30.12.03 – Promoter Art Pelullo/Banner Promotions will present a sensational world championship fight card on January 3, 2004, in the Fox Theatre at Foxwoods Resort Casino, located on Route 2 in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The main event and co-featured bout will be televised on Showtime.
In the main event, WBO and WBA jr. lightweight world champion Acelino Freitas of Salvador, Brazil, will move up in weight and challenge WBO lightweight world champion Artur Grigorian of Hamburg, Germany, scheduled for 12 rounds.
Freitas is one of the most exciting and hardest-hitting boxers in the ring today. He is 34-0, with 31 knockouts, and 11-0 in world championship fights at 130 pounds. He won the WBO world title in August, 1999, and has made ten successful title defenses in his four-year reign. Freitas added the WBA world title by defeating then-champion Joel Casamayor in January, 2002.
WBO lightweight world champion “King” Artur Grigorian is undefeated at 36-0, with 22 knockouts. He has held the world title for almost eight years, since early 1996, and is 18-0 in world championship fights which include wins against former world champions Stefano Zoff and Raul Balbi. Grigorian was a 1992 Olympian and had amateur wins against current WBC super welterweight world champion Shane Mosley and former WBA lightweight world champion Leonard Dorin.
Freitas’ last fight, against Jorge Barrios on August 9, won the WBO’s honors as “2003 Fight of the Year” and earned Freitas the WBO’s award as “2003 Fighter of the Year.” It was a close, exciting battle that repeatedly brought the fans to their feet. Acelino built an early lead, but Barrios came on strong and scored a knockdown in the eighth round, won the ninth round on all three scorecards and the tenth round on two of the three, as well. Barrios scored another knockdown early in the eleventh round that put Acelino flat on his back and seemed to put the finishing touch on a tremendous upset. But just before the bell ended the round, Acelino scored an electrifying knockdown – a devastating right hand momentarily froze Barrios in his tracks, then dropped him flat on his face. Barrios somehow managed to continue into the twelfth round, but Acelino scored another knockdown and the referee stopped the fight at 0:50. After 11 rounds, the fight was scored 106-103 Freitas, 106-104 Barrios, 105-105.
The co-featured bout could stand on its own as a main event – J. C. Candelo of Denver, Colorado, will fight Kassim Ouma of West Palm Beach, Florida, in a 12-round elimination bout for the IBF’s No. 1 ranking and status as mandatory world title challenger at 154 pounds.
Candelo, now 26-5-3, with 18 knockouts, has given sensational performances and built tremendous momentum in recent fights. He is coming off a knockout win in his last fight on July 26 against contender Julio Garcia. Candelo is currently ranked IBF No. 2, WBC No. 6, WBO No. 7, and No. 8 by The Ring and the WBA.
Ouma, now 18-1-1, 1 ND, with 12 knockouts, has also been on a sizzling hot streak and is undefeated in his last 11 fights – 9-0-1, 1 ND – which include wins against contenders Angel Hernandez, Verno Phillips and Alex Bunema. Kassim is currently ranked IBF No. 1, WBC No. 4, The Ring No. 6 and WBA No. 11.
An exciting lineup of supporting bouts will complete the card. All bouts are subject to change without notice.
Doors open at 6:30 P.M., first fight at 7:30 P.M.
Ticket prices: $75, $100, $125.
Tickets available at: Foxwoods Resort Casino Box Office – 800-200-2882.