SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. - Goossen Tutor Promotions will kick off 2012 with a World Championship bout headlining on the popular SHOWTIME series, ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Jan. 20. The special edition of ShoBox features World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight champion Rico Ramos defending his title for the first time against the WBA interim champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, matching two world champions and two of the sport's rising stars. The bout was originally scheduled for New Year's Eve, but was postponed after a fighter in the co-main event withdrew due to an injury. The championship event will be held at the Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. and broadcast on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Ramos (20-0, 11 KOs), of Whittier, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles, won the WBA super bantamweight title with a seventh-round knockout over defending champion Akifumi Shimoda this past July in Atlantic City. The slick and speedy 24-year-old holds victories over former world title challengers Alejandro Valdez and Heriberto Ruiz, but will be facing his toughest opponent to date in Rigondeaux.
The 31-year-old Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs), of Miami, Fla., by way of Cuba, is one of the sport's fastest rising prospects. An amateur boxing legend in Cuba, Rigondeaux was the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games Gold Medalist in the bantamweight division. The hard-hitting southpaw defected from Cuba in 2009 and won the interim WBA super bantamweight championship in only his seventh professional fight. He is coming off a first-round knockout over previously undefeated Willie Casey in a March bout in Ireland.
The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort is Las Vegas' premier concert theater boasting seats for up to 2,500 ticket holders. "We are thrilled to partner with Goossen Tutor and SHOWTIME to bring another exciting night of boxing to the Pearl," said Palms President Joseph A. Magliarditi. "The list of athletes on the card is impressive; we are looking forward to a great event."
Also appearing on the televised portion of the card is rising middleweight prospect Brandon Gonzales (15-0-1, 10 KOs), of Sacramento, Calif., who will be facing the tough, undefeated 29-year-old, Caleb Truax (18-0-1, 10 KOs) of Osseo, Minn. Gonzales, the 27-year-old stablemate of Andre Ward and protégé of 'Trainer of the Year' candidate, Virgil Hunter, defeated Ossie Duran in a hard-fought 8-round decision this past October in Atlantic City, NJ. This will be the middleweight fighter's second bout under the Goossen Tutor-Antonio Leonard banner.
Opening the ShoBox telecast, undefeated Matthew Villanueva (6-0-1, 6 KOs) of Burbank, Calif. will fight Mike Ruiz (8-1-1, 3 KOs) of Fresno, Calif. in an 8-round junior bantamweight bout.
"I want to thank Palms for being the host of this very intriguing championship bout. The winner immediately jumps to the top of the class," said promoter Dan Goossen. "Although Rigondeaux has a better knockout percentage then Ramos, Rico is known for one-punch knockout power, and I don't believe anyone at this weight can take it." "As for Gonzalez and Villanueva, both are exciting, aggressive fighters and each have their work cut out for them in their matchups."
Doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. with the first bout at 6:00 p.m. and the televised portion of the card beginning at 8:00 p.m. (all times PT). Tickets for the event are priced at $50 and $25 and are available at ticketmaster.com and at The Palms box office starting Friday, Dec. 30 at noon PT.