Jaron Ennis continued his knock out streak in impressive fashion in his ShoBox: The New Generation debut on Friday night as the highly-touted prospect from Philadelphia scored a third-round TKO against previously unbeaten Armando Alvarez in an exciting night of fights from WinnaVegas Casino.
The 21-year-old Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs), a former National Golden Gloves Champion, dominated the Key West fighter Alvarez (13-1, 7 KOs) from the start, knocking him down four times in the third round before the fight was waved off with one second remaining in the round. The win was Ennis’s 11th consecutive knockout in a step-up fight for the welterweight prospect, who appeared composed in the ring from the outset.
“I feel so great after this fight,” Ennis said. “I came out and did what we planned on, which was to just get out there and break him down. I wasn’t nervous and I had fun in the ring, I’ve been here before and I’m aware of everything. I’ve been in the ring my entire life and this is always what I’ve been doing.”
Ennis came out aggressive against a game Alvarez and started his attack by going directly to the body. He landed 46 percent of his power shots and led 35-8 in body connects during the short fight, which was originally scheduled for 10 rounds.
Ennis, who has never been past the sixth round, didn’t have plans on making this a long night, as he connected on a left cross to the jaw to put Alvarez on the canvas for the first time after 30 seconds had elapsed in the third round. A delayed-reaction left to the pit of the stomach sent Alvarez down for the second time and a three-punch combination capped by a hook was good for knockdown No. 3.
Referee Adam Pollack waved the fight off with Alvarez on his knees with just one second remaining in the third round following a right uppercut to the chin that ended the fight.
“Alvarez was just another opponent,” said Ennis, who out-landed Alvarez 23-3 in power punches in the final round. “He’s a great fighter but it feels like I’ve been here before. I’ve been fighting forever so it was nothing new. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid.”
Ennis’s two older brothers have both fought previously on ShoBox but came up with losses. “This was my coming out party and it really feels great to be the third Ennis to fight on ShoBox,” Ennis continued.
The previously undefeated Alvarez became the second fighter of the night to lose his undefeated record and the 176th overall in the history of the ShoBox series, which this week celebrated 17 years since its inception in July of 2001.
“He was faster than I expected and I didn’t execute my game plan,” Alvarez said. “I was supposed to pressure and I didn’t. He hit me with a surprising shot. He had enough power that I had to respect him. He was just the better man tonight.”
In middle fight of the tripleheader, undefeated Thomas Mattice overcame a knockdown in the second round to escape with a controversial eight-round split decision victory over Armenian Zhora Hamazaryan. Two judges scored the fight 76-75 in favor of Mattice with the third judge scoring it 77-74 in favor of Hamazaryan.
ShoBox commentator Steve Farhood had Hamazaryan (9-1, 6 KOs) winning by a score of 78-73. “That was the worst decision I’ve seen in the history of ShoBox,” Farhood said.
Mattice (13-0, 10 KOs) said he thought he did enough to win the fight, even though he was floored by a devastating right hook from Hamazaryan at 2:30 in the second round.
“Tonight wasn’t my best performance,” Mattice said. “I felt like I Iost the few early rounds. [Hamazaryan] landed some clean shots and he’s a crazy competitor; he wasn’t giving me anything. I think the decision was fair. I out-jabbed him and it may have looked like he was hitting me more but he wasn’t really touching me. The crowd was going crazy over him tapping my gloves. I outpointed him overall.”
Hamazaryan’s pressure enabled him to work his way inside and render Mattice’s normally powerful jab mostly ineffective, as he landed just 19 percent of his jabs. Besides scoring the fight’s only knockdown in round two, Hamazaryan controlled the seventh round and applied more pressure than Mattice in the final three rounds.
“I am extremely upset,” said Hamazaryan, who was fighting for the second time in the U.S. “I deserve a lot more being here in the United States. I worked many years for this opportunity, and for the judges to take it from me is just terrible. I know I won. I’m always a champion. I have already talked to my team and we are going to protest this fight to the right outcome and we will give him a rematch.
He added: “I knocked him down, hurt him several more times and dominated the fight. And how could they just take this from me.”
In the telecast opener, young super lightweight prospects Montana Love (11-0-1, 5 KOs) of Cleveland and Kenneth Sims Jr. (12-1-1, 4 KOs) of Chicago fought to an eight-round split draw. The judges scored the fight 77-75 for Love, 77-75 for Sims and 76-76.
The action-packed fight was fought in flurries as both fighters came out swinging. Sims was the busier and more accurate fighter, throwing a total of 638 punches and connecting on 211 (33 percent) while Love threw 529 punches and connected on 159 (30 percent).
“I worked well in the beginning even though I was a little rusty,” said Sims, 24, who had not fought in more than a year because of right elbow surgery. “I slacked off in the middle rounds, and picked it up in the last three. I thought I won the fight, but I can’t complain. I haven’t fought in a year and I feel like I am a stronger and a better fighter than I was then.”
In his second appearance on the series, the 23-year-old Love came alive in the middle rounds, highlighted by a blistering right hook midway through the fifth round that knocked out Sims’s mouthpiece.
