Back-to-back three-fight telecasts. On opposite coasts. Twelve top-flight boxers with a combined record of 181-11-2 and 111 KOs in six exciting fights. All on the one and only ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME®. Weeks before it celebrates its 10th anniversary, there will be an unprecedented double airing of ShoBox — with three-fight telecasts on SHOWTIME on consecutive evenings — Friday, June 10 (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) in Central California and a special Saturday edition on June 11 (10:35 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) in New York City.
It is the first time the popular, critically acclaimed boxing series which has spawned 42 world champions will go two nights in a row – much less with fistic tripleheaders on each and 3,000 miles apart.
In the June 10 main event, hard-hitting Lateef Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) will risk his unblemished record against the more experienced Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (20-2, 14 KOs) of Providence, R.I., in a 10-round cruiserweight bout at Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif. Other bouts on a Gary Shaw Productions-promoted event: Chris Avalos (18-1, 15 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., faces undefeated Khabir “Crazy Russian” Suleymanov (11-0, 5 KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Chelybinsk, Russia in a 10-round super bantamweight match 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., clash in an eight-round battle of unbeaten lightweights.
The June 11 show features four Puerto Rican fighters on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. In the featured attraction, Hector “El Flaco” Sanchez (19-1, 9 KOs), of Santuce, P.R., will be opposed by Vincent Arroyo (11-1, 7 KOs), of Rio Piedras, P.R. in a 10-round junior welterweight scrap at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. The card co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw Productions will include a 10-round featherweight affair between promising Luis Orlando “Orlandito” Del Valle (12-0,10 KOs), of Bayamon, P.R., and his toughest foe to date, Dat “Be Dat’’ Nguyen (17-1, 6 KOs) of Vietnam, and an eight-rounder pitting 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, power-punching Jonathan Gonzalez (13-0, 13 KOs), of Rio Piedras, against Colombian Richard Gutierrez (26-6-1, 16 KOs), of Miami ,in a middleweight match.
Says Farhood, who has called every ShoBox telecast, “I’m really looking forward to going back-to-back nights. Anything different is fun, and this is certainly different since it has never been done. Doing a show again in New York is great. We haven’t done one there in a few years.”
Regarding the fights, Farhood says “Kayode needed the scare he got last time on Shobox. Now he knows for sure he can’t overpower everybody. I’m anxious to see if he’s learned from the experience. But with Godfrey, he’ll be in with the toughest he’s ever been in. Underneath, there are two exciting, young fighters who’ve produced explosive victories on Shobox so that makes me anxious to see them again.
“On Saturday, Arroyo is a live underdog, if an underdog at all, and he’s coming off an impressive win over Willie Nelson on ShoBox in April. Gonzalez is a very young fighter with a perfect KO record so as he moves up we’ll see how legit his KO record is.’’
Kayode will be appearing on ShoBox for a fourth time and at Chumash for a fifth. The highly regarded Freddie Roach-trained puncher-boxer of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Lagos, Nigeria, had a 14-fight knockout streak end in his most recent fight when he had to settle for a unanimous 10-round decision over the awkward but elusive Nicholas Iannuzzi last Feb. 4 on ShoBox at Chumash. It was the only time since his pro debut on Aug. 15, 2008, that Kayode, 28, had not been victorious inside the distance.
“The decision is fine,” said Kayode after winning by the scores of 98-91, 97-92 and 95-94. “It was a good fight. I learned more from going the distance.’’
Godfrey, 30, has a distinct class advantage and has won a few minor titles. He has been knocked down twice in his career only to get up and win. His only losses were against hometown favorites in fights in Germany — to WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck on a fifth-round TKO in his last start on Aug. 21, 2010, in Erfurt, and on a 12-round decision to Rudolf Kraj in a WBC eliminator in March 2008 in Krefeld. Godfrey, a six-time New England Golden Gloves champion, had more than 200 amateur bouts.
Avalos will be making his sixth start at Chumash and fifth on ShoBox. A pro since February 2008, the 21-year-old has won two consecutive fights since suffering his lone defeat on a 10-round split decision to fellow unbeaten Christopher Martin on Aug. 6, 2010, on ShoBox in Hinckley, Minn. Avalos won a third-round technical decision over Cecilio Santos in his last outing on Dec. 11, 2010 on the non-televised undercard of the SHOWTIME Bantamweight Tournament.
