PROVIDENCE (January 16, 2014) - World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior middleweight champion Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade (20-0, 13 KOs), fresh off of his convincing title-winning performance on HBO over previously undefeated 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KOs), is riding high in 2014.
The 25-year-old Providence native became the first member of 2008 Team USA Boxing to capture a world title as a professional, as well as the first native New Englander to be world champion of a major governing body since Massachusetts-born heavyweight John "The Quietman" Ruiz in 2005. Andrade also became the first Rhode Islander since Cranston's light middleweight Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Paz in 1991 to capture a major world title.
"It's settling in," Andrade spoke about being a world champion as a pro. "This is a result of what I did for five years in the pro ranks; taking things slowly, being patient and taking advantage of my opportunity when it came. Everything's good! I have a little more love and support in my life and a lot more fans know who I am."
The judges' scoring for Andrade vs. Martirosyan was criticized by many observers for being much closer (117-110, 114-113, 112-115) than it appeared. "I was definitely shocked when I heard the scorecards read," Andrade admitted. "That was a flash knockdown in the first because I was off balance as I went backwards, but I got up and fought like a true champion. I whooped him for 12 rounds and one judge still gave the fight to him? It isn't fair to the fighters or fans and something needs to be done."
Before Andrade can position himself for a high-profile, lucrative showdown in 2014, his next fight and first title defense will be against WBO No. 1-rated mandatory challenger Brian "The Lion" Rose (25-1-1, 7 KOs).
"We are looking forward to defending the title and giving everyone a chance to see Demetrius in action as World Champion," Andrade's manager Ed Farris commented. "We didn't care who his next opponent is, Demetrius is ready to show the world that this is his time. We're glad to have the opportunity to show it."
Rose is a 28-year-old Brit who is the reigning WBO Inter-Continental 154-pound champion. A relative unknown in the United States, Rose's most notable wins have come against past-their-primes Javier Marciel (SDEC12) in a WBC eliminator, Joachim Alcine (TKO12) and Vivian Harris (KO3).
The WBO purse bid for Andrade vs. Rose is scheduled for January 23 at the WBO office in Puerto Rico, unless their respective promoters -- Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing & Artie Pelullo's Banner Promotions and Barry Hearn's Matchroom Sports -- reach an agreement prior to the already extended deadline.
"I'm not going to take anybody lightly," promised Andrade, who was also a World amateur champion. "I've been working in the gym, sharpening my tools to get better, and be ready to rock 'n roll for my first title defense. My goal is to eventually fight the top 154-pounders and unify the titles."
Shortly after Andrade became world champion, unlike most who go on a celebratory break, Andrade instead served as a sparring partner for Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs), who benefited from the sessions en route to defeating International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion Devon Alexander.
"We grew-up in the amateurs together," Andrade spoke about his friend Porter. "We fought each other three times and were on traveling teams together in so many different countries. I saw him at the (Andre) Ward-(Edwin) Rodriguez fight and told him the best sparring he could get was right here. I asked him if he wanted to sharpen his skills and be able to see everything coming at him. He wanted the work but didn't want to ask me, so I asked him if he wanted my help. He said, let's do it."
Now, they're both World Champions.
Follow Demetrius Andrade on Twitter @BooBooBoxing.