LOS ANGELES (April 12, 2011) – In a battle of the undefeated, World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight champion SEBASTIAN ZBIK will defend his crown against the Son of the Legend, JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR., the WBC’s No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger, Saturday, June 4, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles – just a few blocks north of the Olympic Auditorium where the legendary Julio César Chávez won his first world title. The fight will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
“The Son Also Rises: Zbik vs. Chávez, Jr.” will also feature a tribute to Méxican icon JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, who will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame the following week, as well as the Los Angeles boxing debut of Baltimore Ravens safety and undefeated cruiserweight TOMMY ZBIKOWSKI, and the return of WBC female super welterweight champion CHRISTY MARTIN, seeking her landmark 50th career victory.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer promotions, Universum Media Network, TECATE, and STAPLES Center, tickets to Zbik vs. Chávez Jr., priced at $250, $150, $100, $75 and $50, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.staplescenter.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000, or at the STAPLES Center box office.
“June 4 is indeed historic as Julio César Chávez Jr. battles for the middleweight championship,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Julio's father — Julio César Chávez, soon to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame — won his first world title in Los Angeles at the Olympic Auditorium. This was the real start of his legendary career. Now his son Julio Jr. tries to continue in that same tradition, taking on Sebastian Zbik for the WBC Middleweight Championship in the same city. What a story.”
Chávez, an underdog despite his sterling 43-0 record, stopped Mario “Azabache” Martinez in the eighth round of their September 13, 1984 battle to claim the vacant WBC super featherweight title – his first world championship crown.
“I am very happy to get this opportunity to fight for a world title so that I can fulfill my dream of becoming a world champion,” said Chávez Jr. “And what better city to do it in than Los Angeles, where my father won his first championship? My father has always considered Los Angeles his second home.”
“It will be a night of firsts for me — my first defense of the WBC middleweight title, my first fight in the U.S. and my first fight on HBO,” said Zbik. “I know Julio will be up for the challenge on June 4 but I will be ready for him. It will be a night of firsts for him too — his first loss.”
“My son has worked very hard to get this opportunity to fight for a world title and I am very happy and proud that he will get his chance. He is ready for this fight and I am confident that he will become a world champion,” said Chávez Sr.
“We're happy to present the HBO debuts of Julio César Chávez Jr. and Sebastian Zbik,” said Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming, HBO Sports. “STAPLES Center always provides a great stage and we are looking forward to some fireworks the night of June 4.”
Chávez Jr. (42-0-1, 30 KOs), of Culiacan, México, is the son of Mexico’s greatest fighter Julio César Chávez. Chávez, 25, took up the “family business” in 2003, winning a four-round decision in his professional debut. Eight years later, the reigning WBC Silver middleweight champion and superior gate attraction is poised to make his own mark in the boxing world. He took a major step toward that goal by enlisting legendary trainer Freddie Roach to take him to the next level. Their first fight together was a gigantic success, winning the vacant WBC silver middleweight with a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over top-10 contender John Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs), on last June at the Alamodome in San Antonio. He successfully defended that title on January 29, winning a unanimous decision over Billy Lyell. Since 2009, Chávez Jr., won 10-round unanimous decisions over Luciano Cuello and Troy Rowland and stopped Jason LeHoullier in the first round. Making those five victories even more impressive is the fact that Chávez’s opponents had a combined record 120-12-1 when he defeated them.
Zbik (30-0, 10 KOs), of Schwerin, Germany, will be making his U.S. debut in his first title defense. The slick middleweight champion is trained by former World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight champion Artur Grigorian, whose eight-year title reign included 18 successful defenses. Zbik captured the WBC interim middleweight title in 2009 by winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Domenico Spada (29-1). He successfully defended the interim title against Emanuele Della Rosa (22-0), Spada (30-2) and Jorge Heiland (16-0) all by 12-round decisions. He was elevated to WBC middleweight champion in January when Martinez vacated the title.