On a night when five of the six fighters were making their debuts on ShoBox: The New Generation, newcomers Rob “Bravo” Brant and Jarrell ‘Big Baby” Miller remained undefeated and the one ShoBox returnee, Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson, won his seventh in a row Friday live on SHOWTIME at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.
Brant (18-0, 11 KOs), of St. Paul, Minn., withstood a late, sustained rally from Louis “The Unknown” Rose (13-3, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, to win a close, hard-fought 10-round majority decision in the ShoBox main event.
In a pair of explosive matches in the scheduled eight-round co-features, undefeated heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (15-0-1, 13 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., knocked out Ahror “Aha” Muralimov (14-2, 11 KOs), of Houston, Texas via Uzbekistan in the third round and southpaw Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson (17-3, 11 KOs), of Cedar Hills, Texas, dropped Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell (15-2 8 KOs), of Atlantic City three times en route to an impressive second-round TKO.
Brant, who won the majority of the early rounds, triumphed by the scores of 96-94 twice and 95-95. There were no knockdowns in the close, competitive match that could have gone either way. In the toughest fight to date for both boxers, Brant was more accurate while Rose was much busier and more active.
“Credit to Brant for taking a fight that virtually everyone thought would be close and competitive, and it turned out to be exactly that,’’ ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood said afterward. “And credit Rose for coming on in the second half of the fight and being a threat to yet another undefeated prospect. Both fighters fought well, and in the case of Brant he needs to learn from this experience, throw a few more left hooks and grow as a prospect. And only time will tell if he grows from this experience.”
Brant, making his fifth start of the year, went 10 rounds for the first time in a pro career that began in November 2010.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight,’’ said Brant, the 2010 National Golden Gloves champion at 178 pounds and a member of the U.S. national boxing team who’d won his previous five fights by knockout. “Every time I thought I had him hurt he would come back. I had to keep my composure in there and stick to the game plan. I think my jab was key tonight. It really helped me keep the pace and set up my punches.
“In the second half I slowed the pace and picked my shots to win the fight. It was a great learning experience. I need to get right back in the gym and continue to progress.”
The defeat was a bitter one for Rose, who rose from being homeless six years ago into a legitimate prospect at 160 pounds.
“This is very disappointing, I really don’t feel like talking,’’ said Rose, who had beaten six undefeated fighters in a career that began in November 2011. “I thought I did enough to win. I had him backing up and hurt from the sixth round on. Obviously, I want a rematch.”
Miller, making his fifth start in 2015, stopped Muralimov with a single, devastating right hand to the chin at 1:03 in the third round of a fast-paced slugfest that featured give-and-take action during the first six minutes. Muralimov seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges in the first and Miller was getting off better during the second.
“I’m a warrior,’’ said Miller, a former professional kickboxer. “I want knockouts. I don’t want decisions. This was a tough guy tonight. Anybody that can take a smash in the mouth like he did and keep coming back shows that he came to win.
“I am willing and ready to fight any of the top heavyweights.’’
Muralimov, who got in his fair share of heavy shots, had success boxing and moving side to side. He worked the body well. Then, he got caught and that was that.
“He just beat me, what can I say. Of course, this is disappointing,’’ said Muralimov, who lost for a second straight time. “I was in great shape and thought I was ready. I know I should have continued to work the body more. ‘’
In the opening bout of the telecast, Clarkson dropped Harvell twice in the last minute of the first with right hooks before decking and finishing him with a left-right combo at 0:48 of the second.
“”I knew the knockout was coming, I just didn’t know when,’’ Clarkson said. “I think my straight left was the difference – it set up the big rights for me. We’ve been working on throwing straight shots instead of looping punches and it came together tonight.
“I take it one fight at a time, but I’m ready to get back in the ring and fight whoever they put in front of me.”
Harvell, who was fighting his first scheduled eight-rounder, had a two-fight winning streak end. “I feel fine. I’m good,’’ he said. “But this is very disappointing. Just to lose makes it hard.’’
