One of boxing’s top prospects, undefeated welterweight Jaron Ennis and veteran Raymond Serrano made weight just a day before their ShoBox: The New Generation 10-round main event that headlines a tripleheader live on SHOWTIME (9:35 p.m. ET/PT) from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The 21-year-old Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs) returns for his second ShoBox challenge of 2018 against Serrano (24-5, 10 KOs) in a battle of Philadelphia fighters facing off in their hometown.
The three-fight telecast features five ShoBox veterans and three fighters who call Philadelphia home. In the co-feature, a pair of ShoBox veterans meet when Chicago’s Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1-1, 4 KOs) takes on Philadelphia’s Samuel Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight bout.
Also on the card, undefeated Ukrainian Arnold Khegai (13-0-1, 9 KOs) faces New Jersey’s Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by Victory Promotions in association with Hard Hitting Promotions, are priced $50, $75 and $125 and can be purchased at 2300arena.com and hardhittingpromotions.com.
Jaron Ennis – 145 pounds – Ramond Serrano 146 3/4
Kennthe Sims Jr. 139 – Samuel Teah 130 3/4
Arnold Khegai 121 3/4 – Jorge Diaz 121 3.4
Undercard weights beginning at 6:30 PM ET
Branden Pizarro 137 1/2 lbs – Jerome Rodriguez 140 lbs
Gadwin Rosa 129 3/4 lbs – German Meraz 128 1/2
Kieran Hooks 149 1/4 lbs – Gledwin Ortiz 149 1/2
Christian Tapia 134 1/2 – Darnell Pettis 133 1/2
Benny Sinakin 171 3/4 lbs – Darren Gibbs 172 1/2
David Stevens 193 1/4 – Judd Brown 188 3/4
** NOTE: Referees and judges for the three televised fights have yet to be determined.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting in front of my hometown fans. There is going to be a packed-house and I’m so excited for this fight. Some fighters don’t like the pressure of fighting in front of their own people, but I can’t wait to show out. I will definitely have no trouble getting up for this fight.
“A Philly fighter is a different kind of fighter. A Philly fighter is going to bring it to you and show off their abilities. I feel like we are the best fighters. There’s a lot of pride in being from here. I get to put on for Philly and show SHOWTIME and the world my talents. Philly fighters always come to fight.
“I don’t know too much about Serrano. I never worry about my opponent or watch tape or anything. We don’t prepare for one guy, we mix it up in the gym because you never know how the guy is going to fight on fight night. We prepare for everything.
“He thinks he has more experience than me. No, he doesn’t. I grew up in this sport. I’ve been in the gym since I was in a jumper. I’ve seen it all. I got to see my brothers fight growing up. I’ve sparred pros since I was 12-years-old. They always say I don’t have the experience and I’ve never fought anybody. We’ll see. There’s nothing this guy can do.
“I’m just going to keep winning and knocking guys out until I get to the point where I can fight a contender. I’m ready right now, but I know I have to be patient. I’m only 21-years-old, so I have time but we’re ready right now.
“This fight is definitely going to be something different, I promise you that it’s not lasting long. I’m so focused, I’m ready to rock and roll. I can’t wait.”
“Right now, I feel like I’m in a position where I can compete against any of the top guys. I fought Alex Saucedo, and honestly, I thought I won that fight. I believe after that fight, it took me to another level. My confidence grew and I knew that I could compete with anybody.
“I feel comfortable going forward and putting pressure on. If I have to box, I can box too. I feel comfortable being on the inside now, and it hasn’t always been that way.
“I’ve been in the position where I’ve been fighting undefeated guys. Everybody is against me but I love that. He’s the one with all the pressure, he has to prove that he’s as good as everybody says he is. He’s never seen anybody like me. Everybody he’s fought recently, I beat them years ago.
“Ennis looks good. He’s a strong fighter that’s coming to fight but so will I. I think this will be a good fight. My last fight, I was fighting the best fight of my career before it had to be stopped. I went into [Gerome] Quigley’s hometown and I was winning that fight.
“There’s going to be a lot of people in the crowd that want to see me lose. Ennis is the hot prospect with all the fans, but I think I may switch some people’s opinion. Beating Ennis will put me in the position to fight anybody.
“His chin has never been tested. I’ve never seen him uncomfortable in any fight, it’s all been pretty easy for him. I will test him.”
KENNETH SIMS JR.:
“I’m really disappointed to be 1-1-1- on ShoBox. I feel like I should be 2-1, I should have won the fight I drew. But I do think the loss was a really good learning experience, and I needed it. It really helped me learn more about myself and what I need to do better. There’s always more to learn.
“I need to get physically stronger. I’m working on my strength and conditioning right now. When I fought Montana [Love], I only had been training with my new strength and conditioning coach for three weeks. Now, I’ve had the full camp with him. I’m learning more about my body and how important rest is and not to just always push myself too hard.
“When I transitioned to being a pro, I really needed to learn how to relax. When I first fought on TV, I put so much pressure on myself to perform and there was a lot of expectations.
“Every fight is a fight that I need to impress in. Every fight, I want to show something different. I’m known for my speed, but I feel like I haven’t shown all of my skills onShoBox yet.
“I feel like Teah is going to try to press me. I don’t think he’s going to realize how strong I really am. I just want to make him work, and I don’t want to give him any down time. I don’t want to let him rest.
“I just really like fighting. When I was younger, my dad had to remind me that I’m a boxer, and I’m good at boxing. But I couldn’t help it, I just wanted to fight. Now, I’ve realized that I need to be a boxer.
“I’m always active. Even when I’m not training, I stay in the gym and I spar once a week. Training in Houston has been great, being around other professionals that are trying to do the same thing as me is great for my development. I train with O’Shaquie Foster, we’ve known each other since we were little and we really push each other in the gym.
