Undefeated, former WBO Junior Middleweight Champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) has his eyes on another title. The Providence, Rhode Island product will square off against hard-hitting contender Willie Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) in a WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York this Saturday night, June 11. SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® will broadcast live (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The winner of the 12-round co-feature will become the mandatory challenger to Jermell Charlo, an emphatic eighth round KO winner over John Jackson on May 21, to take the vacant WBC 154-pound title which aired on SHOWTIME.
The Andrade vs. Nelson slug-fest is the Showtime co-feature, serving as chief support attraction to the main event headlining former junior middleweight world champion Ruslan Provodnikov and former world title challenger John Molina Jr.
Andrade vs. Nelson is a co-promotion with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, Banner Promotions, A-Team Promotions, and DiBella Entertainment.
“It’s very important for me to be champion again,” says Andrade. “Every fight is tough. You can’t say that you’re the best without always facing a tough opponent like Nelson.
“I need to go back to being a champion again, being back in the spotlight,” he added. “Unifying (the title) is ideal, having a belt around my waist is important, but all that really matters is fighting the best.”
“Demetrius has a bright, bright future,” says promoter Joe DeGuardia. “He is looking to showcase his talents, and ultimately unify the championships. It’s a testament to Demetrius that he is taking on a fighter of Willie Nelson’s caliber after a layoff.
“Boo Boo has the rare combination of speed and the ability to punch,” adds DeGuardia. “He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and awareness in the ring.”
Andrade last fought on October 17 of last year, a TKO victory over Dario Fabian Pucheta at Mohegan Sun, showing no apparent ring rust. He was idle since June 14, 2014 when he scored another TKO victory over Brian Rose at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in defense of his WBO World Super Welterweight title.
“Demetrius is one of the best fighters in the world today,” adds co-promoter Art Pelullo. “The idea is always to make the best fight, and this one could unify the title.”
“Andrade is a great fighter, one of the best boxers in the world,” says Lou DiBella, Nelson’s promoter. “Willie’s chance is to go in there and try to score a knockout with his big punch. Boo Boo will try to run circles around him.”
Fighting out of his native Providence, R.I., the 28-year-old Andrade has compiled an unblemished record of 22-0 with 15 knockouts since turning professional in 2008 after representing the United States in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
A crafty southpaw with a piston-like jab and knockout power in each hand, Andrade won the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship with a career-best performance over Vanes Martirosyan on November 9, 2013 and successfully defended the title against No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Brian Rose on June 14, 2014. Most recently Andrade, who is a consensus top-5 super welterweight, scored a second-round knockout over Dario Fabian Pucheta on October 17, 2015.
A true road warrior who is extremely tall for a junior middleweight at 6-foot-3, Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KO’s) has faced and defeated numerous top contenders over his 10-year career. Fighting only once in 2015, the Cleveland native upset highly regarded and undefeated junior middleweight prospect Tony Harrison with a ninth-round knockout on July 11 in Tampa, Florida. In his first start of 2016, Nelson stopped Jonathan Batista in the second round on March 25.
Other notable names defeated by the all-action Nelson include John Jackson, Luciano Cuello, Michael Medina and Yudel Jackson. On October 14, 2014, Nelson came up just short against Martirosyan, losing a hotly contested 10-round decision on SHOWTIME.
Demetrius Andrade talks Willie Nelson fight
A Team Promotions hosted an open media workout on Monday at Bix Six Academy in Providence for undefeated former world champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs). The 2008 U.S. Olympian, of Providence, R.I., is finalizing preparations for this Saturday 12-round WBC Super Welterweight eliminator against Willie “The Great” Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio, in one of three fights on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Banner Promotions, Inc., are priced at $85, $60, $45 and $35 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Turning Stone Box Office, by calling 877.833.SHOW, or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
Here’s what Andrade, who’ll also be risking his WBO International title, said Monday:
Reflections of Muhammad Ali:
“Muhammad Ali certainly shook the world, and not only in boxing. He was colorful; nobody talked like him. He helped boxers, too. Ali is the reason Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.) is who he is because Ali set the bar high.
“As an entertaining boxer, Ali brought blacks and whites together and later he spread the word about religion, culture and his other diverse interests.
“What young boxer didn’t do the Ali Shuffle? I know I did, and taunted my opponents like him, too.”
About Pros in the Olympics:
“I’m for pros in the Olympics as long as an amateur, who has a few Olympic trials, has the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Coming up in the amateurs, I fought grown men, some who had been Olympians a few times. I was 21 and some of the opponents were 34-35 and had already been Olympians one or two times. They had advantages in experience, power and skill. Unfortunately, Americans only have Olympic opportunities when they’re young amateurs.
“Would I go the Olympics now? Yes! The Olympics is the biggest thing on the planet. To represent the United States again, yeah, I’d do it now for the chance to win gold. But I do think headgear should be applied in amateur boxing, including the Olympics.”
On the 154-pound division:
“I’m putting myself in the best position to fight for the WBO or WBC title. There are rumors of Canelo fighting (WBO champion Liam) Smith. Let me fight Smith and the winner gets Canelo. Or let me fight Canelo with the winner getting Smith.
“I’m going to knock out the Charlo twins. Both guys have fought on SHOWTIME, so those fights shouldn’t be too difficult to make. Once I take care of business with the Charlo twins, I’ll fight Lara (WBA champion) to clean up the division.”
On Gennady Golovkin:
“I definitely want to fight Golovkin. Let me build myself up first, by cleaning out the 154-division, and then we’ll have a mega-fight with two different styles. GGG is known for his knockouts. I knock out people, too, but I’m a better boxer than him. It’ll be one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing. I’m going to clean up the 154-division, make my reputation and then it’s a go with GGG.”
Relationship with his opponent Willie Nelson:
“We were in the U.S. amateurs together, but because we were in two different weight classes – he was 140-147 and I was 152 – there were no problems between us. We used to watch each other fight and watch other Americans box.
“Nelson is experienced having gone through the amateurs. He fought (Vanes) Martirosyan, who I beat (for the vacant WBO title by 12-round unanimous decision). He’s fought at this level. I know he’s tall, but I’m 6-foot-1, so our height difference isn’t serious.”
On returning to the ring:
“I’m pleased that we have this opportunity. SHOWTIME has given me this chance and now it’s up to me to prove I can backup what we said.”