PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - September 15, 2016  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photo by Darryl Cobb, Jr. -


Ricardo Caraballo steps back into the ring Friday night for the first time in two and a half years. But the Philly native wont be fighting at the 2300 Arena, or the Armory, or anywhere else in the City of Brotherly Love. Caraballo, a vet of two professional bouts, relocated to Tampa a while back, and will fight for the third time in his adopted city at the Tampa Convention Center. Caraballo will likely open the show in a scheduled four-rounder against Malcom Speight of Wilson, NC.

Caraballo, 1-1, made his professional debut in 2012, at the National Guard Armory. Then just 18 years old, Ricardo dropped a majority decision to Angel Carvajal in a junior bantamweight fight. After about 18 months of inactivity, Caraballo bounced back to win his second outing, a unanimous decision against Jose Garcia at the PA Sheet Metal Workers Hall in South Philly.

However, more inactivity would follow. Firstly, Caraballos size, hes barely a junior bantam, made his choice of opponents extremely limited. Added to this, an accident caused a hand injury that not only prevented him from fighting, it forced him out of a job.

After recovering from the injury, Caraballo relocated to Tampa to take a job. He also hung on to his dream to eventually resume his boxing career.

It feels great. I feel ready, Caraballo said of his impending return. Im just ready to get back in there and continue with my career. 

Ricardo remains focused on this bout, but cant help but look into the future a future that at one point seemed a world away.

My plan is first to take this first step, which is to get back in the ring after three years, Caraballo said. Then, see where Im at, see what I have to work on. If I do a great performance, Ill try to get back in the ring ASAP. I know I still have to work on stuff, but its taking this first step and getting back in there, but I am continuing with this boxing career. 

Still just 22 years old, Caraballo has the time to do it, but knows that Fridays fight is the gateway to his future.

I feel more focused now than before, Caraballo said. Its like everything is just going up. Im focused. This is what I love to do. Ive asked myself plenty of times, is this what I want to do? And I always find myself going back. This is what I love to do. 

And what does he expect on Friday night? 

Im expecting a knockout, because I feel strong, but you can never underestimate nobody, Caraballo said. I feel like Im going to do a great performance. Im just moving straight up. 




John DiSanto - Tampa, FL - September 15, 2016