NEW YORK (Dec. 21, 2005) – Not yet 21 years old, the talented, hard-hitting Joel Julio already is a budding star in the welterweight division.
“Julio is arguably the hottest prospect around,” says ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “He is very fast and has natural knockout power. When he demolished Carlos Vilches, a solid fringe contender who had been in with some of the best, Julio sent a message that he could be dominant.”
Julio (25-0, 22 KOs) will face his toughest test when he puts his perfect record on the line against World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas Champion Robert “The Doctor” Kamya (15-5, five KOs). The 10-round junior middleweight battle will headline the “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecast on Friday, Jan. 6, 2006.
In what promises to be an action-packed co-feature, Raul “The Cobra” Martinez will risk his undefeated record against streaking Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma in an eight-round bantamweight battle. The Main Events Inc. doubleheader from Cicero Stadium in Cicero, Ill., will start at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
The telecast represents the 70th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001, and is the first of back-to-back fight cards on SHOWTIME. In the main event on Jan. 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, undisputed welterweight champion Zab “Super” Judah will defend against WBC mandatory challenger and No. 1 contender Carlos Baldomir. In the co-feature, two reigning cruiserweight champions will collide when World Boxing Association (WBA)/WBC champion Jean-Marc Mormeck faces his International Boxing Federation (IBF) counterpart, O’Neil “Supernova’’ Bell, in a world title unification bout.
Julio, of Columbia, is a hard-hitting, offensive-minded, aggressive, two-fisted slugger who never takes a backward step.
“Quite simply, Julio is the most intriguing and explosive prospect in boxing,” said ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael. “The Colombian is a massive puncher who oozes charisma in the ring. His power is scary. We have said it before and we will say it again: If Julio can take a shot, he will be a world champion. Expect 2006 to be a big year for him. The bandwagon will pull away soon, but there is still time to hop on board.”
In amassing an unblemished record, Julio has pulverized his opponents in an average of 3.3 rounds per fight, including six first-round knockouts. In what was supposed to be a stern challenge, Julio took apart the more experienced Vilches (43-5-2 going in) on April 8, 2005, in Miami. The veteran Vilches quit on his stool after the third round following two rocket-like right hands to the chin from Julio.
“I got into boxing to knock people out,” Julio said. “I am not in there playing cat and mouse. I am a dog and I am going to attack. I am really excited about this fight and very happy to be fighting on SHOWTIME.”
Julio is ranked No. 8 in the WBC and World Boxing Organization (WBO), and No. 11 in the WBA. He has flattened his past nine opponents, including a fourth-round TKO over Hicklet Lau on Nov. 30, 2005.
Kamya, of West Palm Beach, Fla. by way of Uganda, snagged the WBC Continental Americas 154-pound title in his last outing with a 12-round majority decision over Alex Bunema (26-4-2 going in) on Aug. 13, 2005, in Chicago. In a hard-fought match, Kamya won by the scores 115-112, 114-112 and 113 apiece.
“It seems like I am always the underdog, and that is just fine with me,” said Kamya, who has fought in eight different states. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me, fighting in a nationally televised bout on such a high-profile stage as SHOWTIME. Julio is a good, young fighter, but he has never fought anyone like me.
“If Julio thinks he can get in there, push me around and blow me out in two or three rounds or whatever he is predicting, he is in for a shock.”
Martinez (12-0, nine KOs), of San Antonio, Texas, is a part-time substitute teacher and a full-time menace in the ring. As an instructor, his calm demeanor helps him in the classroom. As a fighter, his assets are his power, hand speed and heart.
“Being a teacher has helped me be more disciplined as a fighter,” Martinez said. “It has allowed me to be more mature and responsible, and that shows in the ring.”
En route to compiling a 70-20-1 amateur record, Martinez was a two-time U.S. National Amateur champion, two-time junior amateur champion, four-time Texas Golden Gloves champion and a quarterfinalist in the 2004 Olympic Trials.
As a pro, Martinez has stopped six of his opponents in the first round, including his last three. After 12 victories in as many fights, Martinez is ready for his “ShoBox” debut.
“I am in great shape,” Martinez said. “If Ledesma comes in on me, I will counter punch. If he wants to brawl, I will box him.”
Ledesma (13-1-1, eight KOs) of Columbia, will not only make his SHOWTIME debut, but also his first start in America, one day before his 26th birthday.
“Being on a nationally televised fight is a great birthday gift,” said Ledesma, who has won eight straight. “But I will not blow out the candles until I knock Martinez out. Beating him will be the icing on the cake.”
Ledesma has fought his entire career in his native homeland. On Oct. 15, 2004, he captured the Columbian super bantamweight title with a 10-round decision over Arcelio Ibarra.
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
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.