb 22nd

Star Boxing “Rockin Fights 34” Main Event

At the Paramount Versus Italy's Simon "Tyson" Federici!

(February 19th) On February 22nd, next Friday, Belgium born cruiserweight JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO will be making his New York debut at The Paramount in the main event of the critically acclaimed STAR BOXING series, "Rockin' Fights". Djeko will be taking on Italian SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI in what is set to be an all-world cruiserweight showdown between two stellar fighters, looking to lay roots in the United States.


Star Boxing sat down with Djeko, to learn more about his life, inspirations, and career goals:


Q: When were you born and where did you grow up?

DJEKO:  I was born on July 30th, 1989, in Brussels, Belgium. I am of Congolese and Cuban parents. I grew up in this European capital and did all my education in schools for people with disadvantaged backgrounds.


Q: Have you done any community work for the impoverished communities you speak about?

DJEKO: For 7 years I am an ambassador of Change ASBL. This association fights against exclusion and its consequences, but also for equal opportunities. It offers opportunities for these impoverished young people to stay on the right path by taking different actions. I regularly give my time to this youth group to give them a positive outlook on life.  I encourage them to get by and advise them in their choices when they need it.


Q: What was life like where you grew up?

DJEKO: Life was not easy. I grew up in a poor environment and had to fight every day to get by.


Q: How did you begin boxing?

DJEKO: I started with Thai boxing, but wanted to improve my fighting technique with fists so I started boxing. I fell in love with this sport and I never lost it again. I trained many years in the famous boxing club of Brussels with coach Leon Nzama. I owe him a lot for teaching me his old school boxing. Then I trained with Donald Turner in his Bootcamp in Atlanta which also gave me a lot of basics. Today I train at Fitzroy Lodge ABC gym in London held by Mark Reigate and Linton Aymer, because I moved to London in August of 2018 to further my training.


Q: Who is your favorite fighter(s)? Is there any fighter you try and emulate in the ring?

DJEKO: My favorite fighter has always been Thomas "Hitman" Hearns. But if I had to give active fighters that I try to emulate I would say, without hesitation, Andre Ward and Bernard Hopkins. They are geniuses of boxing for whom I have great respect after all of the belts they have won in different categories.


Q: What motto/quote do you live by?

DJEKO: I prefer to live 1 day as a hero than 100 days as a coward.


Q: What are your accomplishments in both amateur and professional boxing?

DJEKO: On the amateur side, I have been national champion. As for my career as a professional, I am the former IBA Intercontinental Champion, and current IBO Continental Champion. Today I am ranked 47thin the world.


Q: Do you have a family?

DJEKO: I have a sister and three brothers. I am married and have a pretty 6-year-old daughter.


Q: What is your life like now?

DJEKO: My very good international ranking allowed me to get sponsors, which allows me to live on only boxing. I spend all my time at the gym to improve myself more and more.


Q: How do you feel about fighting in New York?

DJEKO: I am excited for this fight, I can't wait for the day to arrive. This stage is for me the opportunity to show myself to the real public of boxing and to unlock big fights that will arrive thereafter.


Q: How do you feel about signing with distinguished promoter Joe DeGuardia and his world renown promotion company, Star Boxing?

DJEKO: I'm super excited to be boxing under the banner of Star Boxing Inc. and I know that it's with Joe DeGuardia that big fights with a global opportunity will arrive, very soon


Q:  What are your career goals?

DJEKO: After this fight, I will go directly to boot camp to prepare my May 4th fight against Matty Askin (ranked 13thin the world and 2nd in the UK) for the IBO Intercontinental belt. This Victory will open doors for a World Championship, which is my goal. What I want above all is to refresh boxing by bringing him a new face. I was boycotted and people always put sticks in my wheels. Coming up people wanted me to be a journeyman, but I knew I have the ability to be a world champion. Today I believe that I am at the same stage as the boxers who have always been promoted and protected. I have the rage, I'm not here to play. I come to take my place, that of world champion.

So, what I'm going to do is bring the world of boxing a new energy, mine and as General Big Joe, warlord, I intend to train my army and to know my fans.

