NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 19: Bruce Carrington is victorious as he defeats Yeuri Andujar during their junior lightweight fight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 19, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
For a New Yorker like Bruce Carrington, there’s no place like Madison Square Garden.
The 26-year-old featherweight from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn will be making his fourth appearance as a professional at MSG’s Theater on Friday, Feb. 16, when he faces Bernard Angelo Torres in a ten-round bout on the ESPN-televised card headlined by WBC junior lightweight titleholder O’Shaquie Foster vs. Abraham Nova.
Though Carrington now lives and trains in Las Vegas, he’s always excited about a homecoming.
“I love fighting at The Garden, there’s nothing like a New York crowd, obviously because I’m from there. But even if I wasn’t from there, the New York crowd is just different. It’s exciting, it makes you want to perform,” said “Shu-Shu” Carrington (10-0, 6 knockouts).
“I hope one day soon I can fight in the big room. I was supposed to fight in the big room last year in December but my opponent couldn’t pass the physical.”
The Top Rank promoted Carrington is coming off a breakout year in 2023, scoring five victories and earning The Ring’s Prospect of the Year award. He says he is currently honing new techniques and expects to be even more impressive in 2024.
His first assignment of the year will be against Torres (18-1, 10 KOs), a southpaw who was born in the Philippines but now lives in Norway. The 27-year-old Torres has won two straight since his lone defeat, a split decision loss to Frency Fortunato Saya in September of 2022 in his U.S. debut. Carrington says his style is one he’s seen plenty of times during his long amateur career, which was highlighted by winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials.
“This is definitely gonna be a statement fight. All of my fights to me are statement fights but I know that more eyes are gonna be on me because of being Ring Prospect of the Year and what I’ve accomplished in 2023,” said Carrington, who is four inches taller than Torres at 5’8”.
“Because he’s a shorter guy I think he’s gonna try to get up close and be in my chest but I think that’s a bad idea because I’m really confident in my inside work. Either way if he wants to box, he’s not gonna box better than I do. If he wants to get that inside work, he’ll get that too. It’s gonna end up bad one way or the other.”
Though this will be just his second ten-round scheduled fight, Carrington has already risen to the no. 8 ranking at 126 pounds with the WBO. He says he’s in no rush to move into fights with the top names at 126 pounds, though he’s been studying them and admits he’s a fan of some of their work. Among the names he has been enjoying is IBF titleholder Luis Lopez, the Mexican fighter who lifted the belt from Josh Warrington in 2022, and Rafael Espinoza, who won the WBO belt with a big upset win over Robeisy Ramirez.
Carrington says that he recalled watching Espinoza’s win over Ramirez last December and immediately began imagining how he’d perform against the aggressive Mexican.
“I think possibly towards the end of the year I think I’ll be knocking on the door for these top contenders. I don’t know about a title just yet, I’m ready for all those champions, everybody but there’s certain things that have to be done a certain way in order for me to be the star that I want to be,” said Carrington, whose rise from child prospect to amateur star was chronicled in the documentary “Brownsville Born.”
“I just want to be looked at as one of the greats, guys that never ducked nobody and wanted to fight the best. In Brownsville we say Brownsville never ran and never will, and I live by that.”
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].