“I watched him fight Montana [Love], and I watched him fight O’Shaquie. I think he’s a good fighter, but I want to make him doubt himself right from the beginning.”
“I was under the weather my last fight. I don’t want to make excuses, but my inactivity lost that fight not what he did. I was fighting very conservatively, instead of just putting everything on the line. I was too worried about tiring myself out and that was one of the key factors in deciding that fight. I’m one hundred percent for this fight and it will be a different story.
“I feel like this is my biggest stage yet. I’ve fought in Vegas, but this is as big as it gets for me. Everybody that knows me and has followed my career will either be here at the arena or watching on TV.
“I watched him fight live once here in Philadelphia. I’ve seen him box and I’ve seen him brawl and try to be the matador. He’s a great fighter, he’s very versatile. I don’t think he has great power, but he can box. I think his stamina might be an issue. He works at a very high rate, but I know he can’t keep that pace for the entire fight. The pace will drop after a couple rounds, and then it will become a more technical fight.
“He can watch all the tape on me that he wants, he’s never seen the type of performance he’s going to get tomorrow night. You guys will see the real Tsunami.”
“I was nervous my first fight on ShoBox, but all the nerves are gone, this time I’m going to show what I’m really about.
“In my last fight, I just wanted to show that I could outbox somebody in America. That’s what I did, and now I’m really going to show what I’m all about.
“It’s a totally different level in the U.S. The fighters are much stronger than in Moscow. It’s also much more professional with all of the medical treatment and the facilities. I think it will help me that I’ve already fought here in the U.S., I know exactly what to expect and I know what the atmosphere will be like.
“I only know that Diaz fought Adam Lopez, the same opponent that I had. I’ve watched him a little bit, and I see this as a war. I think we’re going to brawl with each other, and it will be a really interesting fight.
“If I win this fight in style, then either the next fight or the one after I think I’ll be in position to fight a real contender.”
“I haven’t fought in a year, but I’ll be as sharp as I’ve ever been tomorrow night. I’ve been in the gym training non-stop, and I’ve gotten my nutrition and my training right. We’ve been very rigorous with our nutrition, in terms of what we put in our body. I’m ready to go.
“I used to be just a fighter. I didn’t know about the Sweet Science of boxing and about what separates the good boxers from the great ones: rhythm, distance and timing. It’s not about who runs the fastest, otherwise lions and tigers would be running the world. It’s about your intelligence. And that’s what I needed to learn and what I have finally figured out.
“Arnold [Khegai] is in over his head. I’ve watched tape. He’s a basic fighter. He comes forward. He doesn’t know how to box moving backwards. He doesn’t know anything about rhythm, distance and timing. We’re going to outbox him, but it’s going to look aggressive.
“This is the most important fight of my life. This guy is standing between me and everything that I want. He’s standing between me and the well-being of my family and all of my dreams.”
19-year-old junior welterweight prospect, Branden “The Gift” Pizarro, is looking to impress a sold-out crowd this Friday night at The 2300 Arena when he takes on Jerome Rodriguez in a six-round bout for the NBA Intercontinental title.
The bout will precede a ShoBox: The New Generation card that airs live on SHOWTIME (9:35 PM E.T / P.T).
In the main event, undefeated welterweight Jaron Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs) takes on Raymond Serrano (24-5, 10 KOs) in a ten-round bout. In the co-feature of Friday’s live telecast, ShoBox veterans Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1-1, 4 KOs) and Samuel Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs) meet in an eight-round super lightweight bout. Undefeated Ukrainian Arnold Khegai opens the three-fight card when he takes on New Jersey’s Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
Pizarro, of Philadelphia, is one of the top prospects in his weight division and has been preparing for a pinpoint performance.
“Camp was great. We had a full, six-week camp after my last fight, which took place on October 6th. I am ready for Friday,” said Pizarro.
In Rodriguez, he is facing a battle tested fighter who has opposed 10 undefeated foes, including Pizarro’s Hard Hitting Promotions stablemate Jeremy Cuevas in his last bout, which also took place on the same October 6th card.
“Rodriguez is a southpaw. He is a humble, good guy, who is tough. We looked at the tape of when he fought Cuevas. Usually my team is presented a few guys and he was the first guy. People who know me, I always take the first guy.”
With an expected sold-out crowd on hand in Philadelphia, Pizarro goes about his business to look good no matter what the stakes are. But being featured on television in the future is not the most important thing at this stage of the young prospect’s career.
“I am in no rush. I just turned 19. When my dad, who is my trainer and the rest of my team feel I am ready for that, then it will happen. We are just slow walking now. I just want to thank all of my supporters, and just expect a great performance. This is a great event, and Friday night will be a great night for me.”
Gadwin Rosa (8-0, 7 KOs), of Ocala, Fla. takes on 113-fight veteran German Meraz of Sonorea, Mex. in a six-round battle for the NBA Intercontinental title.
Kieran Hooks (3-1-1, 1 KO), of Philadelphia, will fight Gledwin Ortiz (5-2, 4 KOs), of Bronx, N.Y., in a welterweight bout.
Christian Tapia (6-0, 5 KOs), of Coamo, Puerto Rico, fights Darnell Pettis (3-12), of Cleveland, in a super featherweight contest.
Light heavyweight Benny Sinakin (1-0), of Philadelphia, will face Darren Gibbs (1-5, 1 KO), of Ferndale, Mich.
David Stevens of Reading, Penn. will make his pro debut against Dustin Long (0-1-2), of Johnson City, Tenn. in a cruiserweight battle.
Also seeing action against an opponent to be named will be super bantamweight Angel Pizarro, of Philadelphia.