I am a leader who attracts the public. Some boxers do it for the national level, I'm international and that's why my audience comes from everywhere. Moreover, my English, Belgian and French fans do not stop contacting me to know how to see this fight of February 22nd.


Q: What do you want fans to know about you?

DJEKO: I'm trying to create my story in the history of boxing. Now is the time to start following me. Know that there is only one throne and crown and it is for me. I invite all fans of boxing in search of thrills and challenges to join me in my quest today. I will realize your expectations because I will break the doors of failure by the fists of Victory.

I am a pirate in the soul, I do not represent any Flag but my fans. And I pay special attention to all those people who come from underprivileged backgrounds, who are boycotted and set aside. I fight every day to show them that we must hang on and not fall into delinquency, I fight for these future generations to have the same chances of succeeding regardless of their social background. Know that nobody is condemned to failure and that no one can stop you if you have decided to not let them.


Thanks to all my fans, I'm waiting for you on February 22nd at The Paramount, in NY. 


STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of "Rockin' Fights." The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington's, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the 'big boys' in a truly international fight between European champs.  Giant Belgium JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington's own JOHNNY "HITMAN" HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS "THE HAWK" HAWTHORNE.



ROCKIN' FIGHTS 34 is presented by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing. "Rockin Fights" is sponsored by Modell's Sporting Goods, The Inn At Fox Hollow, Camelot Limousine and The Tudor Advisory Group.


ABOUT STAR BOXING: Star Boxing, Inc. has been in operation since 1992. Founded by Joe DeGuardia, its President and CEO, Star Boxing has worked to produce some of the most exciting and memorable boxing events in recent history. Star has continued to work with and develop a number of very exciting world champions, world-rated contenders and young prospects. Star has consistently brought credibility, integrity, and exciting fights to the boxing industry.


Star Boxing is among the highest regarded and most rapidly expanding boxing organizations in the country. Its premier stature is reinforced by its ability to develop talent and maintain a high profile within the industry and with its broadcast affiliates. Star Boxing regularly stages and televises premium quality boxing matches throughout the world. The swift ascendancy of Star Boxing is largely attributable to the sporting expertise and innovative business vision of the organization’s founder and President, Joe DeGuardia. As the son of a professional prizefighter, DeGuardia can truly boast a lifetime association with the sport of boxing. DeGuardia grew up in the Bronx, learning boxing at his father’s neighborhood boxing gym. He fought his first official bout at the age of nine, and won the Golden Gloves Welterweight crown in 1988, one year before his graduation from law school. Following his admission to the bar, DeGuardia joined the Bronx District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor. He then went on to develop a successful, Bronx-based independent law practice. Notwithstanding his work as a lawyer, DeGuardia always remained professionally active in the boxing world. This involvement became a full-time dedication in 1990, when he took over management of the Morris Park Boxing Club from his father. In his new capacity as chief operator of the club, DeGuardia transformed the business into one of the busiest boxing gyms in New York, while also using it as a base from which to launch his larger business as a top boxing entrepreneur. Star Boxing, the organization that evolved out of DeGuardia’s broad experience in the boxing industry, works on a flexible business model which enables DeGuardia to develop and promote both exclusive boxing events and boxers, as well as to put together joint-sponsorship events with other major promoters. Thus, there are many different components to his portfolio of promotional ventures. Recently, Star Boxing events have been among the highest grossing, most successful events in boxing, further solidifying its position as one of the most reputable companies in the sport. Among Star’s promoted fighters and events, the Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. trilogy was one of the most successful trilogies in boxing history, generating over 50 million in revenue. Star Boxing shows have been broadcast on both internationally and nationally on Pay-Per-View, HBO, Showtime, ESPN, HDNet, Telemundo and MSG, as well as on the internet, through collaborative efforts with GoFightLive.TV. Through his leadership of Star Boxing, DeGuardia has secured a reputation as among the youngest and most dynamic first-tier promoters in the business. In addition to the guidance of DeGuardia, Star has several high-level industry executives, including matchmaker Ron Katz who is widely considered one of the best matchmakers of all time. Star Boxing is also a proud member of the Boxing Promoters Association (BPA), which was formed in 2009, and is made up of over thirty of the top US Promoters. The BPA was the brainchild of DeGuardia, and his efforts in forming the organization were recognized by the fellow BPA Members, who elected DeGuardia President of the Association. Star Boxing will continue with groundbreaking shows and concepts in the years ahead, as it continues its role as an innovative leader in the exciting world of boxing.

