By Jake Donovan
Ivan Redkach and Tony Luis were content with mere bragging rights at stake for their Showtime-televised lightweight bout on January 18 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Both now have a little more incentive to look that much better in the headlining act of the 2014 season premiere of Showtime’s Shobox series.
A regional title will now be at stake in their lightweight bout, which is still scheduled for 10 rounds. The significance of the belt on the line (vacant USBA lightweight titlie) means that the winner will most likely land a spot in the IBF’s lightweight Top 10 rankings.
“I’ve dreamed about being a world champion from the first time I wanted to become a boxer,” Redkach said. “This is the next step towards winning a world title, which is my goal for 2014.”
The irony in his enthusiasm: a win puts him closer towards a shot at the title held by Miguel Vazquez, his gym stable mate. Both are trained by Mario Morales, and Redkach has served as Vazquez’ chief sparring partner to help the lightweight titlist prepare for his Feb. 22 defense versus unbeaten Denis Shafikov.
Redkach (15-0-0-1ND, 13KO) makes his Showtime-televised debut, having previously performed in front of cameras on Fox Sports and Telefutura (now UniMas) earlier in his career in swing bouts. His January 18 showdown marks his first network-headlining bout.
Luis (17-1, 7KO) has won two straight since suffering the lone loss of his career, an 8th round upset stoppage loss versus Jose Hernandez nearly one year ago. The bout marked the first appearance on U.S. airwaves for the Canadian lightweight, who turns 26 this week.
The regional title fight tops a scheduled televised quadruple header, the second consecutive Shobox telecast to follow that format.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox