The co-feature fight between undefeated lightweight contender Angelo “La Cobra” Santana (13-0, 10 KOs), from Miami, and fellow unbeaten Johnny Garcia (13-0, 8 KOs), from Holland, Mich., has been elevated to the main event of Friday’s SHOWTIME-televised doubleheader from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., after original headliner Omar Henry was forced to withdraw today from his scheduled match with Juan Ubaldo Cabrera. Henry is currently under observation for gallstones at Broward Health Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale. “I arrived in South Florida from California on Tuesday,” Henry said. “I went for a run and began to experience strong pains. I went to the hospital. There is no way I can fight.”
The telecast will open with a new 10-round clash of super welterweights featuring world-ranked Miami favorite Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez (22-1-1, 13 KOs), an American-born Cuban, against James “Shotgun” Winchester (15-5, 5 KOs), from Greensboro, N.C., which had been slated for the non-televised undercard.
“I want to commend SHOWTIME executives Stephen Espinoza and Gordon Hall for being visionaries and stepping up and adding Joey Hernandez and James Winchester to their telecast,” event promoter Don King said. “ShoBox is designed for the new generation of boxers, and I feel better knowing fans are still going to see an exciting doubleheader on SHOWTIME.”
Hernandez, 28, has won seven consecutive fights and is currently ranked No. 12 by the World Boxing Council and the International Boxing Federation. He’s the No. 13 rated 154-pounder in the World Boxing Organization.
“I’m glad my fight will be seen on SHOWTIME,” the ever-confident Hernandez said. “Now people around the country will see why I have gained so many fans in South Florida. Winchester says he’s ready to fight but this is going to be over within three rounds.”
The 34-year-old Winchester is an upset-minded veteran who plans to make the most of this opportunity.
“I didn’t come to lose, I came to win,” the non-stop talking Winchester said. “I am fighting a guy called ‘Twinkle Fingers.’ I can’t believe that. When I get done with him, he’s going to be ‘Twinkle Toes.’ All he’s got is a mouth. I come from the street and I don’t play. You’ll see what I mean on Friday.”
Santana and Garcia will be risking their perfect records—both are 13-0. Santana was a two-time Cuban national champion before defecting to Miami to follow his girlfriend, Anay, and dreams of winning a world championship. Now married to her, Santana is closing in on his first world-title shot.
At 24, he has developed to the point where he has stopped his last six opponents in four rounds or less. In his last outing, Santana earned a career-best victory when he scored a third-round technical knockout over world-class contender Justin Savi on June 23.
“Garcia is a good fighter and I have respect for him,” Santana said. “We will put on a great show for all the fans at Gulfstream Park and watching on SHOWTIME.”
Garcia is seeking another upset win. No stranger to facing undefeated prospects, he outpointed William Jackson (10-0-1) on Nov. 26, 2011. This past March 23 on ShoBox, Garcia registered a shocking 10-round decision over highly touted Cuban Yordenis Ugas (11-0 going in).
“I am from Michigan, and when I left there this week there was snow on the ground,” Garcia said. “Now I’m in Florida where it’s warm and sunny.
“Santana and I are both 13-0, so it doesn’t get much better than that. The fights are being held outdoors at Gulfstream Park. I can’t wait to fight.”
Tickets priced at $25, $50, $100 and $200 are on sale and can be purchased online at www.gulfstreampark.com or by calling the Gulfstream Park box office at (954) 457-6201.
Sunshine State Showdown is promoted by Don King Productions. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. ET. Six bouts are planned, beginning at 8 p.m.