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Two Granite Chin boxers to make Madison Square Garden debuts

QUINCY, Mass. (January 16, 2024) – Two members of the growing Quincy, MA.-Granite Chin Promotions (GCP) stable of boxers, middleweights Antonio Todd (16-9, 9 KOs) and Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste, will make their Madison Square Garden debuts in separate bouts on the February 16th Top Rank card.

 

Todd, fighting out of Atlanta, faces 2020 Dominican Republic Olympian Euri Cedeno (7-0-1, 6 KOs), while Baptiste takes on hometown favorite Isaah Flaherty (6-0, 3 KOs). These two fights will be streamed on ESPN+ live from The Theater in New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.  

 

“Fights like these and fighters like Antonio and Julien are what I am continuously trying to make Granite Chin all about,” GCP president Chris Traietti commented. “Fighters who will fight anyone, anywhere. It has been a pleasure working with these two and watching their careers develop. We have been together through highs and lows, but we stuck together and continue to achieve everything we can out of this rugged sport. Neither guy has ever shied away from a tough fight and now in February they are getting their just reward, fighting at the Mecca of Boxing. A lot of guys in boxing pretend to be ‘professional fighters’ but break out in hives when asked to step up. Not these two!”

 

Fighting at MSG – The Mecca of Boxing -- for the first time has opposite meanings for the two GCP fighters; it’s just another fight for the battle-tested Todd, and a dream-come-true return home for Baptiste.

 

“I’ve fought in New York City before (Sony Hall), but this will be my first time fighting at Madison Square Garden,” Todd said. “It’s really no big deal for me, but it is for my coach. At this stage, nothing overwhelms me anymore. I do appreciate Chris getting me this opportunity.”


Antonio Todd

 

“It’s surreal for me to be fighting so quickly on a big stage like this,” Baptiste countered. “I remember speaking to Chris when my contract first started, and I said I wanted to fight at least once in New York City. In Madison Square Garden is above and beyond that and I’m so grateful to him for this opportunity.”


Julien Baptiste (R)

(picture by Emily Harney/Fightography)

 

Todd is a true throwback fighter who has fought all across the country, usually in his opponent’s backyard, and many feel that he’s a middleweight gatekeeper, which makes him feel that he’s disrespected in boxing.

 

“I do feel disrespected being called a gatekeeper,” Todd explained. “They (promoters/managers) want to see what their fighters have, and we’ll see that again in this fight. I’m the hitman at 160 (pounds). They keep sending them to me because I’m a tough test and I’m going to keep beating them. If they beat me, they suddenly go up in the ratings, but if I beat them I don’t get any respect.

 

“I just fight, I love it. Everybody wants to be king of the jungle, but nobody understands the hyena. I like riding the bull and being an underdog and that’s what drives me. I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. I can go anywhere to fight anybody, literally, and I’ll keep doing it until I get what I want….respect!

 

Todd, who will face Cedeno in an eight-round bout, has won his last two fights, including an impressive eight-round unanimous decision this past December, upsetting 15-1 Jaylon Pridgeon. Cedeno reached the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, losing to the eventual silver medalist, and he’s coming off an eight-round unanimous decision last December over previously undefeated Yoanki Urrutia (13-0).

 

Baptiste is a native New Yorker who grew-up in the Huntington area but relocated several years ago to Woburn, Massachusetts. The reigning Mass. Middleweight Champion turned his career around two fights ago, when he worked hard to overcome performance anxiety in the ring.

“It’s very satisfying to go out there and do what I can do,” Baptiste spoke about his performance anxiety. “God gave me this talent and it’s that simple for me on the performance end.

 

“I started boxing when I lived in New York. I’ll have family and friends there and maybe some other fans who will be there watching (Mass-based Abraham) Nova fight (the ESPN headliner vs. O’Shaquie Foster for the WBA Junior Lightweight title).”

 

Baptiste captured the Mass. Middleweight title last August in his last fight, in which he knocked out defending champion Jamer Jones in round six. Baptiste’s opponent in a six-round match, Queens resident Flaherty, is 6-0 but he has never fought an opponent with a winning record until now.

 

“He’s very tough, strong, and he’s fought some good guys during his career,” Baptiste added, “but I am going to go out there and show the world what I’m made of. Training camp has been very, very tough for this fight, but it’s worth it because I am getting ready for him.”

 

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