The first Showtime Championship Boxing telecast is officially on the schedule.
Angelo Leo will top the 2021 premier of Showtime’s flagship series, as he will make the first defense of his junior featherweight title versus Stephen Fulton. The battle of unbeaten 122-pounders will top a televised tripleheader which takes place January 23 live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Details of the show were revealed Saturday evening during Showtime’s final boxing telecast of 2020.
The title fight comes as a makeup call from a previously scheduled pairing this past August, only for Philadelphia’s Fulton (18-0, 8KOs) to be forced off the card after testing positive for COVID-19. The supremely skilled 26-year old contender was replaced by unbeaten Tramaine Williams, whom Leo (20-0, 9KOs)—a 26-year old from Las Vegas by way of Albuquerque—soundly outpointed to win a vacant title.
Fulton will return to the ring for the first time in exactly 52 weeks come fight night, having been out of the ring since a 12-round win over Japan’s Arnold Khegai this past January at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The fight aired as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader with fans in attendance, one of the few cards in 2020 to enjoy such status.
Leo’s win over Williams marked Showtime’s first show since the pandemic, with the majority of its shows since then taking place at Mohegan Sun Arena.
In supporting capacity to Leo-Fulton comes another intriguing junior featherweight clash. Raeese Aleem (17-0, 11KOs—who scored a 10th round injury stoppage of Marcus Bates on the undercard of Leo-Williams—will face red hot Vic Pasillas (16-0, 9KOs) in a scheduled 12-round contest. Pasillas—a 28-year old from Redwood, California—dazzled in a 6th round knockout of undefeated Ranfis Javier Encarnacion this past September on an FS1 telecast from the PBC on Fox bubble at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Opening the telecast, Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero hopes to leave a better impression than was the case in his last outing, as he next faces Houston’s Justin Pauldo (14-1, 7KOs). Las Vegas’ Romero (12-0, 10KOs) was considered fortunate to have escaped with a 12-round decision in his interim title fight with Jackson Mariñez this past August 15 in this very venue.
Saturday’s announcement of this card comes days after the network revealed its first ShoBox event of 2021, which will take place three days prior on January 20 also at this venue.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox