It was cold outside, the temperature dipping into the low 50s, but the elements did not affect unbeaten Antoine “Action” Douglas, however, as the talented world-ranked middleweight turned up the heat and impressively knocked out Les Sherrington in the fourth round in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader Friday live on SHOWTIME.nDouglas (19-0-1, 13 KOs), of Burke, Va., dropped Sherrington (35-8, 19 KOs), of Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, five times before the one-sided fight for the WBO International 160-pound title was stopped at 1:02 of the fourth. The quick, hard-hitting Douglas dropped Sherrington one time in the first and second rounds, two times in the third and once in the fourth.
In the co-feature from the specially-constructed ring outside the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) across from the D Las Vegas, Ukrainian southpaw Taras “Real Deal” Shelestyuk (13-0, 8 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., pitched a near-10-round shutout over Aslanbek Kozaev (26-2-1, 7 KOs), of Vladikavkaz, Russia, to capture the WBO-NABO Regional Welterweight title. A former amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist, Shelestyuk, won by the scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91.
In other results on a card promoted by GH3 Promotions and Banner Promotions, “Killa” Keenan Smith (9-0, 3 KOs), of Philadelphia, won a unanimous eight-round decision over Benjamin “Da Blaxican” Whitaker (10-2, 2 KOs), of San Antonio, Texas, in a competitive welterweight scrap and “Tsunami Sam” Teah (7-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia scored a unanimous decision over previously undefeated O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (8-1, 5 KOs) of Orange, Texas, in a lightweight match. It was the 135th time a boxer suffered his first loss on ShoBox.
For Douglas, it was his fifth consecutive victory on ShoBox and likely may have earned him a spot on a future SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® card. The 10 fighters who’ve appeared five or more times on ShoBox have all gone on to challenge for a world title.
“Antoine Douglas is the perfect example of what we do in the ShoBox series. We build fighters. We develop them from prospect to contenders,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation and Senior Vice President of Production, SHOWTIME Sports. “We’ve seen Antoine grow. He started as a promising prospect, and we matched him really tough and each and every time he stepped up to the task. Tonight, he graduated from ShoBox with a spectacular performance; there are no doubts he is now a contender.”
“We got what Antoine Douglas needed: The type of utterly dominant performance that makes you want to see him against the best middleweights. Tonight was Antoine’s graduation from ShoBox. Now he’ll move up to bigger and better things,” said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood afterward:
Douglas went 10 rounds for the second time and upped his winning streak to five since boxing a draw in July 2014.
“They said this was my graduation day, time for a cap and gown, so this was definitely a big win,’’ said Douglas, a top amateur who made it to the 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials and was the WBA’s ninth-ranked contender going in. “It was a great experience fighting on ShoBox and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me getting me ready to go to the next level. Now, it’s time for me to take the next step.
“I expected to win, probably by knockout, but I didn’t expect it to be this way. I expected Sherrington to be tougher, more prepared. I think my jab was the key. It set him up for all the big shots I landed with my right hand and left hook.
“I knew I’d be faster than him. I was very prepared. One good thing I’m happy about is how I kept my composure.’’
Sherrington, who was fighting outside of Australia and making his U.S. and 2015 debuts, came in having won eight of his last nine fights, including his last pair. But the WBA’s No. 12 contender was no match for Douglas.
“Antoine Douglas is very good and he will go on to really big things in this sport,’’ Sherrington said.
“I’m not making excuses, but I was freezing and could never really warm up. And then he caught me cold. I came here to reach a lifelong dream of mine but it was not meant to be. I got welcomed into the big leagues in a big hurry and in the worst way. All credit goes to Douglas for that.’’
Farhood was impressed with Shelestyuk, a former amateur standout. “[Taras] Shelestyuk looked like the most mature fighter on the card,’’ Farhood said. “He has a wonderful amateur pedigree, he was an Olympic Bronze Medalist. He fought a fighter that made him fight and throw a lot of punches — he averaged 85 punches a round. He dominated the fight from the first round on and he looked like the world-class fighter that he was developed to be.”