The event was presented by Greg Cohen Promotions and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions in association with Iron Boy Promotions, GH3 Promotions, Fight Card Promotions, Salita Promotions and Winner Take All Productions.
The ShoBox tripleheader will re-air this week as follows:
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME Extreme
Friday’s three-fight telecast will be available at SHOWTIME ON DEMAND beginning Saturday, Oct. 24.
Barry Tompkins called the ShoBox action from ringside with 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.
The six fighters who’ll be fighting on ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday, Oct. 23, live on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., made weight Thursday on their first attempts inside The Lucky Saloon at Fort McDowell Casino in Fort McDowell, Ariz. Undefeated Rob “Bravo” Brant (17-0, 11 KOs), of St. Paul, Minn., faces Louis “The Unknown” Rose (13-2-1, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, in a 10-round bout for the vacant WBC Continental Americas middleweight title in the main event. In eight-round co-features, unbeaten Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (14-0-1, 12 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., will face Ahror “Aha” Muralimov (14-1, 11 KOs), of Houston, Texas via Uzbekistan, in a heavyweight match and Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell (15-1, 8 KOs) of Atlantic City will face Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson (16-3, 10 KOs), of Cedar Hills, Texas, in a light heavyweight scrap.
A scheduled fight between unbeaten Filipino prospect Harmonito Dela Torre (16-0, 11 KOs) and Angel “El Gato” Luna (11-1-1, 6 KOs) was cancelled Wednesday due to problems with travel.
On Friday, all but Clarkson will be making their ShoBox debuts.
The Weights: Brant weighed 158½ pounds, Rose 159; Miller tipped scale at 280½ pounds, Muralimov 238; and Harvell and Clarkson both weighed 177 pounds.
Tickets for the event, presented by Greg Cohen Promotions and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions in association with Iron Boy Promotions, GH3 Promotions, Fight Card Promotions, Salita Promotions and Winner Take All Productions, are priced at $65 Ringside, $50 reserved and $30 general admission and are available online at www.celebritytheatre.ticketforce.com.
Here’s what the fighters had to say prior to the weigh-in:
“I’m really excited about this fight. This is definitely the biggest step-up for me in my career, fighting on a premium network and headlining for the first time. At one point, I probably didn’t think it was possible. But it’s what you work for. When you make that step from amateur to pros this is what you work for and where you want to get.
“Rose is a really tough guy, very determined, and you know he wants to win very badly. There are different circumstances and we are on opposite sides of the spectrum; he’s been homeless and knows what can happen if he doesn’t have success. He knows he has to win. He has his defensive flaws and may not have huge power but he is very athletic and must be respected.
“There is no way I take him lightly. Rose knows what he’s fighting for and what another loss could mean. I know what he’s fighting for. I fight for all my reasons, too.
“I’m not going out thinking I need to knock him out or impress anyone. I think, in victory, it will be impressive enough because of the opponent he is. That’s basically my mindset before every fight. I want the win, I know I’ll have to work to beat him but I’m not going to force it. I’ll take the “W” anyway I can.
“I like where I’m at in my career. I feel I’ve been groomed properly and that I’m improving and taking away positives from each guy I fight. I feel I’m becoming more of a puncher-boxer. In the amateurs, I relied on speed and boxing. But in the pro’s you fight differently. I’ve been staying in the pocket more.
“This is going to be a great fight on Friday night.’’
“I keep beating guys I’m not supposed to. I guess I love being the underdog. I love it when people say this and that and that I have no chance.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There’s really nothing he can do to beat me. I don’t want to go back to where I was before. This is my opportunity and I can’t let it slip away.
“This fight certainly is another step up, but I feel I am continuing to improve in all areas. I still have my looks, so I haven’t been hit in the face that much. I think my power has been the biggest difference for me. I’m hitting harder than I was before.
