Coffie-Rice Tops FOX PBC Night Of Next Generation Stars

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Coffie, the undefeated heavyweight, headlines a FOX PBC Fight Night triple-header Saturday night also featuring Vito Mielnicki Jr. and Joey Spencer, each in supporting bouts.

Coffie vs. Rice

This Saturday, July 31, live from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, FOX PBC Fight Night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) showcases a night of must-win bouts for boxing’s next wave of stars and contenders. 

In the main event of the telecast, undefeated heavyweight contender Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) faces a stiff test in the form of late replacement Jonathan Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs). In the co-main event, 19-year-old sensation Vito Mielnicki Jr. (8-1, 5 KOs) returns while opening the telecast is 21-year-old rising star Joey Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs.

The future is now for boxing’s rising-star class. 

Michael Coffie, a 6-foot-5, 260-270 lb. heavy-handed student of the game, has been putting in the hard work to establish himself as one of the top rising stars in the business. 

Not only is the eight-year Marine Corps veteran a mountain of a man with legit one-punch KO power, he’s also someone who’s clearly all about learning the craft of the hurt business. 

Bronx-born and Brooklyn-raised, the 35-year-old is a poised, calm-minded counter-puncher at heart who shows a bit of the high-shoulder Philly shell when stalking opposition. As someone who just started fighting at the age of 29, his skill level has impressed experts. 

Coffie attributes his advanced skills to his time as a highly sought-after sparring partner to the likes of Deontay Wilder, Adam Kownacki, Tomasz Adamek, and Jarrell Miller. Others may attribute his quick and adept learning on the job to the true grit and discipline needed to run with the very best in the U.S. military, a run which included an eight-month stint in Afghanistan. 

Whatever the case, Coffie is rising up the ranks quickly and, on Saturday, he takes another step up against veteran Jonathan Rice, a late replacement for original opponent Gerald Washington, who tested positive for COVID-19. 

"I’m looking to make a big statement,” Coffie insists. “I want people to look at this fight and see my calmness. I want it to look like I’m the veteran and he’s the prospect. If he has belief in himself in the beginning of the fight, he’s going to start fast. It’s my job to take that away from him."

ā€œ Iā€™m looking to make a big statement. ā€ Undefeated Heavyweight - Michael Coffie

Rice, meanwhile, knows that an impressive win over a highly-regarded rising contender, in a FOX PBC Fight Night main event, would be a huge boost to his career. A victory Saturday night brings him a full step closer to world title contention and a shot at the paydays that await that next level of competition. 

Born in South Carolina, but now fighting out of Los Angeles, the 34-year-old Rice is looking to bounce back from a rough 2020, which saw him take losses against rising undefeated heavyweight contenders Efe Ajagba and Demsey McKean. Priot to that, however, Rice was on a 6-1 run and working his way up the ranks. All of his career defeats have come against unbeaten fighters.

At 6-foot-5, he presents a similar physical presence to Coffie’s original opponent, Washington. Also like Washington, he’s a former football player with good athleticism who got a late start in boxing.

Stylistically, Rice likes to extend his long left hand, almost to the point of measuring an opponent, and then turn that into a jab that ranges in intensity from a pawing nuisance to a stiff shot. A follow-up right, off the jab, is his best offensive weapon. The key for him, as it’s been throughout his 7-year pro career, is to let his hands go more. With his last five victories all coming via stoppage, he has proven himself to have true KO power. 

Rice needs a win this coming Saturday. A loss will be his third in a row and present a difficult career setback from which to rebound.

Expect impact, violence, and must-win urgency on this Saturday’s FOX PBC Fight Night, live from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The next generation is here.

For a closer look at Coffie vs Rice, check out our fight night page. 

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