When crowd-pleasing bantamweight prospect Chris Avalos, 18-1 (15 KO’s), steps into the squared circle Friday evening at Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, California, and live on ShoBox: The New Generation at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) on SHOWTIME, against Khabir Suleymanov, he understands the importance of being on his A game.
Last August, Avalos dropped a hotly contested split decision to Christopher Martin on ShoBox, and is returning to the series for the first time since his lone defeat.
Following the setback against Martin, he’s since racked up two consecutive wins by knockout while making adjustments along the way. More importantly, Avalos recognizes what’s expected from him and the necessity of putting on a good show.
“I know a lot of people are expecting me to come back strong,” said the Lancaster, California, native. “I need to go out there and give (Suleymanov) hell.”
Dubbed “The Crazy Russian”, Suleymanov has a reputation for coming to fight and being relentless inside the ring. At 11-0 with 5 knockouts, Suleymanov most recently stopped 16-2-1 Javier Gallo and has what it takes to present Avalos with a serious challenge.
“I’ve seen Suleymanov spar before and he’s a good fighter,” Avalos said of the Los Angeles-based Russian. “He’s a dirty fighter. He’s a good inside fighter but (takes) a ton of uppercuts, so I plan to mix it up in there. I’ll box a little, brawl a little and confuse him.”
The Avalos-Suleymanov bout is scheduled for ten rounds and is part of a special triple header that also includes a 10-round main event between top cruiserweight contenders Lateef “Power” Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) and Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (20-2, 14 KOs) and Archie Ray Marquez (12-0, 8 KOs), of Albuquerque, N.M., and Armenian-born Art “Lionheart” Hovanessian (13-0, 7 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., clashing in an eight-round battle of unbeaten lightweights.