Fight Night to occur at Frisco ballpark

Updated: June 23, 2011, 9:02 PM ET
By Randy Jennings | ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO -- Professional boxing makes its debut at Frisco's Dr Pepper Ballpark on Friday.

Native Texan middleweights Brian Vera and James Kirkland will be part of the six-bout card in a ring very near where home plate would be for a Frisco RoughRiders game in Oscar De La Hoya's inaugural "Fight Night at Dr Pepper Ballpark."

The 29-year-old Vera, a native of Fort Worth, puts his 18-5 record on the line against Eloy Suarez (11-11-1) of San Antonio in the main event, scheduled for eight rounds.

Kirkland (27-1) is coming off his first pro defeat and faces Dennis Sharpe (17-7-3) of Jersey City, N.J., in an eight-round bout.

Vera, who resides in Austin, said he needed a fight "and this one kind of landed in my lap five or six weeks ago.''

[+] EnlargeBrian Vera
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesFort Worth native Brian Vera puts his 18-5 record on the line against Eloy Suarez in the main event at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Of Suarez, Vera said he's seen a little of him and calls him a tough kid.

"I'm not looking past him, that's for sure,'' said Vera, who weighed in exactly on the number of 163 pounds Thursday afternoon. "First things first.''

Suarez weighed in at 161 .

If Vera takes care of business, there is an intriguing bout on his horizon.

The victory that put Vera on the boxing map was a 2008 upset of Andy Lee, who was undefeated at the time, in a seventh-round TKO.

Vera, a cast member of the NBC reality series "The Contender,'' said there are talks of a rematch with Lee as soon as October.

Kirkland, 27, reunited with trainer Ann Wolfe after his first pro loss, a first-round TKO to Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida on April 9 in Las Vegas. It was just his third fight after a two-year absence from the ring.

Wolfe held four women's boxing weight-class titles simultaneously, but retired from the ring in 2006 and began a training career.

All but three of Kirkland's 27 wins have come by knockout. The Austin native weighed in at 160 on Thursday.

Sharpe (157) is used to tough competition. His last seven opponents have a combined 97-3 record.

Regular tickets, priced at $10, $20 and $50, are available at www.ridersbaseball.com. If purchased online or by phone, ticket service fees apply. If purchased in advance or on the day of the event at the Dr Pepper Ballpark box office, there are no ticket service fees. Fans can download vouchers for free general admission or upgrade to reserved seating for half price at www.ridersbaseball.com. Free general admission seating is limited and available on a first-come basis.

Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with the first bout at 7:30 p.m.

The remainder of Friday's card:

Maurice Hooker (0-0-1), Dallas (140 ) vs. Wilbert Mitchell (0-0-0), Dallas (140 ); Four rounds

Jose Rodriguez (0-0-0), Fort Worth (128 ) vs. Martin Camarillo (0-0-0), Grand Prairie (129); Four rounds

James Freeman (7-4-0), Vernon (160 ) vs. Joshua Burns (3-10-5), Dallas (159); Six rounds

Manuel Rojas (1-0-0). Dallas (129 ) vs. Alex Lopez (0-1-0), Fort Worth (129 ); Four rounds

Randy Jennings is a reporter for ESPNDallas.com.

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