NEW YORK (June 29, 2006) – Some of the best 168-pound prospects in the world are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament on “ShoBox: The New Generation” to determine the top super middleweight contender. In the first professional boxing tournament televised on the “ShoBox” series, eight young prizefighters will attempt to win three consecutive 10-round bouts in order to put themselves on the doorstep of a world title.
The tournament begins with two 10-round bouts each night on Friday, July 28, and Friday, Aug. 4, 2006, at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from the PFTC Sports Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The winners of the four opening-round matches will advance to the semifinals on the October 6, 2006, “ShoBox” telecast from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. The two victorious semi-finalists will meet in the final bout in early 2007.
The international field of fighters set to compete is as follows. Match-ups and a tournament bracket will be released in the coming days.
· Jean Paul Mendy (21-0, 11 KOs) of France (French super middleweight champion)
· Sakio Bika (20-1-2, 14 KOs) of Australia (coming off a draw in a world title bout)
· Anthony Hanshaw (19-0, 13 KOs) of U.S.A. (former amateur standout)
· Esteban Camou (18-1, 15 KOs) of Mexico (Mexican 168-pound champion)
· Jose Luis Herrera (14-1, 14 KOs) of Columbia (Colombian super middleweight champ)
· Henry Buchanan (13-0, 11 KOs) of U.S.A. (won his initial 10 starts by KO)
· Dallas Vargas (21-2, 15 KOs) of U.S.A. (opened career with 14 consecutive wins)
· Lucas Arias (11-0, eight KOs) of Costa Rica (brings five-fight KO streak into U.S. debut)
“The idea of the tournament is to get together some of the best and brightest prospects in the division and have them face off against one another with the eventual winner turning into a consensus top-rated contender,” said “ShoBox’’ Executive Producer Gordon Hall.
“Back in the day, fighters had to fight tough competition and win to raise their ratings,” said Gary Shaw, who will promote the tournament in association with Round One Entertainment and the McDonald Family Foundation. “In our super middleweight tournament, that day has returned. No politics and no attrition. These guys are going to raise their ratings the old-fashioned way. They’re going to earn it.”
“The 168-pound division is full of young, exciting and talented fighters,” said “ShoBox” blow-by-blow announcer, Nick Charles. “This single-elimination tournament will provide some clarity as to the prospects with the greatest potential to become a world champion. As the winners advance, they will gain not only experience in the ring, but valuable exposure on national television.”
“Everybody loves a tournament, but there are very few of them in boxing,” said “ShoBox’’ expert analyst Steve Farhood. “This super middleweight tournament could start a mini-trend. We have superb, albeit as of yet undiscovered, 168-pounders, with excellent records. With three consecutive wins, all against quality opposition, one of them is going to emerge as a legitimate contender.
“The fun part of a tournament is the draw, and then looking ahead to possible matchups. Having the quarter-finals on consecutive Friday nights will add to the excitement. This should be fantastic.’’
The critically-acclaimed series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001 as a proving ground for up-and-coming fighters determined to eventually fight for a world title. “ShoBox” features young prospects matched tough. A number of fighters who have appeared on the series have gone on to become world champions, including Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, Leonard Dorin, Joan Guzman, Scott Harrison and Jeff Lacy.
Blow-by-blow announcer Nick Charles and expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood will call the action from ringside. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.