Fighter Profile: Simone “Tyson” Federici

Q&A with Italian Cruiserweight Ahead of His

February 22nd Star Boxing “Rockin Fights 34” Main Event at the Paramount Versus Belgium’s Joel “Big Joe” Djeko!

(February 16th) On Friday, February 22nd, Italian born SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI will be making his American debut at The Paramount in the main event of the critically acclaimed STAR BOXING series, "Rockin' Fights". Federici will be taking on Belgium native, JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO in what is set to be an all-world cruiserweight showdown between two fighters, looking to lay roots in the United States.


Star Boxing spoke with Federici ahead of his big fight, to learn more about his life, inspirations, and career goals:

Q: When were you born and where did you grow up?

FEDERICI: I am 25. I was born on July 7th, 1993, in Corcolle, Rome.


Q: What was life like where you grew up?

FEDERICI: My neighborhood is the neighborhood where I live now. It is a suburb, not very big. Working a few steps from home, in the family bar, I am quite well known.


Q: How did you begin boxing?

FEDERICI: I started thanks to my uncle, an established boxer. Together with my cousin, we expressed a desire to learn to take the first steps. We started, and my uncle is still my coach, I have great respect for him. And it is thanks to him that I am now a step away from my debut in the United States, a new and very important experience for me.


Q:Who is your favorite fighter(s)? Is there any fighter you try and emulate in the ring?

FEDERICI: My favorite boxer is definitely Mike Tyson, from whom I took my fighter nickname.


Q: What are your accomplishments in both amateur and professional boxing?

FEDERICI: I had about 40 bouts as an amateur and was twice champion of Italy, some other titles and various fights with the Italian national team. As a professional, I first won the Italian title in 2017, defended my tittle twice in 2018 and also won the IBF Mediterranean title in 2018.


Q: Do you have a family?

FEDERICI: Ihave a 28-year-old sister named Cristina, and my fiancée is named Ilaria, she is my age.


Q: What is your life like now?

FEDERICI: I am a bartender, but I want to realize my full potential in this sport and have a family.


Q: How do you feel about this fight?

FEDERICI: Djeko is a good boxer who is taller than me, but I cannot miss this opportunity. For us Italians this chance does not pass so often ... we will win!


Q:  What are your career goals?

FEDERICI: I want to become a world champion.


Q: Do you have any other comments?

FEDERICI: I thank my trainer Franco Federici, Joe DeGuardia, Luigi Camputaro The Americans, as well as America and New York for this great opportunity. Also, Armando Bellotti, who was the real director.

February 22nd’s “Rockin Fights 34” Undercard Announced!

(February 15th) Having previously announced the dual main events of the February 22nd "Rockin' Fights" of Belgium's, JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO vs Italian SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI and  local Huntington favorite, JOHNNY "HITMAN" HERNANDEZ against tough Texan MARQUIS "THE HAWK" HAWTHORNE,  STAR BOXING announced a true New York centric undercard today.


In a scheduled 6-round welterweight bout, Wyandanch, Long Island's own TERELL "THE PROBLEM CHILD" BOSTIC (3-1 1KO) returns to The Paramount in search of vengeance against Hartford, Connecticut's ANUEL ROSA (1-0 1KO). Bostic was last seen at "Rockin' Fights" 33 in a thrilling, action packed bout with undefeated OMAR "THE BEAST" BORDOY (then 6-0 2KO's). Getting up, off the canvas in the 3rd round, Bostic fought his way back into the fight, finishing the final two rounds by trading freely at the center of the ring, behind deafening cheers booming from the sold-out crowd. Dropping a split decision, Bostic eyes Figueroa as his next tally in the win column. Rosa, who made his pro-debut this past June 16 in Hartford, Connecticut, will be seeing the famed Paramount for the first time and hopes to remain undefeated attempting to defeat Bostic in his hometown venue.


