$10,000 prize fight against man seen beating NJ teen not likely to happen
Video provided by Kevin Wise
WEST DEPTFORD — Hopes for a prize fight between the man seen beating up a teenager in a viral video and someone "capable of knocking the s— out of this guy" seem to have been dashed.
A representative of HotRussianBrides.com (warning: material at the link for that adults-only dating site may not be safe for work), which hoped to arrange the fight, told New Jersey 101.5 it's not looking likely to happen.
Paul Cookson of AdArmyGroup.com, representing the site, said MMA prize fighter Sam Oropeza has had to pull out of the fight because of contractual obligations. He'd originally planned to face off against the man seen in the video — Paul A. Cojocaru, who goes by Tony — in the hopes of winning $10,000.
The offer of a prize fight was just one turn in the strange tale of the viral video, which police said was shot in January at the home of a person both Cojocaru and his alleged victim knew.
The video surfaced last month, posted on Facebook by fellow South Jersey resident Kevin Wise, who has told New Jersey 101.5 he posted it on behalf of a friend of a friend worried about retaliation. It's been viewed on his Facebook page nearly 6 million times.
In the video, the man authorities have since identified as Cojocaru repeatedly hits and kicks the teen, who covers his face and body, but doesn't fight back.
"I will destroy you," the man says. "Are you going to the cops? I'll f---ing kill you."
HotRussianBrides.com's involvement seemingly came out of nowhere. Cookson said the site has been involved in other efforts to curb child abuse, so he ran the idea of a prize fight by his contacts there. They agreed, and also planned to donate some proceeds to child abuse organizations, he said. The fight would have been a legal, regulated boxing match, he said.
But Cookson also said the site was only interested in finding a fighter capable of beating Cojocaru: "We don’t want a guy who’s a child abuser, who’s a weasel, who’s a coward in our opinion, to benefit from this fight."
The offer was made even before police had completed their investigation and charged Cojocaru, or released his name. Police told New Jersey 101.5 at the time they weren't aware of the site's offer.
Cojocaru was charged last month with aggravated assault in the third-degree and making terroristic threats in the third degree. His bail was set at $50,000, full cash, which he had paid.
Police said at the time they still weren't sure who shot the video. The alleged victim told police he wasn't sure why Cojocaru hit and kicked him, but Cojocaru told officers other incidents throughout the evening lead up to the incident, West Deptford Chief Samuel DiSimone said.
"What you see in that video is what took place," West Deptford Chief Samuel DiSimone told New Jersey 101.5.
Cookson said HotRussianBrides.com still hasn't made contact with Cojocaru, though it hopes to, in case a prize fight can still be arranged. The site is also interested in contacting the alleged victim, in case it may have a way to help raise money for him, Cookson said.