Shelestyuk utilized his 3½-inch height advantage to dominate the game but outclassed Kozaev. “This was a good fight for me. I’m so happy. I won my first pro title, went 10 rounds for the first time and won all the rounds,’’ Shelestyuk said.
“The guy was a super tough opponent. I thought I was going to knock him out in a few of the rounds but he took all my hard punches. He was a warrior and had a lot more experience than me.’’
Kozaev, making his first start in 18 months, started fast but got outhustled and outworked from the second round on. “He’s a good fighter and I gave my best, but having not fought for such a long time was a big factor,’’ he said.
Smith overcame a nasty cut over the left eye from an unintentional headbutt in the sixth but came back to score a knockdown in the seventh. He triumphed by the scores of 79-73 and 78-74 twice.
“Keenan Smith overcame a very bad cut to win this fight,’’ Farhood said. “He scored a knockdown that was unexpected late in the fight. I thought that it was a very close fight, but Smith did enough in the early rounds to win. He’s definitely a prospect that will get better.”
Smith was fighting for the fourth time this year after a three-year hiatus. He was less than enthusiastic afterward. “This was a rough camp for me. My mother died. I dedicated this fight to her and really wanted to get the knockout,’’ said Smith who wore all-pink trunks in her honor.
“I’m not all that happy because I felt I could have finished him even though my left shoulder was hurting and I was not 100 percent. I also couldn’t see much at all out of my eye after the cut.
“But tonight, it was like a welterweight fighting a junior welterweight. I weighed in at 141 and he was at 147. But going eight rounds for the first time was definitely a good thing. I just feel like I should have finished much stronger. The weather was not a problem.’’
Whitaker had a three-fight winning streak end. “The scoring was way off. It was a much closer fight than that,’’ he said. “I don’t understand how he could get warned the whole fight for holding, but never get a point taken away. The knockdown wasn’t even a knockdown. It was more of a trip. The ref asked me if I could continue and I was like, ‘I wasn’t even hurt, not even wobbled a little bit.’
“I would love to fight him again.’’
Teah won the opening bout of the telecast by the scores of 79-73 and 77-75 twice. “This was an upset,’’ Farhood said. “Teah beat a fighter who had been a tough amateur. The problem for O’Shaquie Foster is that he looked like an amateur. He didn’t adjust to the pro game. He didn’t show enough strength and enough determination. He was a disappointment and [Sam] Teah took advantage of that.”
Teah, making his eight-round debut, won his third in a row. “I’m ecstatic and couldn’t ask for anything better,’’ he said. “This is definitely my biggest win and I definitely felt I won. I could have done more, but I did enough. This was a great win for my team. Working 10 hours a day paid off for me.
“This was my first time going eight rounds and I felt strong. To beat an unbeaten fighter was huge. The first six rounds I coasted. The last two rounds fatigue set in and I started to feel the weather, but I feel great now.’’
If anyone of the eight boxers froze under the bright lights it was Foster. “For some reason I just wasn’t myself in there,’’ a visibly disappointed Foster said. “I could have done so much more but I just didn’t throw enough punches. It’s time for me to regroup and get it together for the next time.’’
All but Douglas were making their ShoBox debuts.
Douglas-Sherrington weights & quotes
A ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader, highlighted by a 10-round middleweight fight between world-ranked contenders Antoine “Action” Douglas and Les “Lock N Load” Sherrington, is set for tomorrow/Friday, Nov. 6, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC), across from the D Las Vegas in iconic Downtown Las Vegas. Douglas (18-0-1, 12 KOs), of Burke, Va., is the WBA’s No. 9 contender. He is making his fifth appearance on ShoBox. Eight other fighters who have fought five or more times on the popular prospect-oriented boxing series have gone on to challenge for a world title.
Sherrington (35-7, 30 KOs), of Burleigh, Gold Coast, Australia, is the WBA’s No. 12 contender at 160 pounds. He is fighting outside of his homeland for the first time and will be making his U.S. and 2015 debuts. The winner of Douglas-Sherrington will be crowned the WBA and WBO International Middleweight Champion.