Also returning to The Paramount, in his second professional bout,  DASHAUN "TOO SWEET" JOHNS (1-0 1KO) is set to take on hard-hitting tough Philadelphian DERRON LAWSON in a 4-round welterweight bout. Hailing from the Bronx, amateur standout Dashuan Johns made his pro-debut at "Rockin' Fights" 33 against Devon Grant and left no doubt in his first round TKO victory. Dashuan, a personal trainer in Westchester County, had the ringside crowd jumping as his clients packed the ringside seats to watch their personal trainer in action.  Lawson is also no stranger to The Paramount, having fought twice at the venue, dropping hard fought, close decisions to undefeated prospects Johnathan Arroyo, and Alex "El Torro" Vargas.  Dashaun looks to make it two in a row in his young professional career, while Lawson plans to ruin his undefeated record on February 22nd.


Also in action will be Bellport, Long Island's, ALEX "EL TORRO" VARGAS (2-0) against BENJAMIN BORTEYE in a scheduled 4-round welterweight bout. Vargas, a former New York Golden Gloves champion, returns to The Paramount for his third appearance, looking to remain undefeated taking on Borteye (4-4 4KO'S), of Silver Spring, MD, by way of Ghana.  Borteye who last fought amateur standout and undefeated professional Reshat Mati at Madison Square Garden on January 18th. Vargas will look to continue his undefeated streak at The Paramount.


Star Boxing promoter, JOE DEGUARDIA, said this about the undercard bouts set for next Friday night, "It is truly rewarding that the Paramount has become one of the best boxing venues in the country. I am looking forward to another exciting night of "Rockin' Fights" on February 22."


A sensational night of thrilling fights has formed, as Star Boxing, once again, brings phenomenal action-packed professional boxing to Long Island. This exciting undercard brings an added punch to the all-world cruiserweight main event between Belgium's Djeko vs Italy's Federici and the local favorite Johnny Hernandez fighting the 'on a roll' Marquis Hawthorne.   Fans are buzzing with the return of Long Island prospects, Terrell Bostic, Alex Vargas and Dashaun Johns.  All three bring in vocal support to The Paramount and fans are anxiously awaiting February 22nd.

Star Boxing’s February 22nd, Rockin Fights 34

Main & Co-Main Event Announced Belgium’s

Joel “Big Joe” Djeko vs Italy’s Simone “Tyson” Federici

and the Return of Huntington’s Own

Johnny “Hitman” Hernandez vs Marquis “The Hawk” Hawthorne!

(February 11th) STAR BOXING is excited to return to its renown Long Island venue, The Paramount, on February 22nd, for another thrilling night of "Rockin' Fights." The 34th edition of the acclaimed fight series brings extreme boxing talent from across the world, right to Huntington's, The Paramount. The main event is a real toss-up between the 'big boys' in a truly international fight between European champs.  Giant Belgium JOEL "BIG JOE" DJEKO will take on Italian challenger, SIMONE "TYSON" FEDERICI in an intriguing 10-round cruiserweight bout. The co-main event will feature the return of Huntington's own JOHNNY "HITMAN" HERNANDEZ who will be taking on upset minded, MARQUIS "THE HAWK" HAWTHORNE

The main event features two international cruiserweight prospects who will travel a combined 7,873 miles to meet in the squared circle, in front of the expected packed crowd at The Paramount. Belgium's Djeko (14-2-1 7KO's), an IBO Champion, stands at a towering 6'5" and breaks the will of his opponents by fighting behind his jab, followed by devastating power in both hands. Djeko's marquee win came against then undefeated MARIANO ANGEL GUDINO (then 12-0 7KO's), when he defeated the Argentinian by wide unanimous decision, dominating for the full ten-rounds, to secure the IBO Continental Cruiserweight Title. Djeko has fought in America only once before, but intends to begin laying roots state side, for an eventual shot at a cruiserweight world title. Djeko's only 2 losses were on the road and by majority and split decision against undefeated prospects.


Djeko had this to say about fighting in America, "I am excited to make my first fight in New York, a city that saw the birth of great champions. But, I also come to fulfill my mission, that of leaving with a victory by knockout."


