Hall of Famer “Iron” Mike Tyson is the youngest World Heavyweight Champion of all-time and in 1987 he was voted “World’s Most Popular Athlete.” The living legend became a boxing promoter last year, partnering with Garry Jonas to form Iron Mike Productions, which has announced its new monthly boxing series, “KO Kings of Tomorrow,” starting February 22, at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Tyson, of course, isn’t the first world champion who turned to promoting after retiring from the ring. He joined a select list of fighters who became boxing promoters, including Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali (see photo gallery below), Roy Jones, Jr., Oscar de la Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Tyson also announced that he will perform his acclaimed one-man show, “Undisputed Truth,” on Feb. 20 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center.
The IMP boxing series will be broadcast worldwide as low-cost pay-per-view events over Universal Streaming Network, live from Sands Bethlehem Event Center, for only $4.99 via http://www.ustream.tv/universalstreamingnetwork.
The Feb. 22nd “KO Kings of Tomorrow” is loaded from top to bottom, featuring many of the top contenders and prospects in the world. World-rated featherweight Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero (14-1, 11 KOs) takes on Mexican invader Jose Angel “Pepe” Beranza (36-28-2, 28 KOs) in the 10-round main event. The World Boxing Association (WBA) rates Marrero, a native of the Dominican Republic, as its No. 9 rated 126-pounder in the world. The slick southpaw lost a close 12-round decision (116-111, 115-112, 114-113) in his last fight (August 23, 2013) to Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar for the WBA Interim title.
Two-time Dominican Republic Olympian Juan Carlos Payano (14-0, 8 KOs) faces battle-tested Mexican veteran German “Panteonero” Meraz (46-28-1, 25 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. Payano had more than 520 amateur matches and he is currently the WBA’s top-rated contender (No. 2, the top spot is unrated), as well as ranked No. 10 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and No. 15 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
One of the best prospects in the world, Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (2-0, 2 KOs), meets Mississippi’s upset-minded Tirobio Ball (4-1-1, 1 KO) in a four-round Special Welterweight Attraction. Lubin, fighting out of Orlando (FL), was considered Team USA’s No. 1 overall prospect for the 2016 Olympics prior to him signing a promotional contract with Iron Mike Productions last October 1 on his 18th birthday. The explosive southpaw captured a gold medal at the 2012 National PAL Championships, among his many significant accomplishments as an amateur boxer.
Cuban light heavyweight Humberto “El Don” Savigne (11-8, 8 KOs), fighting out of Miami, squares off against former world title challenger Tommy Karpency (21-4-1, 14 KOs) in another 10-round bout. Savigne is rated No. 4 by the WBA. Karpency is a local favorite from Adah, Pennsylvania, who took then-World Boxing Organization (WBO) 175-pound champion Nathan Cleverly the full distance in 2012.
Another powerful southpaw, Cuban-born super featherweight Alexei “The Mexican-Cuban” Collado (17-0, 16 KOs) puts his undefeated record on the line against tough Mexican veteran Edgar “Basuras” Riovalle (36-16-2, 25 KOs) in an eight-round match-up. The 25-year-old Collado, who defected to Ireland and now lives in Miami, has stopped all but one of his 17 opponents as a professional. Riovalle has been knocked out only once in his last 14 fights dating back to 2010.
Another standout IMP prospect, Orlando featherweight Dennis Galarza (2-0, 1 KO), plans to continue impressing in a scheduled four-rounder versus Jesus Gonzalez (1-1), of Mexico. Also fighting on the undercard in a six-rounder are a pair of unbeaten welterweights, popular Moossen (PA) resident “The Who Can Mexican” Samuel Vasquez (11-0, 7 KOs), the two-time All-Army and Armed Forces Champion, and Dominican Republic fighter Berlin “The Rock” Abreau (7-0., 5 KOs). Azerbaijan middleweight Farid Aghaev will make his pro debut in a four-round fight vs. an opponent to be determined.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets priced at $200.00, $125.00, $75.00 and $50.00 are on sale and available to purchase at the Sands Event Center Bethlehem Box Office, http://sandseventcenter.com/event/details/ko-kings-of-tomorrow-featuring-mike-tyson/, all TicketMaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, or call 1-800-745-3000.