SHELTON, Wash. (Dec. 19, 2014) – The eight fighters who will compete on SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 20, made weight Friday at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash.
In the 12-round main event, southpaw interim WBA Featherweight World Champion Jesus Andres “El Jinete” Cuellar (25-1, 19 KOs), of Buenos Aires, Argentina, will seek his ninth victory in a row when he defends against Ruben “Canelito” Tamayo (23-4-4, 15 KOs), of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico.
World-ranked featherweight Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md., returns to the ring to meet former California State Champion Christopher Martin (28-4-3, 9 KOs) of Chula Vista, Calif., in the 10-round co-feature.
In other action, promising undefeated world-class prospect Julian “J Rock” Williams (17-0-1, 10 KOs), 24, of Philadelphia, will be opposed by Jamar Freeman (13-3-2, 7 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., in a 10-round super welterweight clash and undefeated Julius “The Chef” Jackson (18-0, 14 KOs) of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, will clash with Jonathan Nelson (20-1, 10 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., in a 10-round super middleweight match.
The Weights: Cuellar tipped the scale at the division-limit 126 pounds, while Tamayo weighed 124.8 pounds; Russell weighed 126.6 pounds, Martin 126; Williams weighed 153.8 pounds, Freeman, 153.2; and Jackson weighed 168 pounds, Nelson 167.6.
What the fighters said on Friday:
JESUS CUELLAR, interim WBA Featherweight World Champion
“I’m very happy to be headlining a SHOWTIME event. This is a great opportunity for me to establish myself as a household name in the United States.
“I don’t know much about [Ruben] Tamayo other than he’s a good fighter with a good record and has two arms and two legs. I’m definitely ready for him and won’t be overlooking him.
“I’ve had a great eight-week training camp with Robert Garcia in Oxnard [Calif.]. Robert is undoubtedly one of the greatest trainers in the world. He has so much knowledge and has taught me many things that apply not only inside the ring but outside, too.”
RUBEN TAMAYO, Featherweight Contender
“I feel privileged and blessed to be getting this shot. Cuellar is a tough champion who I have a lot of respect for. But inside the ring, I will show no respect. . This is really an opportunity of a lifetime, my lifelong dream.
“I’m here to take care of business and I know exactly what I’m supposed to do. A win will open my so many doors for me. I am very confident. For sure, I think this will be the toughest fight of his career.’’
GARY RUSSELL JR. Former World Title Challenger
“I’ve been training for about two months. My hands are fine and I’m roaring to get in the ring. I’m fighting a tough guy who is definitely confident that he can upset me, which is exactly the kind of fighter I want to fight.
“I will never get over the loss to [Vasyl] Lomachenko. Even if we fight again and I beat him, I will never forget that first loss.
“I expect 2015 will be a very big year for me. I want to fight for another world title, win it, and then immediately challenge Lomachenko to a unification fight. I believe if we fight again I will win. In fact I feel if we fought 100 times, I would beat him in 99 of them.’’
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, Featherweight Prospect
“This is not an easy fight for either of us, but it is my chance to defeat one of the best featherweights in the world, so of course I am excited about the opportunity.
“I am more than ready. Training camp went great. I’m confident and excited about fighting on Saturday.’’
JULIAN WILLIAMS, Undefeated Super Welterweight
“I’m really looking forward to fighting on SHOWTIME EXTREME again. I think this is my fifth time on. I expect a good fight and to come out with a fantastic win.
“I’ve heard my opponent is pretty good. I definitely think he is better than the first guy I was supposed to fight. So there is no way I would look past him. I can’t afford to look past anybody at this point in my career.
“Even with the late change in opponents, my mindset doesn’t alter at all. I had an extensive amateur career and feel I can adjust to anybody or anything in the ring.’’
JAMAR FREEMAN, Super Welterweight Prospect
“All I’ve been waiting for since I was 13 was an opportunity like this, so it is the biggest opportunity of my life and I’m ready to take advantage. I am not nervous at all.
“This is a step-up fight for me, but I definitely feel they made a mistake in picking me on short notice. I don’t think they are going to get what they expect. I’m always in the gym training and I’m always ready.
“My reaction to getting the call the other night about this fight was ‘send the contract.’
“[Julian] Williams is definitely a very skilled fighter, but he has never been in with anybody like me. I’ll adjust to whatever he does. I’m very confident I can pull off the upset on Saturday.’’
JULIUS JACKSON, Unbeaten Super Middleweight
“Fighting on SHOWTIME is a dream come true for me. This a great opportunity to showcase my skills.
“As always, my focus is on me doing what I do best, which is going out there and performing well.
“Being the son of a former world champion and one of the hardest punchers ever is a very good thing. It adds no pressure. I’ve learned a lot from my father, who actually stresses boxing more than punching to me. He definitely wants me to box more than to just go in and exchange.”
JONATHAN NELSON, Super Middleweight Prospect
“I’m really looking forward to fighting on SHOWTIME for the first time in what is a step-up fight for me. I’ve waited a long time for a nice opportunity like this, and now that’s here I’m looking forward to being victorious.
“[Julius] Jackson is a good fighter, tall and rangy; I just plan to outbox him. Jackson has a name, but so do I, and I’m confident people will realize that after we fight.”
Advance tickets priced at $100, $50 and $30 are now on sale through the Little Creek Casino Resort through their website, www.Little-Creek.com or by calling 1-800-667-7711. The Little Creek Casino Resort is located at 91 W. State Route 108 in Shelton, Washington 98584. Doors will open on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. PT. First non-televised bout starts at 6 p.m. PT.
For more information on Goossen Promotions follow them on Twitter and Facebook @GoossenBoxing and view their new website at www.GoossenPromotions.com. For more information on SHOWTIME follow them at @ShoSports or www.facebook.com/SHOBoxing or visit www.SHO.com/sports.
Barry Tompkins will call the SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME action from ringside with boxing historian 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.