CABAZON, Calif. – The boxers who will fight on a terrific doubleheader on ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday, Feb. 22, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) made weight on their first attempts Thursday at Morongo Casino Resort.
Main eventers Art “Lionheart” Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, 8 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., and Alejandro “El Alacran” Perez (16-3-1, 11 KOs), of Salinas, Calif., each tipped the scale at 130 pounds.
In an eight-round collision of unbeatens in the co-feature that opens the telecast, Tureano “Reno” Johnson (13-0, 10 KOs), who represented the Bahamas in the 2008 Olympic Games, faces Willie Fortune (15-0, 7 KOs), of Detroit, Mich., in a middleweight match. Johnson weighed 159 pounds, Fortune 157.
Tickets for the Gary Shaw Productions event are priced $35 and $55 and 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. The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is located at 49500 Seminole Dr. in Cabazon, 92230.
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
What the fighters said Thursday:
“We’ve sparred a lot, we know each other well and we’re friends. But business is business and once the bell sounds, the fight is on. I know what Alejandro is capable of so there’s no way I underestimate him. He’s going to give it everything he has. So am I. I expect him to come right at me and try and outhustle me
“I want to fight for a world title this year, and it doesn’t matter which champion I fight. Alejandro has fought some good guys like Diego Magdaleno and Rico Ramos, so this fight should show me where I’m at. This is obviously a very important fight for me.
“I thought going 10 hard rounds in my last fight (against former world champion Miguel Acosta) was good for me. He was a strong, tough guy. I felt in order to win I had to pick it up in the last two or three rounds, which I did. I’m hoping to be very active this year.’’
“There’s no way this won’t be an all-action fight. We both come to fight, and there’s a lot on the line.
“I’ve always been patient between fights looking for the right opportunity, and I never quit training or stayed out of the gym. So even though this is my first fight in a year, I’m in great shape and ready to go. My training camp was excellent. This is a great opportunity for me.
“I feel I’ve grown into a strong 130-pounder. My dieting and conditioning is different so making the weight is no problem and I feel stronger.
“When we sparred we both got in our fair share of good shots. I feel I know what to expect from Art. Art isn’t just a puncher, he can box. But for sure he comes to fight. My job is to try and stay a couple steps ahead of him. I’ve got some new stuff I’m bringing into this fight so I’m well-prepared.’’
“There’s been only one world champion from the Bahamas, Olisha Obed (former WBC 154-pound titlist). I want to be the next. I’m going to be the greatest champion of all time.
“My last two fights were at 168, but I have no trouble making 160 pounds. I just took those fights to see how my power was affected at the higher weights. But I feel my immediate future is fighting middleweight, or maybe even at 154.
“When I heard I had the opportunity to fight Forture, I jumped at the chance. Honestly, I can’t believe they took the fight. But it’s here and I’m treating it as the most important fight of my career.
“I feel I should have already fought for a world title. I was very discouraged when I had the long layoff (July 2010 to January 2012), but I fought nine times last year and I enjoyed all nine fights. I’m back on track to get to where I want to be.
“Sometimes I feel pity for the guys in the ring I hit. But I’m not just a power guy and I hope to show I can be a more complete fighter. I know what I can do, but I want to show the world. I want to be the best.’’
“This guy talks a lot. I’m from Detroit, so I just show and take care of business. I let my fists do the talking. The key to this fight, and all fights, is to hit and not be hit, to make him miss and then make him pay for his mistakes.
“I love the fact I’m fighting on SHOWTIME. This is the network that features the next generation of top fighters, the next crop of rising stars. I’m confident I can take advantage of this huge opportunity.”