Friday Night Fights: There are plans to host a full card of fights every Friday during the month of August. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

If there wasn’t enough to do in Atlanta on a Friday night, now there’s professional boxing. The same place where the Thompson twins honed their games on their way to becoming NBA lottery picks, young fighters will enter the squared circle in search of fame and fortune.

“Atlanta had been a hub for boxing in the past, so we wanted to bring some of the best fighters from all over the country here,” said OTX GM Brandon Rhodes. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

The plan is to not only maximize a unique venue in the heart of Midtown Atlanta and Atlantic Station during the basketball offseason, but bring yet another unique sports and entertainment product to Atlanta, says Overtime Boxing General Manager Brandon Rhodes.

“Atlanta had been a hub for boxing in the past, so we wanted to bring some of the best fighters from all over the country here,” said Rhodes, who has been with Overtime for five years before taking over OTX (Overtime Boxing). “It’s been a dream come true. Seeing this is surreal.”

The World Boxing Council (WBC) has partnered with OTX in order to provide legitimacy for the ambitious endeavor. Atlanta was once a top destination for a number of boxing’s finest fighters, including former heavyweight champion and Atlanta native Evander Holyfield.

The bar inside Overtime Arena for fight night was busy hours before the fights even began Friday, August 11. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

On Friday, August 10, during the second week of fights at Overtime Arena, a crowd of spectators sat at club-like tables near the bar waiting for fights to start. Others fill ringside seats, while even more spectators filled the seats above the ring. OTX is more than just a fight night, according to Rhodes.

“We are making it an entertainment product,” he said.

Drinks are served at the bar, but bottle service is afforded to patrons who buy a section near ringside. Tickets for both of the fight nights have been sold out, according to Rhodes.

David Lopez (left) won his fight with Joseph Suero with a first round knock out. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

The six-fight card included a welterweight fight between undefeated David Lopez (3-0) and Joseph Suero, a women’s super flyweight fight between Stephanie Chavez (California) and Devany Cuevas (Monterrey, Mexico), and a super featherweight main event fight between Albert Bell (Toledo, Ohio, 23-0) and Presco Carcosia (Cagoyan De Oro, Philippines 11-2-1).

During the first fight of the night between Lopez and Suero (right, arm raised), the crowd was awarded with a knockout. Lopez came into the fight undefeated with two knockouts in three fights and earned another early in the first round. A right hand hook to Suero’s jaw ended the four-round fight in less than two minutes.

The only women’s bout of the night began with Chavez more aggressive during the first and Cuevas winning the second and third rounds. Chavez landed a couple of solid rights during the fourth and fifth rounds to even the fight. The more skilled fighter, Chavez picked Cuevas apart during the fight and won a solid decision.

Devany Cuevas, from Monterrey, Mexico, praying moments before her super flyweight fight with undefeated Stephanie Chavez out of Orange, California. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

A super lightweight match between another undefeated fighter Giovanni Marquez (5-0, Houston, TX.), son of former super middleweight champion Raul Marquez, and Nicky Vitone out of New Jersey (9-2-1) was one of the night’s highlights.

Marquez earned a knockdown late in the first round and proceeded to dominate the fight going forward. Early in the second round Marquez put Vitone away with consecutive combinations to the head for a decision.

Following the fight Marquez said of fighting in Atlanta in front of a very energetic crowd, “I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect it to be like this.”
All of the fights were broadcast on sports streaming service DAZN, adding another major streaming platform to Overtime and Overtime Elite’s list of broadcast partners. Amazon Prime Video had agreed to a multiyear, multi-game streaming rights deal last November.

Boxing is back in Atlanta and by the look and sound of the crowd inside OTE Arena Friday night four fights might be enough to satisfy local boxing fans.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...