On Friday, Feb. 22, Gary Shaw Productions will present a doubleheader on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) that features fighters with a combined record of 59-3-3 with 37 knockouts.
Two of Shaw’s top prospects will be featured in each of the fights. His popular, promising super featherweight, Art Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, 8 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., will headline against Alejandro Perez (16-3-1, 11 KOs), of Salinas, Calif., in the 10-round main event at Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, Calif.
The eight-round co-feature that opens the telecast will showcase GSP’s Tureano “Reno” Johnson (13-0, 10 KOs), who represented the Bahamas in the 2008 Olympic Games, against fellow unbeaten Willie Fortune (15-0, 7 KOs), of Detroit, Mich., in a middleweight match.
Tickets priced $35 and $55 are on sale at the Morongo Casino Box Office or by calling the Box Office hotline at (951) 755-5391. They are also available by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. Doors open on fight night at 5 p.m. The first fight starts at 5:30 p.m.
Shaw is excited about his rising stars and the exposure they will get from appearing on ShoBox.
“The card is going to be really special because it is filled with fresh faces that possess real talent,’’ Shaw said. “There are a lot of great fighters in the world and great prospects, but you never get the chance to see them. This show will give fans a chance to really understand that the next star is never too far away. Fighters have different personalities in the ring; they can have similar styles and still perform completely different. This will be a good opportunity for fans to get familiar with two very unique talents.’’
The Armenian-born Hovhannisyan, who moved to the United States in 2007, following a stellar amateur career, will look to continue to impress in the pros. He has been in the ring with tough competition such as Miguel Acosta, who Hovhannisyan defeated on an exciting, hard-fought split decision last July 20 on ShoBox, and former world champion Cristobal Cruz.
Hovhannisyan believes he is coming along exceptionally well as he develops his identity in the ring.
“It’s a demanding sport with constant obstacles on a daily basis,” Hovhannisyan said. “The margin for error is so small that even good fighters that do the right things can slip up in a single instance. I know what is expected of me with every performance and I use my training time wisely. I look at every day as a chance to prove something and I’ve been proving myself for a long time, I focus on the little battles in camp so that I can be victorious in the battle that takes place in the ring.”
The chance to headline an event is always a rewarding feeling, but Hovhannisyan knows that it is extra special when a network takes interests and allows a fighter’s abilities to be broadcast around the world.
“I treat every fight with the importance it deserves and I never underestimate my opponents, but this is definitely a little different knowing that fans that wouldn’t normally get to see you can through SHOWTIME,’’ Hovhannisyan, 31, said. “It’s fitting being on SHOWTIME because that’s how I feel when I go out there. It will be show time for me and I just know the fans of the sport will be pleased with what I bring to the ring.”
Shaw is very confident in Hovhannisyan, the potential he shows and the progress he’s made.
“We’ve matched this kid tough, that’s what he’s wanted,’’ Shaw said. “Art knows what he wants out of boxing; that’s an important part of the process because it’s not enough to want to be the best. That kind of mentality is vague and it puts you in a constant uphill battle. He’s after very specific goals and I believe he is well on his way to achieving his success.’’
Perez, 26, has been a pro since August 2004. He has won two of his last three, including a dominant eighth-round knockout over Derrick Wilson in his last start on Feb. 4. 2004. Perez dropped Wilson four times – once each in the second, fourth, fifth and eighth rounds.
Johnson, who turns 29 on Feb. 12, will be making his 2013 debut after fighting nine times last year. A pro since March 2010, the former amateur standout has been on a knockout tear of late, winning five of his last six by stoppage, including his last four in a row. He is coming off a third-round TKO over Jose Mora on Oct. 22, 2012, in the Dominican Republic.
“I don’t look for knockouts, but they come to me because I put myself in a position to entertain the crowd,’’ Johnson said. “I don’t avoid confrontation in the ring, but I’m comfortable enough to trust my hands and let them go. I’m anxious to work. Some people have to go to their jobs that they don’t enjoy, but I’m fortunate enough to enjoy what I do. I love every day that I get to lace up my gloves because I know what the possibilities can bring. I enjoy camp. The fight is like the icing on the cake.’’
Fortune, 31, hails from a boxing family whose cousin includes Cornelius Bundrage (fighting Ishe Smith on Saturday, Feb. 23 on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®). Fortune will be making his first start outside his native Michigan, where he won the Detroit Golden Gloves in 2008. In his last outing, he registered a second-round TKO over outclassed Shane Geirke on Dec. 28, 2012.