SANTA YNEZ, California (Feb. 19, 2005) – In a much more difficult fight than expected, promising unbeaten southpaw “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis survived several anxious moments but did enough to successfully defend his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) junior welterweight title with an exciting 12-round majority decision over Roberto Santa Cruz Friday on SHOWTIME. In the entertaining, crowd-pleasing “ShoBox: The New Generation’’ co-feature, undefeated Shamone Alvarez scored an impressive fourth-round TKO over Jose Medina. The doubleheader, which took place at the Chumash Casino Resort, was promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and aired at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). It was the 57th fight show in the popular “ShoBox” series.
Arnaoutis (13-0-1, six KOs), of Atlantic City, N.J., by way of Athens, Greece, triumphed by the scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 6/International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 14 140-pound contender totally dominated the first two rounds. But once Santa Cruz started to open up, the first boxer to appear on “ShoBox” four times found himself in the fight of his young career. A quick, sharp accurate puncher, Arnaoutis did his most productive work when moving forward. Arnaoutis, who was making the first defense of the NABO title he won with a first-round knockout over Juaquin Gallardo on Oct. 22, 2004, on “ShoBox,” performed much of Friday’s bout with a cut on the bridge of his nose.
Santa Cruz (11-3, 2 KOs), of Lincoln Heights, Calif., had a nine-fight winning streak snapped. A late substitute who was making his first appearance before a paying audience since May 2003, Santa Cruz showed absolutely nothing during the initial six minutes and may have been fortunate that Arnaoutis did not fight more aggressively. But an awkward, gutsy kid known for making for exciting slugfests shook off the ring rust and turned what could have been a walkover into the type of scrap that “ShoBox” has been known for since its inception in July 2001. Santa Cruz absorbed a lot of punishment, but he also dealt his fair share once he was able to get his more celebrated opponent to go backward.
Alvarez (11-0, eight KOs), of Atlantic City, N.J., is a fast starter known for ending his fights quickly. Of his previous seven knockouts, six came in the first round. So it was not surprising that Alvarez came out aggressively. But Medina was a guy also known for early knockouts, and that made for a terrific battle as the pair took turns connecting with scoring blows. Southpaw Alvarez was always a bit stronger, however, and he had Medina out on his feet in the third round from a straight right jab. After surviving a brief onslaught in the fourth, Alvarez hurt Medina again. The referee stepped it shortly thereafter at 2:24. Medina (11-3, nine KOs) of Philadelphia by way of Caugas, Puerto Rico, was also known for early knockouts. Six of his nine stoppages came inside the fourth round. A durable sort, he was tough enough and showed plenty of heart, but Alvarez was too talented. Medina, who has never been knocked down, gave it his all, however.
Nick Charles called Friday’s action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
The next “ShoBox’’ telecast is Friday, March 4, on SHOWTIME. In an excellent matchup between unbeaten lightweight boxers in the 10-round main event, World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 10/WBO No. 12/World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 13 contender, Almazbek “Kid Diamond” Raiymkulov (19-0, 11 KOs), will face Koba Gogoladze (17-0, 7 KOs) in Choctaw, Mississippi. In the co-feature, WBO No. 8/WBC No. 10/International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 11 contender Kelly Pavlik (23-0, 20 KOs) will trade leather with Dorian Beaupierre (12-2-2, six KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout. SHOWTIME will televise the Top Rank Inc. doubleheader at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on West Coast).
For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.