In the 10-round ShoBox co-feature, former amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Ukrainian southpaw Taras “Real Deal” Shelestyuk (12-0, 8 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., faces the more experienced Aslanbek Kozaev (26-1-1, 7 KOs), of Vladikavkaz, Russia, in a welterweight bout.
Two eight-rounders will round out a four-fight telecast: southpaw “Killa” Keenan Smith (8-0, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia battles Benjamin “Da Blaxican” Whitaker (10-1, 2 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas, in a super lightweight match and switch-hitting O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (8-0, 5 KOs) of Orange, Texas, takes on “Tsunami Sam” Teah (6-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia in a lightweight scrap.
All but Douglas will be making their ShoBox debuts in an event promoted by GH3 Promotions and Banner Promotions. All eight boxers will be fighting in Las Vegas for the first time. Tickets are priced at $100.50, $75.50, $40.50, $25.50 and $20.50 and are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com.
The Weights: Douglas weighed 158¼ pounds, Sherrington 159½; Shelestyuk tipped the scale at 145¾ pounds, Kozaev 147 (second attempt); Smith weighed 141¾ pounds, Whitaker 146¼; and Foster weighed 136¼ pounds, Teah 137.
Here’s what the fighters had to say prior to the weigh-in:
“It’s been a great experience being able to grow on ShoBox. I feel I’ve really grown and definitely changed since my first ShoBox appearance. I’ve become more intelligent in the ring, I’ve learned how to categorize my punches. I still throw a lot, but I’m more selective. I’m still learning the sport.
“The way I train, I’m ready for anybody. I respect Sherrington as a fighter. I know he likes to switch, but I’m not sure how he rates against others I’ve fought. The main thing for me is to stay busy and jab. He likes to come forward so I don’t want to make it easy for him and just stand in front of him. I’ll try and take advantage of what I have, utilize all my strengths like I do against all my opponents.
“I had a great camp, and got to travel to three states to train (Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey and back to Virginia). I sparred with guys with a lot of different kinds of styles, including southpaws. I could really feel the difference working in Colorado at that altitude.
“Training and sparring give me my confidence so I can’t help but be excited and ready for anything that comes Friday night.
“This is obviously another big fight for me, a chance to move up in the rankings and then go from there. I’m ready for the next step. This is my fifth fight on ShoBox. I’m ready to move on to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® next. I’m thinking I can have a monster year in 2016. I will fight anybody. I’m looking forward to getting to the big dance. And I’m looking forward to fighting Sherrington on Friday.”
“I definitely feel they’re underestimating me in his fight. They think I’m the same fighter that got knocked out in his pro debut and was just 4-3 after seven fights. But I’m not that fighter at all. I’ve gone through hard times, had different promoters, trainers and I learned a lot of lessons. I had my fair share of setbacks and injuries in my career.
“But this is my opportunity, one I’ve been waiting my whole career for. The timing is perfect, fighting for the first time in the United States, in the mecca of boxing, Las Vegas, where I’ve always dreamed of fighting, and on SHOWTIME. I’ve been here since last Thursday, trained at the Mayweather Gym and at the old Johnny Tocco Gym.
“I’m 33 and had 42 pro fights so I may be a veteran age-wise, but I feel closer to 23. I’m still fresh, enthusiastic and I’m ready to really make my mark. I didn’t turn pro until I was 18 and that was after basically a little or no amateur career. This is my first fight in 11 months but that’s only because I had a couple of fights fall out on me, or offered to me on ridiculously short notice.
“This fight is a make-or-break fight for me. I trained super hard for 12 weeks. It’s been an unreal camp. I probably sparred 200 rounds. I was training hard before I got word of this fight and I’ve been working even harder since. My conditioning is great.
“The key for me is to bring everything I’ve got: Fitness, my jab, my power. Everything has to be working because Douglas is a great up-and-coming fighter who I hear some are calling the next big superstar.
“I just feel that experience will be a big difference. I’ve gone 10 and 12 rounds many times. He is very quick and slick, but I can box, too. It’s is going to be a great fight and I am totally looking forward to it.’’
