EL PASO, TEXAS (March 20) – In 2011, former Mexican Olympian Abner Mares left his mark on the professional boxing world by winning and defending his first world championship at bantamweight against former World Champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko. Now, on Saturday, April 21 Mares will get his shot for a world title in a second weight class as he moves up in weight to take on former Two-Time World Champion Eric “Little Hands of Steel” Morel of Puerto Rico, in a 12-round bout for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight World Championship at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas in a fight which will be televised live on SHOWTIME®.
Plus, Panama’s WBA Bantamweight Super World Champion Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno defends his crown for the tenth time against Mexico’s David “Morita” de la Mora in the 12-round televised co-feature. Opening the SHOWTIME Championship Boxing broadcast will be a 10-round featherweight matchup which will see unbeaten Gary Russell Jr., the consensus 2011 “Prospect of the Year” award winner, look to continue his meteoric rise against Dat Nguyen in a fight originally scheduled for February 11 as a co-feature to Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II, but that was postponed after a Berto injury caused a postponement of the event.
“Mares vs. Morel: Battle on the Border” is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight World Championship set for Saturday, April 21 at UTEP’s Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The co-featured fights will see Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno vs. David de la Mora in a 12-round fight for Moreno’s WBA Bantamweight Super Championship and 2011 “Prospect of the Year” Gary Russell Jr. vs. Dat Nguyen in 10-round featherweight fight. The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The SHOWTIME Championship Boxing tripleheader airs live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Just prior to the action on SHOWTIME, preliminary bouts will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets, priced at $25, $50, $75 and $150, are available for purchase at the UTEP Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, please call: (915) 747-5234.
“I’m ready to make an impact in the super bantamweight division,” said Mares. “I’m ready for anybody and everybody.”
“I feel better than ever,” said Morel. “I’m a better fighter today than I was 10 years ago. I always train hard and I’m always motivated. On April 21, I will become a world champion again and I will rock El Paso!”
“We are extremely excited about this tremendous triple-header that we are putting together for April 21,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “Whether you are watching it at the Don Haskins Center or at home on SHOWTIME, this is definitely a ‘can’t miss’ night of boxing.”
“The UTEP Don Haskins Center welcomes Golden Boy Promotions and SHOWTIME,” said Jorge Vazquez Executive Director, UTEP Special Events. “We are excited to host such an important boxing event in our city and our arena. We anticipate great attendance and encourage people to purchase their tickets and be part of history in the making.”
Unbeaten in 24 fights, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico native Abner Mares (23-0-1, 13 KO’s) first made his name as a member of Mexico’s 2004 Olympic team, but he didn’t truly show off his amazing talent until he began fighting the top professional bantamweights in the world. Mares fought to a controversial draw with Yonnhy Perez in his first world title fight in 2010, and after decisioning Vic Darchinyan for the WBC Silver Bantamweight title later that year, he set the stage for his IBF Bantamweight World Title winning effort against Joseph King Kong Agbeko in August of 2011 to win SHOWTIME’s Bantamweight Tournament. In his most recent fight on December 3, 2011, Mares repeated his win over Agbeko, successfully defending his crown. Now it’s time for the 26-year-old Mares to seek out a new challenge, a world title in a second weight class, as he moves up to super bantamweight.
San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Eric “Little Hands of Steel” Morel (46-2, 23 KO’s) has defied the odds in recent years, showing that a fighter over 30 can not only compete with the best, but also beat the best. Now 36 years young, the longtime former Flyweight World Champion has been taking out all comers, winning 11 straight since his last defeat to Martin Castillo in 2005. Among his list of vanquished foes are Heriberto Ruiz, Luis Maldonado and Gerry Penalosa, who he defeated for the WBO Interim Bantamweight World title in 2010. On April 21, the former Two-Time World Champion will attack the unbeaten Mares with skill and experience in an effort to hand him his first professional defeat.
One of boxing’s most respected world champions, 26-year-old southpaw Anselmo Moreno (32-1-1, 11 KO’s) of Panama City, Panama has reigned over the bantamweight division since 2008, defending his WBA Championship nine times against the likes of Lorenzo Parra, Nehomar Cermeno, Mahyar Monshipour and Wladimir Sidorenko. Unbeaten since his eighth professional fight in 2002, Moreno scored the biggest win of his career last December, decisioning former World Champion Vic Darchinyan over 12 rounds.
“I’m very excited to make my tenth title defense against a great fighter like De La Mora,” said Moreno. “I’m preparing extremely hard to keep my belt and to prove once again that I’m the best fighter in the world at 118 pounds.”
Fighting out of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, David de la Mora (24-1, 17 KO’s) is a concussive puncher who has 10 knockout victories in two rounds or less over the course of his five-year career. Just 23-years-old, the former WBC Fecarbox bantamweight titleholder fought for a world title last August, but lost a controversial 12-round decision in Japan to local favorite Koki Kameda. After rebounding with a seventh round stoppage of Eddy Julio in December, De La Mora is ready for his second title shot.
“I’m very grateful to be working with Golden Boy Promotions and for this great opportunity,” said De La Mora. “I’m training in the mountains outside of Mexico City just like all of our great champions. I dedicate this fight to Mexico and I will win.”
Named the 2011 “Prospect of the Year” by ESPN, Sports Illustrated and The Ring Magazine, 23-year-old Gary Russell Jr. (19-0, 11 KO’s) earned those accolades the old fashioned way – by fighting. The Maryland southpaw was 6-0 last year, fighting as often as possible, dazzling fans and opponents alike along the way with his incredible hand speed. Now ready to make his move on the featherweight elite, Russell can’t wait to surpass his 2011 campaign with even bigger wins in 2012.
“Since this fight was rescheduled, it just gives me more time to get ready,” said Russell. “There is nothing in this weight division that I haven’t seen before and there is no way that he can prepare for me.”
Vietnam native Dat Nguyen (17-2, 6 KO’s) is an ultra-tough competitor known for his straight-ahead style and willingness to go toe-to-toe with anyone who steps into the ring with him. The winner of six of his last seven bouts, the 29-year-old, who now makes his home in Vero Beach, Florida, is hoping that a win over the unbeaten Russell will be the catalyst for a 2012 to remember for him.
“I’m in my prime,” said Nguyen. “You’ll see the best from me on April 21.”
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