TASTY TIDBITS Three boxing champs visit Jersey City; Bayonne’s Bielan new NJCU women’s soccer coach

If the patrons at P.J. Ryan’s in downtown Jersey City were paying attention last Friday afternoon, they would have realized that they were in the presence of greatness.

Three of the finest boxers to ever come out of Puerto Rico were at the popular Jersey City establishment last week to promote awareness for organ and tissue donations.

Former world middleweight champ Felix Trinidad and current WBO world champs Miguel Cotto (light welterweight) and Ivan Calderon (minimum weight) made an appearance at P.J. Ryan’s to encourage people to sign their donor cards on their driver’s licenses and to consider becoming tissue donors as well.

The champions were in the area to participate in Jersey City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, which took place Sunday. All three boxers rode the parade route on special floats, as did special parade grand marshal Geraldo Rivera, who was also a boxer in his day who once fought Frank Stallone on the Howard Stern show a few years back.

Trinidad has not fought since losing to Ronald Wright in a middleweight title eliminator in May, 2005. It is not known whether the talented Trinidad, with a career record of 42-2, will climb back into the ring.

The other two Puerto Rican champions are currently undefeated and at the top of their respective games. Miguel Cotto owns a 28-0 career mark and has been the WBO Light Welterweight champ since 2003. He is scheduled to defend his title in Madison Square Garden against an unnamed opponent next month.

The diminutive Calderon is 26-0 and has also held the WBO Minimum Weight title for the last three years. He will also fight on that same card with Cotto.

The three champs were brought to Jersey City with the help of Sgt. Ed Martinez of the Jersey City Police and Freeholder Eliu Rivera, who was the director of public relations for the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

When the fighters appeared at P.J. Ryan’s, they were greeted by Jersey City’s own resident champion and current police officer Mark Medal.

Medal, who is also of Puerto Rican descent but has lived most of his life in Jersey City, was the IBF World Light Middleweight champion in 1984, when he defeated Earl Hargrove in Atlantic City. Medal had a 24-3 career record when he retired in 1987 to pursue a career in law enforcement.

It was definitely exciting for Jersey City fight fans to be in the presence of such greatness last weekend…

Rob Bielan, who was a standout soccer player during his high school days at Bayonne High, has been elevated to the position of head women’s soccer coach at New Jersey City University.

Bielan, who is currently a Bayonne firefighter, was an assistant coach with NJCU last year. He was promoted when former head coach Kristin Spohn resigned to take a position at FDU-Florham Park.

Bielan is an alumnus of NJCU and played soccer there from 1992 through 1994. Prior to taking a coaching job at his alma mater, Bielan was known for his work with the Holy Family Academy soccer program…

Two local football products are still with NFL teams as training camp begins to wind down. Jersey City’s Brandon McGowan, who was the surprise of the Chicago Bears training camp last year, making the team and eventually starting two games in the Bears’ secondary late in the season, is competing for another job with the Bears this year. McGowan had 23 tackles in eight games last year for the Bears.

Bayonne’s Jammal Lord is battling for a spot on the roster of the Indianapolis Colts. The former University of Nebraska quarterback spent two years with the Houston Texans learning how to become an NFL safety and is looking to get a shot with the Colts… —Jim Hague


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