“I sparred maybe a couple of rounds with Kozaev a year or so ago, but nothing meaningful. This is my first fight for new trainer Eric Brown. I feel like I’m continuing to develop and improve my pro style.
“I have no regrets staying amateur for as long as I did. I think now, at 29, my age is perfect. I got a whole lot of experience fighting amateurs in the Olympics so I feel it’s time to take the next step in my pro career.
“I know I’ve grown as a fighter. What I like as a pro compared to the amateurs is that you can spend a whole camp training for one guy. In the amateurs, you may fight six guys in a row with different styles.
“After this fight, I want to step up against any of the contenders.
“We have several different game plans for this fight. I know I am three inches taller than him, so I know I should box, but I like to fight. I need to be more patient as a pro but if I can stop him I will. But I’m ready to go 10 rounds. I’m ready for any situation.
“I think all good Ukrainian fighters coming up respect the Klitschko brothers for being able to stay on top for so long. I have some of the same friends as they do.’’
“I’ve been in the United States for three weeks training with Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif. I’m so looking forward to fighting again. The reason I’ve been off so long (18 months) was due to trouble with my promoter in Russia.
“I continue to work hard to be a well-rounded fighter. I expect this to be my toughest fight so far, but also a very exciting fight. Both of us are 100 percent ready. I’ve fought southpaws before so that is not a concern. What I remember about sparring with him is that he was strong, sharp and smart.
“For me, the key in this fight is for me to be aggressive, get inside, give him lots of head movement, stay busy and stay behind the jab. The jab may be the key.
“My last loss was against Ray Robinson (in February 2014), but I’m not even sure he was a boxer because he ran so much.’’
“My Mom died (Sept. 16) during this training camp, but I know I am doing the right thing by fighting. This is what she would want me to do, and it is making me stronger and more motivated. I am dedicating this fight to her and my late brother.
“I’m absolutely excited about this fight and ready to go. It’s been a tough road for me but I never doubted that I would not return to boxing and this is my fourth fight this year. I’m a changed person.
“You learn from your mistakes. I’ve become a Muslim, and that has really humbled me. I’ve worked hard, trained hard, run hard and did everything necessary to win again. I hope people will be able to tell how much I’ve changed and how hard I’ve worked.’’
“I’ve fought two or three southpaws as pro, but I’ve also sparred with Erislandy Lara, who may be the best left-hander in the world. It was a tremendous experience.
“At 31, I’m playing catch-up to most fighters, who have been doing it since they were at a young age. But I’m motivated, determined and dedicated so I feel I am gaining ground on them all the time.
“This is another tough fight. I may be the underdog, I don’t know, but I wasn’t supposed to beat my last two or three opponents either. I never watch tape; I just prepare the best I can and make adjustments as I go.
“I feel I am one of boxing’s well-kept secrets. But that can change overnight which is why I always fight with a chip on my shoulder. Although I feel closer to 21 than 31, there is no time to waste. I feel I can do a lot of things well. Boxing is a hard sport, but I’m a competitor and I’m going to compete.’’
“I’m not much of a talker but I can tell you I am ready to step up to eight rounds for the first time. I have worked very hard in the gym so stamina won’t be a problem. I’m looking to make an immediate first impression on SHOWTIME.
“I feel both physically and mentally prepared for this huge opportunity. I am not nervous at all. I’m fighting a fast guy, but I’m a good thinker and know what I’m supposed to do.’’
“I’ve been in camp for about 10 weeks for this fight and I can’t wait for Friday. After fighting five times last year, this will only be my second this year, but that is due to a lot of bad circumstances.
“I feel good about this fight and my career. I’ve fought southpaws before. I’ve pretty much trained myself as an amateur and as a pro but I know exactly what I have to do as a fighter. I am really motivated for this fight.
“I’ve already surprised a lot of people who never thought I’d amount to anything. But all that I’ve gone through has made me wiser, hungrier and more mature.
“I’ve definitely come a long way from the days when I was younger. I spent time in a juvenile detention home, and I got suspended from school for one year for fighting. Most of the people I knew thought I would be on probation or in jail by now. They can’t believe I’ve made something out of my life.’’