NEW YORK (April 25, 2012) –- Five promising boxers, four of whom are unbeaten, make their debuts on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, May 11, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas.
Former Cuban amateur standout and 2004 Olympian, junior middleweight Yudel Jhonson (12-0, 8 KOs), and six-time Swedish national champion and 2008 Olympian, super middleweight Badou Jack (10-0, 8 KOs), head up a strong contingent of talented, undefeated newcomers on a telecast that also includes power-punching super middleweight Alexander Brand (17-0, 15 KOs) and skilled lightweight Rances Barthelemy (15-0, 11 KOs).
The southpaw Jhonson, of Miami, Fla., faces former world title challenger Freddy “El Riel’’ Hernandez (30-2, 20 KOs), of Mexico City, in the 10-round junior middleweight main event. Hernandez, who is coming off a unanimous 10-round decision over ex-world champion Luis Collazo, will be making his fourth start on ShoBox.
Unbeaten super middleweights Jack and Brand clash in the eight-round co-feature. Jack, of Las Vegas, by way of Stockholm, Sweden, is a former sparring partner of Floyd Mayweather and Andre Dirrell. Brand, of Bogota, Colombia, is the longest tenured boxer in the history of the Colombian Olympic team with 437 fights as an amateur.
In the opener of a televised tripleheader, Barthelemy, of Havana, Cuba, meets southpaw Aalan Martinez (10-1-1, 6 KOs), of East Los Angeles, via Michoacán, Mexico, in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Jhonson was the Pan American Junior Champion at light fly in 1998 and the Cuban National Champion at welterweight in 2002 before capturing a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. Overall, he went 379-16 in the amateurs while winning numerous titles. He turned pro on May 22, 2009, shortly after he’d defected to the United States with fellow Cubans Yordanis Despaigne and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
The 5-foot-10, 30-year-old Jhonson fought four times in 2009, five times in 2010, and three times in 2011. He is coming off a third-round TKO over Eduardo Mercedes last Oct. 15 in the Dominican Republic.
Jhonson registered a career-best seventh-round TKO over Richard Gutierrez on March 25, 2011. The following June 3, Jhonson won a 10-round decision over Jose Torres.
The vastly more experienced Hernandez is 3-0 on ShoBox. Two of the victories came against former world champions in back-to-back fights in 2010 – a fourth-round TKO over Mike Anchondo on Sept. 17 and a fifth-round knockout over DeMarcus “Chop Chop’’ Corley on Feb. 5. In his ShoBox debut on Oct. 23, 2009, Hernandez registered a unanimous 10-round decision over southpaw Damian Frias.
The 5-foot-10, 33-year-old Hernandez, a pro since February 2001, has performed well in three of his last four outings. On Oct. 15, he dropped Collazo in the eighth to win by the score of 96-93 on the three judges’ cards.
Hernandez’ only defeat since losing a split 12-round decision to Golden Johnson on Feb. 25, 2005, came when he stepped way up in class and lost to then-world champ Andre Berto on Nov. 27, 2010.
In the co-feature, Jack, who trains at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, will be making his sixth consecutive start in the U.S. His initial five fights after turning pro on June 6, 2009, took place in Sweden or Finland.
The 6-foot-1, 28-year-old Jack started boxing at age 18. He went 122-28 as an amateur and represented his father’s country, Gambia, in the Olympics. He is the only boxer to represent Gambia in any Olympic Games.
Regarding his upcoming scrap, Jack said, “Both of us are big punchers. It’s going to be an exciting fight for the crowd. I like to go to the body a lot, that’s one of my biggest weapons. I’ll be ready for him.’’
In Brand’s amateur career, he went 417-20. Brand, 35, turned pro at the age of 32 on Aug. 9, 2009. Campaigning exclusively in Colombia, he won his first 12 professional fights by (T)KO. This will be his second outing in the U.S. In his stateside debut, Brand won a unanimous six-round decision over Terrance Woods on Nov. 20, 2011, in Las Vegas.
Brand, who’s fought twice in 2012, is coming off a fifth-round knockout over Luzimar Gonzaga last March 30, in Cartagena, Colombia.
Barthelemy, 25, is a 5-foot-11 crowd-pleasing puncher-boxer who won his last start with an impressive eight-round unanimous decision over former top amateur star and then-unbeaten pro, Hylon Williams, on Feb. 3, in Las Vegas.
Boxing’s in Barthelemy’s blood. Two of his siblings are also prizefighters -- older brother Yan, the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist at light flyweight, and younger brother, Leduan. Their cousin is longtime pro, Giorbis Barthelemy.
Rances started to box at an early age. "As a child in Cuba, I had a lot of discipline problems in school and I was always getting into fights," he said. “I was diagnosed as being hyperactive. So the school's personnel took it upon themselves to place me in their sports curriculum and I was selected for the boxing program. I’ve been fighting since.’’
Nicknamed “Kid Blast,” the fast-rising Barthelemy had an impressive amateur career, winning the majority of his 200 fights and earning the Cuban junior national championship before defecting to the U.S. He turned pro on Aug. 8, 2009, in Columbia, S.C. The confident Cuban scored knockouts in his first 12 fights, but has gone the distance in two of the last three.
Martinez rebounded from the lone defeat of his career to knock out Ronald Rodriguez in the third round last Dec. 16, in Vernon, Calif.
After the 5-foot-9, 28-year-old Martinez won his pro debut in October 2004, he fought just one time in both 2005 (in September) and 2006 (in April). After three fights in two and a half years, he didn’t fight again for four and a half years. But the southpaw slugger has been much more active since, fighting three times in ’09, four times in 2010, and two times in 2011.
Martinez’ only loss came when he came up short in a competitive matchup against Evgeny Gradovich on April 29, 2011, in Las Vegas. Martinez lost a six-rounder by the scores of 58-56 and 59-55 twice.
The event is promoted by Warriors Boxing.
Mike Crispino, known for his work on the MSG Network in New York, will call the blow-by-blow action on ShoBox with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?