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ShoBox kicks off 2009!

January 16 Live on SHOWTIME 11PM ET/PT

Leonilo Miranda (24-0, 23 KOs), a featherweight from Mexico, will aim for another knockout victory when he faces fellow unbeaten Orlando Cruz (15-0-1, 6 KOs) of Puerto Rico, in a 10-round featherweight bout on Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, live on ShoBox: The New Generation (SHOWTIME 11 p.m. E/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

Both prospects are southpaws and both are making their American television debut. “ShoBox is in large part about giving young talented, unknown and untested fighters opportunities to take center stage,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of the acclaimed SHOWTIME Sports series, ShoBox. “Miranda and Cruz will be fighting, to live up to lofty expectations and to keep their undefeated records intact. They are unproven and untested until they fight on ShoBox.”

Miranda, who supports his boxing career by working as a full-time fisherman in Mexico, finds himself outside the friendly confines of his home state of Sonora for the first time.

“There’s going to be some pressure on Miranda to perform well because this is his first fight in the U.S. and it’s on SHOWTIME so this is a big deal for him,” said Julio Marines of Marines Promotions, the company that co-promotes Miranda along with Gary Shaw Productions. “We feel he has the right tools and attitude to become a special prizefighter.”

Miranda, a tall lefty with an upright boxing style, is coming off an impressive eighth-round knockout victory over the iron-chinned Cruz Carbajal in July 2008. His precise jab, solid footwork and two-fisted power was on display on that summer night.

“His record is deceiving because his high knockout rate would suggest he is mostly a brawler, but he can box beautifully too,” Marines said. “He uses his jab well and he is a sound technician. He didn’t have much of an amateur career so we’re still developing his boxing skills. Once he puts everything together, he’s going to raise some eyebrows.”

Marines was first turned on to Miranda two years ago when one of his talent scouts tipped him off about a certain, young Mexican fisherman who happened to have power in both mitts.

Miranda, who is fighting for the first time outside of Mexico, is thought of as an unproven prospect. Ranked No. 7 by the WBC at the featherweight division, Miranda will get his shot to show off his impressive power on January 16.

“We are impressed with his sparring,” Marines said of 26 year old Miranda. “He moves real well on his toes. He has good footwork which we didn’t expect. He has an amazing story. Leonilo comes from a family of fishermen. The kid has never been away from home and his mom was brought along so she can cook his meals. I didn’t want him to get homesick.”

Cruz, a 2000 Olympian with over 180 amateur fights, is also a southpaw, and much like Miranda, he is an untested prospect. “I have a lot of experience from my past that I rely on,” said Cruz.

While not a power puncher, Cruz has the ability to outbox his competition. He is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision win over Carlos Guevara in March 2008. Cruz’s manager, Victor Montanez, is confident that he will come out on top. “Orlando looks better than he has ever looked in his life. He is completely mentally and physically prepared,” said Montanez. “We believe that Orlando will put on a beautiful show on January 16.”

Cruz, a proud Puerto Rican, grew up idolizing his 2000 Olympic teammates and fellow countrymen, boxing stalwarts, Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon. His manager, Juan De Leon, believes that he will one day follow in their footsteps and see the same success that they have achieved. “With his ability and potential, he will make it to the top. Not only does he deserve to be there for his skills but he has the heart of a champion as well.”

In the co-feature, Marvin Quintero (14-1, 11 KOs) of Mexico will face his toughest test to date against ShoBox alum Nick Casal (18-3-1, 14 KOs) of Chicago, in an eight-round lightweight bout.

The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and will originate from the Million Dollar Elm Casino in Tulsa, Okla.

Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go to the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://sports.sho.com.




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