Unbeaten Michigan natives Joseph Hicks Jr. and Joshua Pagan back in action
A pair of rising stars in the Salita Promotions’ stable are set to make their ring returns on Friday, September 8 as Michigan-born fighters Joseph Hicks Jr. and Joshua Pagan will compete in separate attractions at Motor City Casino in Detroit.
“Joseph Hicks and Joshua Pagan are two of the best American prospects in their respective weight classes,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “Both had incredible amateur accolades and both are showing significant progress in the professional ranks with each fight. In-ring activity is the key to success and soon enough they will be knocking on the door of a world title.”
Joseph Hicks Jr. vs Gilberto Pereira dos Santos
The 29-year-old Hicks (8-0, 5 KOs) will battle Brazil’s Gilberto Pereira dos Santos (16-13, 12 KOs) in a six-round middleweight battle as Hicks seeks his fifth win of the year. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Hicks most recently earned a dominant unanimous decision over Ramses Agaton in July.
A standout amateur before entering the pro ranks, Hicks was set to captain the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2020 summer games, before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the proceedings. By the time the games were back on, the IOC’s formula for picking fighters in his weight class left him on the outside looking in. Undeterred, Hicks has shined as a pro thus far and will look for another impressive victory in his first outing with highly-regarded trainer Kay Koroma.
“I’m looking forward to showing the improvements that I’ve made this training camp,” said Hicks. “Coach Kay Koroma has welcomed me to his team and we’re working on fixing the little things. My opponent is tough and I expect him to try to be rough and use his experience, but I’m looking forward to getting bigger fights and bigger opportunities. I know I have to win impressively to do so.”
Joshua Pagan vs Braulio Rodriguez
Super lightweight sensation Joshua Pagan (8-0, 4 KOs) will step into the ring for a six-round matchup against the Dominican Republic’s Braulio Rodriguez (20-7, 17 KOs) as he too looks for his fifth victory of 2023. The Grand Rapids-native followed up an impressive triumph over the previously unbeaten Ronnell Burnett in June by stopping Gabriel Smith in the first round in July.
Pagan won the 2021 U.S. Amateur Welterweight National Championship with a unanimous decision over Keon Davis. He followed that up by turning pro in January 2022 and earning four victories that year as he looks to take the leap from prospect to contender.
“Training camp has gone great for this fight,” said Pagan. “I’m just champing at the bit and ready to go on September 8. I expect a tough fight from Rodriguez, so I'm preparing for whatever he brings to the table. This fight is another step towards bigger opportunities that I will have in the future, and I am looking forward to making the most of it.”
The September 8 event is promoted by CLIP Promotions.
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