There was a time when Atlantic City was the center of the boxing universe, and the Tropicana was one of the real hotspots along the Boardwalk.

Those days are about to come back.

On Saturday, May 11, Boxing Insider Promotions brings professional boxing back to the Tropicana Showroom for the first time in seven years, and this show has a local flavor.

Larry Goldberg, CEO of Boxing Insider, is an Atlantic City native, so he knows those glory days as a boxing mecca quite well. He’s been honing his promotional craft in Manhattan’s Times Square district with regular shows at the legendary Sony Hall. Those cards brought some of the best young talent in the New York City area together.

Now it’s time for him to bring the action back home.

Atlantic City junior middleweight Justin Figueroa (8-0, 6 KOs) is in one of the featured bouts. Local fans may remember Figueroa’s days as a football star at Holy Spirit High School, and he also proved himself to be the best in South Jersey in the amateur ring. Beaming with confidence, he recently returned from San Antonio, where he registered his eighth straight pro win, a decision over Christian Aguirre, and as usual, he celebrated by dancing “the Worm” across the ring.

The charismatic Figueroa, who’s also put in several years as a lifeguard, is a local boy through and through. He says his mission is to “put Atlantic City on my back” and he can take another step toward that objective on May 11.

John Leonardo. Credit:
John Leonardo. Credit:

Junior featherweight John Leonardo (10-1-1, 4 KOs) is in an eight-round bout and brings a healthy contingent of fans with him. Hailing from nearby Manalapan Township in the Garden State, he’s a former New Jersey Golden Gloves champ who goes by the nickname “Bodyshot.”

Leonardo went eight rounds in his last fight, winning a decision over Dominique Griffin. But that was back in August, so he’s hungry to get back into the ring again. He’ll do so against Frank Gonzalez of Tampa (12-5, 6 KOs), who’s gone eight rounds in each of his last two fights.

Avious Griffin of Chattanooga, TN (13-0, 12 KOs) brings an interesting story into his eight-round bout. At a time when he should have been building a pro career, Griffin spent eleven months in prison when he was wrongfully accused of murder. Cleared of that, there’s been no stopping him. The phrase “Don’t go to the refrigerator” applies here; of his twelve knockouts, eleven of them have come in the first or second round. He’s 30 years old now, and taking dead aim at people like Boots Ennis in the welterweight division.

Brooklynite Pryce Taylor (3-0, 2 KOs), an intriguing heavyweight prospect, will also be in action on this show, in a four-rounder. Taylor has a lot of upside, as he didn’t even start boxing until 2016. Just three years later, he was in the semifinals of the National Golden Gloves. He has made it to the finals of the U.S. Amateur Championships twice (2021, 2022) and has inspired a piece written on him in the New York Times Magazine.

Taylor is one of the participants on this card who has also competed on the Boxing Insider shows at Sony Hall, winning a decision over Antonio Torres on March 7. His opponent is Lawrence King Jr. of Rochester, NY (2-1, 1 KO).

Another May 11 contestant who’s been at Sony Hall is middleweight Jacob Solis, who debuted there back in December and is now 3-0, with all the victories coming by knockout. Solis also has an ardent fan following and helps grow the sport by serving as a boxing instructor.

There are other great prospects in action. Junior welterweight Dwyke Flemmings (6-0, 6 KOs) is a powder keg out of Paterson, NJ who has recorded four one-round knockouts and will be in a scheduled six-rounder; middleweight Famous Wilson (4-0, 2 KOs) is a former New York Golden Gloves champ who is in a four-rounder. Other four-round contestants include super middleweight Joel Telles of Brooklyn (2-0, 2 KOs) and lightweight Koby Williams, also of Brooklyn, a NY Golden Gloves and Metro champ who makes his professional debut.

Tickets are priced at $60, $100, $150 and $200, and are available through TicketMaster

Bouts begin at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM. This event will also stream live and free of charge at

Card Subject to Change.

More From 97.3 ESPN