Feature Story

Tarver’s heavyweight debut tonight

By Karl Freitag
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Former light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver has added 46 pounds for his debut as a heavyweight against Nagy Aguilera tonight at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Tarver, who tipped scale at 221 pounds on Thursday, weighed 175 for his last fight against Chad Dawson and has never weighed more that 179.5 for any fight in his career. He took more than a year off from fighting after his last bout in 2009 and has been serving as an expert commentator for SHOWTIME while bulking up. “I look at the heavyweight division and there really isn’t a recognizable American that we can truly look at and say, ‘That’s our guy,'” says Tarver. “The Europeans have taken over the division.”

The 41-year-old Tarver, who is two years older than reigning WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, has a very specific timeline. “These next two years will be a crowning moment in my career.” He vows “to show the people that I can reinvent myself once again and be heavyweight champion.”

Comparable in size to WBA titleholder David Haye (a former cruiserweight titleholder) and top contender Tomasz Adamek (a former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder), Tarver could fit right into the heavyweight mix.

“I’m not a plodding heavyweight,” he says. “I’m a dazzling heavyweight. I’ve got moves, speed and quickness. These big guys think they can just come in here and whop me down, they got another thing coming. They’re going to have to find me first. I’m going to be all over them. From every side, every angle. In and out; from the left side and the right. I’m unloading my bag of tricks…I’m not going to be a slow 230 pound fighter.”

As for the Klitschkos, Tarver states, “I see myself knocking out one of these giants. Now I just have to have the world see it. That’s my dream and that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it until someone beats me.”

Promoter Gary Shaw called tonight’s Tarver-Aguilara clash the “most high-profile” fight in Oklahoma in years.

* * *

Unbeaten Shawn Porter will be seeking his 17th consecutive victory when he faces Hector Munoz in the welterweight co-feature on tonight’s editon of ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.

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