While Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson battle it out for light heavyweight supremacy at the STAPLES Center on Saturday, December 18, the stakes are just as high on the star-studded undercard, as a mix of former champions, contenders, prospects, and Olympians will all try to stake their claim in the boxing world.
In the main support bout to the championship matchup between Tarver and Johnson former WBO 175-pound champion Julio Gonzalez (36-2, 22 KOs) will square off against former title challenger
David Telesco (29-4-1, 24 KOs) in a hard-hitting ten round clash that may determine a future opponent for the winner of Tarver-Johnson. David Telesco, a knockout artist from Port Chester, New York, has compiled an impressive 6-1-1 (5 KOs) record since a hard fought decision loss to Roy Jones Jr. in 2000. Fresh off a second round knockout of Manu Ntoh in July, Telesco’s focus and punching power spells a rough night for anyone at 175 pounds. Huntington Beach, California’s Julio Gonzalez is no stranger to tough fights and tough fighters in the light heavyweight division. A young man who has been in the ring with Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson, and who handed German superstar Dariusz Michalczewski his first and only defeat in 2003, this former WBO world champion is itching to get back his crown in 2005. But he needs to get by Telesco to do it.
A title shot may be at stake in another intriguing ten rounder on December 18, which features unbeaten up and comer Tarvis Simms (19-0, 11 KOs) against perennial contender Carlos Bojorquez (23-5-6, 19 KOs) in a middleweight bout. Norwalk, Connecticut’s Simms, a southpaw with impressive power in both hands, has not allowed his two previous opponents this year to reach the final bell. An impressive win over Bojorquez will place “Marvelous” in position to join his brother Travis as a world champion in 2005. Riverside, California’s Bojorquez has his sights on a world title as well, and the hard-nosed seven-year veteran feels that he is getting closer with each successive win. Holder of a TKO victory over future hall of famer Pernell Whitaker, Bojorquez comes to fight from bell to bell, and he will be bringing his best on December 18.
In a featured attraction, all-action heavyweight Vinny Maddalone (21-2, 15 KOs), who many believe is a throwback to the heavyweights of boxing’s golden age in style and demeanor, makes his first trip out West in a ten round heavyweight bout against Honolulu's Ronnie Smith.
The Class of 2004 will also be prominently featured on December 18, as the lone United States Gold Medallist from the Athens games, Oakland’s Andre Ward, makes his professional debut in a light heavyweight bout against Christopher Molina (2-0, 1 KO), and Daniel Cervantes, a representative of Mexico in the 2004 Olympics who is managed in the pro ranks by former world champion Fernando Vargas, puts his 3-0 record on the line in a junior welterweight contest against Juan Alfonso Figueroa (2-0, 1 KO).
Rounding out this outstanding card will be a lightweight battle between female standouts Mia St. John (38-4-2, 15 KOs) and former Playboy Cover Girl of San Francisco, and Lisa Lewis (7-10, 3 KOs) of Fresno, who will fight for California bragging rights in their six rounder.
Doors open at 3:45pm, first bout 4:00pm.
Tickets for Tarver-Johnson, priced at $25, $50, $125, and $250 are available now at STAPLES Center Box Office (open 9am to 6pm Monday through Saturday) and Team LA at Universal City Walk or by calling Ticketmaster at 213-480-3232. Tickets are also available online at www.ticketmaster.com. For group sales, please call 1-866-LA-GROUP. Tarver-Johnson, which is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions, will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 6pm PT / 9pm ET.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?