Cruz signs with co-promoters

Cruz’s next opponent will be Osnel Charles, a veteran who might be Pee Wee’s toughest fight to date.

Cruz’s next opponent will be Osnel Charles, a veteran who might be Pee Wee’s toughest fight to date.

By MIKE SMITH
Undefeated local fighter, Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, made an appearance at Mickey Spillane’s Pub in Eastchester on May 5, celebrating his recent agreement with two major promotions and drumming up interest for his upcoming May 16 fight.

At 9-0, Cruz is already something of a local hero, but his fight team is hoping that a few more signature victories will elevate him to the national stage.

The Port Chester native has recently signed with DiBella Entertainment and New Legend Boxing, which will now punch Cruz’s dance cards.

“I think it worked out, having this co-promotional situation,” said Cruz’s trainer Ryan O’Leary, who founded the New Rochelle-based Champs Boxing Club where Cruz trains. “New Legend are the new guys on the block, and DiBella already has a great stable of fighters; basically, we’ve only been fighting on their two cards anyway.”

Cruz said the partnership between his camp and the two promotions will only serve to strengthen an already stellar start to his career.

Pee Wee Cruz has become a favorite among Westchester’s fight fans and is looking to ascend to the national platform.

Pee Wee Cruz has become a favorite among Westchester’s fight fans and is looking to ascend to the national platform.

“I never thought I would be here, but all the hard work is paying off,” Cruz said. “So this is a great opportunity for me and I’m glad that my manager Kevin Crowley and my promoters are giving me a chance to show my skills.”

Over the course of his nine-fight pro career, Cruz has become a true fan favorite. With an exciting style—and legions of supporters from Westchester—DiBella and New Legends are hoping he will continue to be a big draw.

His next bout, against battle-tested Osnel Charles, will take place on the undercard of a Showtime boxing event at Foxwoods Resort Casino. O’Leary and his charge are hopeful that a good showing against the 10-8-1 bruiser will mean a bigger profile for the budding star.

“Our promoters have told us we have to make some noise in this fight,” O’Leary said. “If—when—we win this fight, we’re going to have a chance to be on Showtime’s Next Generation the next fight after that.”

O’Leary said Charles won’t be hard to find in the ring. With Charles’ solid chin and straightforward style, Cruz’s trainer said he expects the fight to be an exciting one.

Charles is coming off a close, split-decision win over Victor Vasquez in an eight-round fight on March 21. The upcoming tilt with Cruz is scheduled for six rounds, but it may not go the distance considering Pee Wee’s punching power and his reliance on cruel body shots.

“We’re working on some things, punching from different angles,” O’Leary said. “But if this fight goes the way we think it will, someone is going down.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, center, sits with his trainers and promoters during a press conference at Mickey Spillane’s on May 5. Cruz (9-0) will fight again on May 16. Photos/Bobby Begun

Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, center, sits with his trainers and promoters during a press conference at Mickey Spillane’s on May 5. Cruz (9-0) will fight again on May 16. Photos/Bobby Begun

 

 
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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.