Fresh off a smashing victory over Steve Molitor in a world title unification fight last Nov. 20 on SHOWTIME, exciting southpaw Celestino Caballero (31-2, 22 KOs) of Panama will defend his WBA/IBF junior featherweight belts against mandatory challenger Jeffrey Mathebula (22-1-2, 12 KOs) of South Africa in the main event on a special World Championship edition of ShoBox: The New Generation Friday, April 24, on SHOWTIME. The event, which will air live at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast), will originate from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The lone two-belt-holder in a talent-laden division, the tall and powerful Caballero has won 12 in a row, including both of his starts on SHOWTIME, and has stamped himself as the one to watch at 122 pounds.
Caballero, who is also the WBA Super Champion and 2008 Panama Fighter of the Year, turned what most expected to be a competitive matchup into a rout as he totally outclassed and dismantled then-IBF kingpin Molitor en route to an impressive fourth-round TKO. It was Caballero’s fourth consecutive win inside the distance.
Mathebula, who has been victorious in seven straight and is unbeaten in his last 10 (9-0-1), earned the No. 1 ranking and a shot at Caballero by taking his last outing on a 12-round unanimous decision over Julio Zarate in an IBF title elimination bout on Aug. 29, 2008.
If victorious, the once-beaten Mathebula, who owns a win over former 122-pound world champion Daniel “Ponce” De Leon, will join IBF 130-pound titleholder Cassius Baloyi as the only current world champions from South Africa.
With so many talented prizefighters at or around 122 pounds, the winner of Caballero-Mathebula sets up himself for another major fight in the near future.