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Amateur standout Jean Pierre Valencia scores first round KO in pro debut

PhilBoxing.com





ATLANTIC CITY — Amateur standout Jean Pierre Valencia had an explosive showing in his professional boxing debut, knocking out Patrick Bernard Harris in the first round on Saturday, June 8 at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

The two-fisted puncher Valencia, 24, of Irvington, N.J. wasted little time getting to know his opponent, knocking him down with a flurry of hooks and right hands a minute into the four-round junior middleweight bout. Harris, 26, of Cooperas Cove, Tex., rose back to his feet but was met by a nonstop barrage of punches from Valencia and was sent down a second time, prompting referee Sparkle Lee to bring a halt to the bout at the 2:04 mark.

“I felt incredible in the ring, it was just as I expected,” said Valencia, who was born in Esmeraldas, Ecuador and raised in Barcelona, Spain.

“When I felt those tiny gloves, I was surprised by the difference. I have to trust in myself and the power that I have inside. This was one of the best moments of my life, and I want to thank God, my managers and family for always giving me their full support.”

Harris (1-5, 1 knockout) was a risky opponent for Valencia to face in his first fight, having just scored a knockout win the previous month. Harris had lost just once previously by knockout, dropping unbeaten prospect Juan Sanchez Labana in the first round of their 2022 fight before losing by third round stoppage.

Valencia vs. Harris was part of a show that was promoted by Main Events and was headlined by the WBA middleweight gold title fight between Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna and Juan Carlos Abreu. LaManna knocked Abreu out in the third round to win the vacant title.

The win comes two days shy of his second anniversary in the country, and Valencia has accomplished a great deal in the sport during that time. He won every state tournament he signed up for at 165 pounds, winning two N.J. Diamond Gloves titles, one N.J. Golden Gloves title, the New York Boxing Tournament and earning a bronze medal at the 2023 National Golden Gloves in Chester, Pa. Prior to turning pro, Valencia was the number one ranked 165-pound amateur boxer in the United States, according to Boxrec rankings.

“As extraordinary as his list of accomplishments have been in such a short time, I’m really not surprised. He works harder than just about anyone I’ve ever met, and his desire is unmatched. He absorbs new boxing training like a sponge and studies film of boxing legends in his spare time. He is driven to be a champion,” said head trainer Ryan Songalia, who trains Valencia alongside conditioning coach Aaron Watson and co-manages him with former pro boxer turned lawyer Chris Murphy.

The date for Valencia’s next fight is being worked on and will be announced in the coming weeks.




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