“Today wasn’t my best day and I just wasn’t able to get in to a groove,” said Love, who fought against Sims when the two were teenagers in the amateurs. “I definitely didn’t fight my best. I felt good in the third and fourth rounds.
“We definitely want a rematch,” Love continued. “Today was an off day but we hundred percent want a rematch and want to fight again, wherever and whenever.”
Friday’s tripleheader will replay on Monday, July 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME on DEMAND®.
Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Undefeated welterweight prospect Jaron Ennis and fellow unbeaten Armando Alvarez made weight on Thursday for their 10-round main event matchup tomorrow/Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT) from WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Ennis (20-0, 18 KOs), a former National Golden Gloves Champion, is a highly-touted prospect from Philadelphia taking a major step-up in opposition against Alvarez (13-0, 7 KOs), who has knocked out six of his last seven opponents. Ennis, who has knocked out his last 10 opponents, will make his television debut in Friday’s main event.
Undefeated lightweight prospects Thomas Mattice (12-0, 10 KOs) and Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) will meet in the eight-round co-feature. Mattice returns to ShoBox for the second time after debuting on the series in February. Hamazaryan faces Mattice in only his second fight in the U.S. The Armenian native, who calls former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Sergey Lipinets a sparring partner, won his U.S. debut in February against the previously unbeaten Sergio Ramirez.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated super lightweight prospects Montana Love (11-0, 5 KOs) and once-beaten Kenneth Simms Jr. (12-1, 4 KOs) both return to the series when they face off in an eight-round clash. Love returns to ShoBox for the second time and Simms will fight for the third time after losing his undefeated record on the series a year ago. The two meet again after facing each other as teenagers.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Victory Promotions, Ringside Ticket Inc., Banner Promotions & Thompson Boxing are priced from $10-$60 and can be purchased at winnavegas.com.
Welterweights – 10 Rounds
Jaron Ennis: 145 ¾ Pounds
Armando Alvarez: 146 ¼ Pounds
Referee: Adam Pollack (Iowa); Judges: Bob LaFratte (Iowa), Mike Contreras (Neb.), Jeff Sinnett (Neb.)
Lightweights – Eight Rounds
Thomas Mattice: 134 ¾ Pounds
Zhora Hamazaryan: 134 ¾ Pounds
Referee: Adam Pollack (Iowa); Judges: Bob LaFratte (Iowa), Mike Contreras (Neb.), Jeff Sinnett (Neb.)
Super Lightweights – Eight Rounds
Montana Love: 140 Pounds
Kenneth Simms Jr.: 139 ¼ Pounds
Referee: Paul Parry (Neb.); Judges: Bob Lafratte (Iowa), Mike Contreras (Neb.), Jeff Sinnett (Neb.)
“Since I was little I’ve always felt comfortable in the ring and so relaxed. I’ve been around it for so long, watching my brothers and my dad. Boxing is all I know.
“We have a mission to accomplish for the Ennis family. That’s what keeps me grounded. Both my brothers fought on ShoBox and lost so I’m doing this for the family name.
“I looked up to Roy Jones and Floyd [Mayweather] and James Toney. I mostly watched Roy; He was my favorite fighter.
“I don’t feel the pressure. I’ve been doing this all my life and I know what it takes to be successful. I have fun doing this.”
“The pressure is all on him. I’m the B side and no one is expecting me to win, but I’m coming win.
“He is going to use my size and height but he’s a kid. I’m a grown man. I’ll be ready for whatever he has for me.
“I’m on SHOWTIME and know everyone wants to see a knockout, so that’s what I’m going to bring.”
“I don’t know anything about my opponent, but my coaches have watched some videos and we will have a plan.
“Having been on ShoBox before, I know what to expect. There will be some nerves, but I won’t be overwhelmed. I’ll be more comfortable. I’ll be a lot more comfortable.
“I’ll have to use my jab and use my distance and my range. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get the win.
“Against [Rolando] Chinea I knew if I got one shot he would go down, and that’s exactly what happened.”
“This is a step-up fight and I’m honored to be fighting in the United States.
“I got some great training and sparring in Los Angeles. America is the fighting mecca and all the greats eventually make it to America. Now it’s my time.
“I don’t talk much. I’m pretty quiet. I let my gloves do all the talking.
“I’ve had more than 200 amateur fights. I have strength in both hands. I’m a boxer-puncher; My style is the classic boxer-puncher.”
“This is a big opportunity for me and just another step to where I want to be in my career. Being on TV doesn’t affect me at all, not even the lights and the cameras. I love the cameras. I talked a lot during the fight last time and you’ll hear me doing the same thing again.
“I’ve sparred with Gervonta Davis and Devon Alexander. For this fight I sparred with Sonny Frederickson.
“I know [Simms] is a boxer and is going to try to outscore me and run around a lot but I don’t think he can hurt me. He doesn’t have the power.
“This fight for me is a game-changer. Another win on national TV will be a big step for me.”
“I’m a different fighter now. I started working with a strength and conditioning coach ahead of this fight. I sparred with Regis [Prograis] in Houston. This was my first time training in Houston, there is just better training there than in Chicago.
“I’m making 140 pounds easy. This feels like a new beginning for me. Even though it’s been a year since I last fought, I don’t think there will be any rust.”
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Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.