World middleweight champion Sergio Martinez returns to the ring October 1 versus undefeated European champion Darren Barker from historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, airing live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing
Tickets, priced at $300, $200, $100, $50, on sale July 20 at noon
NEW YORK, NY (July 19, 2011) – The reigning WBC Diamond middleweight champion, reigning 2010 Fighter of the Year, and top three pound-for-pound elite fighter, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez will return to the ring October 1 from historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) will collide with the unbeaten “Dazzling” Darren Barker (23-0, 14 KOs), the über popular product of London, England, and current European middleweight champion.
The co-feature will be a rematch of one of the most exciting fights of 2008, as NABF and NABA middleweight champion Andy Lee (26-1, 19 KOs) attempts to avenge his only loss against the newest member of the DiBella Entertainment stable, Brian Vera (19-5, 12 KOs).
The show will be titled “Noche de ‘Maravilla’”, which translates to “Marvelous Night” in English, a tribute to Martinez’s nickname and the exciting style of fighting all four featured fighters employ in the ring.
“Noche de ‘Maravilla’: Martinez vs. Barker” is being presented by DiBella Entertainment in association with Matchroom Sport, and Caesars Atlantic City, and is sponsored by Corona. The show will be aired live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
Tickets for “Noche de ‘Maravilla’” are priced at $300, $200, $150, and $50, and will go on sale Wednesday, July 20 at noon. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at any Ticketmaster retail outlet, or in person at the Boardwalk Hall box office.
“Sergio Martinez has never backed down from a challenge, challenges only back down from him,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This show is about fighters proving themselves when it matters the most. Sergio Martinez is a superstar with more momentum than anyone in boxing, but he must knock off the European champion, Barker, to keep it going. Barker isn’t scared of a challenge; in fact, he begged for one. So, now he gets to prove himself against the best of the best in his division. Andy Lee and Brian Vera are both on the cusp of a fight against the winner of the main event, so Lee must prove that his first fight with Vera was a fluke and Vera must prove that he can do it again. All these storylines will lead to high drama and excitement on October 1.”
“Atlantic City and boxing are synonymous; this city has been built around names like Tyson, Gatti, and Mayweather,” said Don Marrandino, Eastern Division President for Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City. “The October 1 bout between Sergio Martinez and Darren Barker will surely add to Atlantic City’s rich and proud boxing heritage.”
“Sergio Martinez is one of boxing’s brightest stars and it is great to have him back live on the network,” said Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming for HBO Sports. “Darren Barker is another UK fighter looking to make an imprint on the American boxing landscape and he will have his chance in the spotlight on October 1.”
Martinez, 36, a native of Quilmes, Argentina, and now living in Oxnard, California, is coming off a 2010 that can rival any year any fighter has had in a long time, with both of his spectacular wins taking place at Boardwalk Hall. In April, Martinez dominated the heavily favored Kelly Pavlik over 12 rounds to win the unified middleweight championship. He followed up that performance in November by putting a exclamation point on his rivalry with Paul Williams by knocking Williams out cold in the second round of their rematch of the 2009 Fight of the Year. Despite being lauded by publications far and wide as the 2010 Fighter of the Year, Martinez didn’t rest on his laurels, beginning 2011 with a bang when he took on the universally recognized 154 lb. champion, and then undefeated, Sergiy Dzinziruk. Martinez dropped Dzinziruk, who had never before tasted the canvas as a professional, five times en route to an eighth round stoppage win.
“It is an honor to be returning to HBO for the second time this year,” said Martinez. “Just like my nickname and the title of the show say, I will put on a marvelous performance for fight fans worldwide. I know Darren Barker is a tough challenger and will bring a loud contingent of fans, but so did Kelly Pavlik when I fought at Boardwalk Hall last April. Being universally recognized as the pound-for-pound king is my ultimate goal and I won’t stop until I’ve achieved that.”
Barker, 29, a native of London, England, recently completed the trifecta that all fighters from the UK strive for. In 2007, Barker won the Commonwealth title at middleweight by scoring a unanimous decision over then undefeated Ben Crampton at the world renowned York Hall in London, where Barker has fought more than anywhere else. In 2009, he added the British middleweight title to his collection with a seventh round stoppage of Danny Butler. Finally, on April 30 of this year, in his most recent outing, Barker dominated Italian contender and former world title challenger Domenico Spada over 12 rounds to capture the European championship. Now, Barker has his sights set on the ultimate prize, the world middleweight championship.
“I’ve heard all the hype about Sergio Martinez, but I am not going to let that get in the way of my dream of becoming middleweight champion,” said Barker. “I respect Sergio Martinez as a fighter, but he has what I’ve always wanted and on October 1 I’m coming to take it.”