“I always work hard. I stay in the gym. I’m very hungry. I think this is my time. Some describe my style as awkward but I consider it more one-of-a-kind. I can box or pressure you. I think tomorrow I will be the pressure guy.
“I feel I’ve fought the better opposition. Give me his opponents and give him my opponents and see how I compare.
“I spar with tough guys. I don’t think he is better than some of the unbeaten guys I’ve fought. Brant can be totally ready but there’s nothing he’s going to be able to do that I won’t be able to do.
“This is my opportunity of a lifetime. I am going to win this fight. I’m not taking anything away from Brant – he’s still a lot better than other guys at this point. It’s going be a very rough fight. My game is to make you mad, get you off your game and then take advantage.
“I’m going to stick with nickname forever – even when I’m known.
“I’m beyond excited about fighting in the main event on ShoBox. This is a tremendous accomplishment for me. I’ve come a long way but I couldn’t have done it without discipline and a ton of hard work.”
“I was born to do this. I was born to kick ass. Some guys play football, some play basketball, but I’m here to hurt you.
“I started to box two years after my kickboxing career. Actually, I made more money kickboxing, but I’m still young so I decided to focus 100 percent on boxing. It’s not that big a transition although some of the basics were different, of course.
At 27, I feel I’ve really honed into what I’m supposed to do. I’m ready to put on a show. I am what the heavyweight division is missing. No one has bought into my story yet, my martial arts background, etc., but once they see me knocking out all these guys, they’ll remember.
“I weigh 280 pounds, but I’m not an out-of-shape 280. I’m strong and mean, solid. I swing for the fences.
‘This is a big step for me, my first eight-rounder, my first time on SHOWTIME. I really want to hurt and impress people. Maybe in a couple more fights I’ll start looking to get in some rounds. But not tomorrow. I want to not just hurt you but destroy you.
“I’m used to fighting shorter guys, I’ve sparred with them for this fight. I’ve done my homework, I’ll be fine and I’m really excited about this fight.
“I have a team that’s been there, I’m the only one who hasn’t. I want this bad, I want to hurt guys every fight, I’m looking for KO’s. I’m not one of those who say ‘if the knockout come, it comes.’ That’s not me at all. I’m not about ‘ifs.’ I’m going to bring it.”
“I know it’s important 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.
“I lost to Rossy in my last fight but he had a lot of experience and he knows how to survive. So I feel I have a lot to prove in this fight. I can’t afford to make another mistake.
“This is a good fight for me on Friday. I’m confident and ready.
“I’m honored and very excited to be fighting on my first ShoBox. This is such a major opportunity for me. You’re going to see a side of me you’ve never seen.
“This is my biggest opportunity and my toughest fight to date, fighting on ShoBox against Clarkson. It is my introduction to American boxing fans on television so it doesn’t get more exciting than that. I’ve fought two southpaws before and I’ve seen Clarkson, who I know is a good fighter.
“I’ve had management and promotional issues but they are all in the past. I’m ready to fight and want to make a good impression
“This is also my first eight-rounder, but it is a step-up fight for both of us. I like to box and use movement but I am totally prepared to fight and win.”
“I had great sparring and a lot of positive people around me for this camp. I am in a great place; everything has been great.
“We want and are always looking for the bigger fights, but this is another step, and we’re ready.
“I’ve won six straight fights. After I lost to Jesse Hart, I was listening too much to what others had to say. But now I believe in myself. I feel like my timing, skills, reflexes, everything basically, is better than ever.
“I’m not that familiar with Harvell and I’ve prepared for everything, but mostly I concentrate on what I have to do. I’ve had solid sparring so I’m really prepared for this fight.
“I’ve been knocked down and got up to win. I’ve been cut and won with blood. No one can take my heart away from me win, lose or draw. I’m a fighter. I know what it’s like to deal with adversity and win. I’ll fight anyone.’’