Federici (14-1-1 6KO's), a 25-year-old Italian who resides in Roma, Italy, will be making his debut on American soil on the February 22nd Paramount show. Federici had an impressive amateur record of 35-1-1. As a professional, Federici defeated FRANCESCO CATALDO in a thrilling battle earning the Italian Cruiserweight Title. Since then, Federici has successfully defended his title twice, most recently defeating the dangerous Georgian, ZURA MEKERESHVILLE by unanimous decision to add the IBF Mediterranean Cruiserweight Title to his pedigree. Federici has his eyes set an a massive victory on February 22nd main event.  Federici and Djeko both have their eyes set on victory in the February 22nd main event and both know a top rankings in the cruiserweight division are at stake.


Federici said this about his American debut, "I thank America for the wonderful opportunity that has offered me! I hope to better meet American expectations.

I can't wait to get in the ring."


In the co-main event, fans will see Johnny "Hitman" Hernandez (9-4 1KO), a familiar face at The Paramount having fought eleven of his thirteen professional fights at the venue. Hernandez who is known for his footwork and great conditioning, always seems to get stronger as the fight carries on. This will be Hernandez second main event at The Paramount.  He was last seen in an absolute thriller with fellow Star Boxing stablemate DANNY "EL GALLO" GONZALEZ (then 16-1-1 7KO's). Over the ten-round main event, Hernandez and Gonzalez exchanged blow after blow at the center of the ring, as the crowd seemed to be on their feet throughout the fight with consistent and vocal support for both fighters. While the judges scored the bout in favor of Gonzalez by majority decision, Hernandez proved to the rowdy sold out crowd that he has the skill to fight the upper echelon of the 140 lb. division.  Gonzalez went on to fight fellow Paramount alumni CHRIS ALGIERI at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago.  Hernandez promises to return with vengeance on February 22nd in his Paramount hometown.


Hernandez is ready for his opportunity on February 22nd, and is prepared to leave his mark. "There are no secrets to success," said Johnny, "it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failures."


Hernandez will be facing the very tough Texan, Marquis Hawthorne, who will be making his second appearance at The Paramount. Over his twelve-fight career, Hawthorne has fought ten undefeated prospects, with an opponent combined record of 81-23-3. Most recently, Hawthorne (6-9 1KO) won in a shocking upset at Mohegan Sun on January 26th over amateur standout and undefeated professional, from Detroit, Michigan RONNIE "TEFLON RON" AUSTION (then 10-0 7KO's). Over the 6-round bout, Hawthorne commanded the action, using his long reach and height advantage to maintain his distance, landing grueling right hands to the body and the head of Austion. At the final bell, the scorecards read 57-56, 58-55 and 59-54, earning a massive upset victory for Hawthorne over the previously undefeated Austion.


Hawthorne has is eyes set on one thing only come February 22nd. "I am coming off a big win over a great prospect," said Hawthorne, "the game plan is to continue to trust the plan my coaches have set before me, resulting in victory."


Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the main and co-main event, "We have put together a very intriguing international fight for Long Island's dedicated boxing fans. Belgium's, Big Joel Djeko, is an imposing figure, and carries knockout power in both hands. Federici has proven his ability to win big fights in his home country of Italy.  The winner has a bright future. " Regarding the co-main, DeGuardia stated, "this fight is a perfect example of the allure of our 'Rockin' Fights' series.  Both Johnny and Marquis have earned the right to be in this fight.  In his last fight Johnny showed grit and we will always support our fighters, win or lose, when they perform like he did.  That's what the Paramount series is all about, action and heart.  Similarly, Marquis Hawthorne earned the right to this fight with his victory over our undefeated prospect Ronnie Austion in a huge upset. Johnny and Marquis always show up in phenomenal shape with great energy on fight night, and I expect a thrilling fight on February 22nd."


The main event between European cruiserweight champions in Djeko and Federici is destined to excite. The co-main event will see Hernandez in front of his hometown fans while Hawthorne will look for a second consecutive upset. Undercard to be announced soon. Tickets are now on sale for "Rockin Fights 34 and can be purchased below.

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