Banner Promotions Signs Chris Byrd

Banner Promotionsí president Art Pelullo has signed former IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion Chris Byrd to a promotional contract. Art said today, ďIím very pleased to announce this major signing. Iíve been a fan and friend of Chrisí for a long time, and Iím looking forward very much to working with him..

ďI think itís going to surprise a lot of people, but Chris - the former two-time heavyweight champ - is going to be fighting at 175 pounds. I think heís going to make some great fights in the division, and I think heís going to win the world championship.

ďWeíre going to take the first step towards that goal on May 16 when Chris fights on ESPNís ĎFriday Night Fightsí at the Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas, in the PH ring sponsored by Planet Hollywood.Ē

Chris previously fought at the Cox Pavillion in 2001 and beat David Tua in an IBF heavyweight elimination bout.

Chris said, ďIím excited to work with Artie Pellulo and Banner Promotions and look forward to becoming the light heavyweight champion of the world as soon as possible. I know Roy Jones Jr. and Robert Fitzsimmons won titles at heavyweight and then light heavyweight, but Iíll be the first two-time heavyweight champion to move down to light heavy to win the title.

ďItís been eight years since I won my first heavyweight title against Vitali Klitschko, and I had a great run as heavyweight champion after beating Evander Holyfield. Now, itís time for new challenges. All along I thought they would be at cruiserweight, but the pounds just kept coming off, and here I am!

ďIím looking forward to being on ESPN so that the people can see me at 175. I was a regular on cable back when I started, and the fans always let me know that they saw those fights and appreciated my style. I expect to show everyone that Iíll be dominant at this weight, but I know that every guy I face will be coming to knock off the former heavyweight champion. So, Iíll train extra hard to make sure they donít get any ideas.

ďThe best at 175 are guys my age with a lot of experience Ė Antonio Tarver, Jones, Clinton Woods, Glen Johnson, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe Ė and with one or two fights, I expect to be in that mix, making great fights between great fighters at light heavyweight.Ē

Chris, now 40-4-1 with 21 knockouts, won the WBO heavyweight world title in April, 2000. He won the IBF heavyweight world title in December, 2002, and made four successful title defenses. A native of Flint, Michigan, he represented the United States in the 1992 Olympics and won the silver medal at 165 pounds.

At 37, he wonít be the oldest of the contenders and champions at light heavyweight Ė Hopkins is 43 years old. Johnson, Jones, and Tarver are all 39, and Calzaghe and Woods are 35.

Article posted on 11.04.2008

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