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Budding pro aims to remain unbeaten

Demetrius Andrade has been boxing for so long, it’s easy to forget that he’s just 22 years old and has been fighting professionally for only two years.

But the former U.S. Olympian and world championships gold medalist from Providence, R.I., is making steady progress as a pro and will meet Alberto Herrera in an eight-round junior middleweight bout on an ESPN2-televised card Friday at Cox Pavilion.

”Everything’s going good,” said Andrade (11-0, eight knockouts). ”I’ve been trying to sharpen up my punches, making sure everything is right.”

Paul Andrade, who trains and manages his son, said Demetrius’ main focus has been working on his jab and footwork.

”He’s working hard in the gym, and this will be a good test for him,” the elder Andrade said.

Demetrius Andrade, who began boxing at age 6, was a national Golden Gloves champion in 2005 and 2006 and earned a gold medal at the 2007 world championships before representing the United States at the 2008 Olympics.

Herrera, 29, will be fighting on the card with older brother Mauricio, 30, who faces Ruslan Provodnikov in the main event, a 12-round junior welterweight bout with the IBF North American and WBC Continental titles at stake.

Herrera acknowledged that Andrade is a more well-known fighter but warned his opponent not to take him lightly.

”They’re saying he’s the next big thing,” said Herrera (7-1-1, five KOs). ”I like a challenge. I looked him up on YouTube. He’s a good counterpuncher. But if I can pressure him, rough him up inside and fight a smart fight, I think I can beat him.”

The soft-spoken Andrade said he won’t overlook Herrera.

”It’s my first time fighting in Vegas and I want to look good,” said Andrade, coming off a second-round knockout of David Saunders on Sept. 15. ”This is business now, and I’ve got two daughters to take care of. I can’t afford to have a bad night.”

Andrade’s youngest daughter, Summer, was born four months ago. He also has a 4-year-old daughter, Autumn. The girls give Andrade plenty of motivation.

”He’s a good dad,” Paul Andrade said. ”His life is the kids and his career.”

Though comfortable at 154 pounds, Andrade ultimately sees himself moving to middleweight (160).

”That’s the goal,” he said. ”It’s a healthy division, and there’s going to be a lot of potential there for me.”

Contact sports reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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