PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 24, 2019  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


After promoting a number of boxing shows elsewhere, Michelle Rosado, the head of Raging Babe Promotions, will make her Philly debut, February 8, 2019, at the 2300 Arena. For her first local fight night, she made the exciting – and smart – decision to place talented and popular bantamweight Christian Carto at the top of her fight card, in the eight-round main event.  

Carto, 17-0, 11 KOs, is arguably the most popular fighter in Philly, with a super-sized fan base – primarily comprised of everyone of Italian descent in South Philadelphia. However, the rising 22 year old’s appeal extends far beyond the section of the City Carto calls his home base. Boxing fans from all over the Delaware Valley have embraced the soft-spoken prospect and packed all his previous events. 

“Christian is something really special,” Rosado said. “I don’t say that because he’s on our card. I don’t say that because he’s 17-0. He’s really special. He’s talented.  He’s handsome. And he has the entire South Philly behind him.”   

Rosado, a Philly native, is bringing her Raging Babe Promotions to her hometown for the first time, but staging fight cards is not new to her. She promoted her first show in 2011 in Phoenix and went on to hold events elsewhere in Arizona (Mesa & Tucson), as well as in Durham, NC. For the past five years or so, has also worked with Peltz Boxing on numerous other shows. 

However, Rosado feels that bringing her promotional company back to her home city is an important move for many reasons, but one reason in particular stands out. 

“Philly is the boxing capital,” Rosado said. 

Rosado’s good-looking, seven-bout card set for South Philly, kicks off the 2019 local fight season, and in addition to Carto, also features a number of fighters familiar to area fans. 

Philly heavyweight Darmani Rock, 13-0, 8 KOs, has the co-feature spot with his six-rounder against Louisianan Steve Lyons. Welterweight puncher Marcel Rivers puts his undefeated record (6-0, 4 KOs) on the line against Derrick Whitley, Jr. (4-0-1), in another six-rounder. Amateur heavyweight standout, Sonny Conto, a bit of a South Philly sensation himself, will make his professional debut in a four-round bout. 

However on February 8th, all eyes will be on the rising Christian Carto, as usual. 

“Christian is personable and people like to like him,” Rosado said. “When you meet him, he’ll speak to you, he’ll shake your hand. We haven’t really seen anything like this in a really long time. He has not only become a big attraction because of who he is, but (also) because of his fight game. When you go to see a Christian Carto fight, you’re going to get your money’s worth.”

Carto carries the hopes and dreams of his massive following into the ring every time he fights. His clan too is certain that he will eventually become champion, and wouldn’t consider missing each and every step he takes toward the title. 

“It’s been a really long time since South Philly has had an Italian world champion,” Rosado said. “And I know, deep down, that Christian is going to be the guy to bring a world title back to Philly, and become the first Italian to do it in 54 years.” 

Joey Giardello was an Italian American world champion who was Brooklyn-born, but conducted his entire boxing career from a South Philly base. He lived there and in South Jersey for most of his life. A statue of the middleweight king, who held the title between 1963 and 1965, stands on 13th Street & Passyunk Avenue, a block or so from the site of the old Passyunk Gym where he trained in South Philadelphia.

In addition to his championship potential, Christian Carto is also viewed as a fighter that can help to bring boxing back into the local mainstream. 

“He can help bring Philly back to the way Philly used to be when boxing was really big here,” promoter J Russell Peltz said of Carto. “We’ve had world champions in recent years in Philly, I get that. But Philly boxing has to get out of the warehouses and catering halls and back into the big arenas. That is where Christian Carto’s strength is.  I know it’s a lot to put on his shoulders, but I really believe he can do that.” 

Indications are that all of this is true. Carto's power as a box office attraction continues to carry on with this promotion. Ticket sales for this fight have been brisk to say the least. So, the 2300 Arena is sure to be packed to the gills on February 8th. Standing Room tickets are all that remain, with more than two weeks left until fight night. Clearly, Carto and that ravenous fan base are at it again.

In choosing Carto for her headliner, Rosado has made a smart choice for her Philly debut, and the strength of the rest of her show suggests that Christian isn’t the only star in the making. It’s always good to see new blood come to our local fight scene, and hopefully Raging Babe Promotions will become a fixture on the Philly boxing schedule far beyond February. 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - January 24, 2019