Suleymanov, 30, will be making his ShoBox debut. He captured the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) crown in his last start with a thrilling ninth-round knockout over Francisco Gallo on Oct. 22, 2010, in Glendale, Calif. Suleymanov floored Gallo with a right hand late in the round. Gallo made it to his feet but could not continue and the referee stopped the bout at 2:59. A former top kickboxer, Suleymanov turned pro in September 2006. He and his twin brother, Sabir, made it to the bantamweight finals of the 2005 New York Golden Gloves. Rather than fight each other, both were awarded gold medals.
Marquez, one of the most talented boxers to come out of Albuquerque in years, went 2-0 in 2010 and will be making his third appearance on ShoBox. In his last effort on April 2, the highly regarded 22-year-old registered a unanimous eight-round decision over Johnny Frazier in Bernalillo, N.M. Marquez went 115-15 in the amateurs. His pro debut came in March 2005.
The Armenian-born Hovhanessian will be making his ShoBox debut. An aggressive-minded, 29-year-old former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao has won 11 consecutive fights and five of his last six inside the distance, including a fifth-round knockout over Luis Lugo last April 23 in Los Angeles. Hovhanessian turned pro in April 2006 and fought his initial three fights in France. The draw came in his third fight.
The comebacking Sanchez, of Rio Piedras, will be making just his third start since December 2008 and first since a shocking fifth-round TKO loss to Cleotis Pendarvis on April 2, 2010, in Las Vegas. A two-time Puerto Rican national champion and the 2000 Junior Olympic Bronze medalist, Sanchez compiled an amateur record of 72-10 before going pro in March 2005. Sanchez’ most notable victory came on an eight-round decision over former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop’’ Corley on April 10, 2009.
Arroyo, 23, has won two straight, including an eight-round majority decision over the previously undefeated Nelson last April 8 on Shobox, since suffering his only setback on a six-round nod to Mike Dallas Jr. on Sept. 12, 2009. “I know Sanchez is a great fighter and that we will give a great fight for the viewers,’’ Arroyo said. “This is a great opportunity for both of us, and I will profit the most.’’
The 24-year-old Del Valle has won five in a row by knockout, including a sixth-round TKO over Irving Hernandez in his last outing Feb. 18 in Puerto Rico. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to fight as a star on SHOWTIME. I am preparing to make the best fight of my life,’’ said Del Valle, who knocked out Pasqual Rouse in the fourth round to capture the New York State featherweight title on July 10, 2010, in Poughkeepsie. Del Valle was an outstanding amateur for the U.S. before turning pro in April 2008.
Nguyen – not to be confused with the former NFL player with the same name — has competed exclusively in the United States since turning pro in May 2004. As an amateur in 2003, he became the first Vietnamese-American to earn a spot in the U.S. Championships, where he lost to eventual Olympic gold medalist Mickey Bey. The 28-year-old Nguyen, a resident of Vero Beach, Fla., has won his last six starts, all by decision, including an eight-round decision over Andres Ledesma in his last fight on Oct. 10, 2009. Nguyen suffered his lone loss on a six-round split decision to Gregorio Torres in August 2007.
Gonzalez, 21, possesses good movement and boxing ability – he’s not merely a brawler – yet has fought into the seventh round only once, and that came in his last outing against Rudy Cisneros at Chumash this past May 13. Eleven of his KO wins have come within three rounds. “I’m in the prime of my career but I’m training like never before to show my quality to the world,’’ said Gonzalez, the No. 11 contender in the World Boxing Association (WBA) who’s fought 10 of his 13 fights in the U.S. “This is a quick turnaround for me, but I’ll be ready for it.’’
Gutierrez, 32, is a physically strong, well-conditioned veteran who is experienced against capable competition. “I’m a complete boxer,’’ said Gutierrez, who is moving up in weight for this. “I’ll adjust, depending on how the fight is going. I’ll work the body, the corners, the ropes, or the middle.’’ A winner of 21 in a row after turning pro in January 2001, Gutierrez dropped a decision to then-undefeated Carlos Abregu on Feb. 6, 2006, on SHOWTIME.
Blow-by-blow announcer Curt Menefee and ringside analyst Steve Farhood, along with executive producer Gordon Hall, producer Richard Gaughan and director Rick Phillips will work the Friday night show from Santa Ynez. Expert analyst Antonio Tarver will join the announce team for Saturday’s telecast.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http:// sho.com/sports.