LAS VEGAS – It was cold outside, the temperature dipping into the low 50s, but the elements did not affect unbeaten Antoine “Action” Douglas, however, as the talented world-ranked middleweight turned up the heat and impressively knocked out Les Sherrington in the fourth round in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader Friday live on SHOWTIME.
Douglas (19-0-1, 13 KOs), of Burke, Va., dropped Sherrington (35-8, 19 KOs), of Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, five times before the one-sided fight for the WBO International 160-pound title was stopped at 1:02 of the fourth. The quick, hard-hitting Douglas dropped Sherrington one time in the first and second rounds, two times in the third and once in the fourth.
In the co-feature from the specially-constructed ring outside the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) across from the D Las Vegas, Ukrainian southpaw Taras “Real Deal” Shelestyuk (13-0, 8 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., pitched a near-10-round shutout over Aslanbek Kozaev (26-2-1, 7 KOs), of Vladikavkaz, Russia, to capture the WBO-NABO Regional Welterweight title. A former amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist, Shelestyuk, won by the scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91.
In other results on a card promoted by GH3 Promotions and Banner Promotions, “Killa” Keenan Smith (9-0, 3 KOs), of Philadelphia, won a unanimous eight-round decision over Benjamin “Da Blaxican” Whitaker (10-2, 2 KOs), of San Antonio, Texas, in a competitive welterweight scrap and “Tsunami Sam” Teah (7-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia scored a unanimous decision over previously undefeated O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (8-1, 5 KOs) of Orange, Texas, in a lightweight match. It was the 135th time a boxer suffered his first loss on ShoBox.
For Douglas, it was his fifth consecutive victory on ShoBox and likely may have earned him a spot on a future SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® card. The 10 fighters who’ve appeared five or more times on ShoBox have all gone on to challenge for a world title.
“Antoine Douglas is the perfect example of what we do in the ShoBox series. We build fighters. We develop them from prospect to contenders,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation and Senior Vice President of Production, SHOWTIME Sports. “We’ve seen Antoine grow. He started as a promising prospect, and we matched him really tough and each and every time he stepped up to the task. Tonight, he graduated from ShoBox with a spectacular performance; there are no doubts he is now a contender.”
“We got what Antoine Douglas needed: The type of utterly dominant performance that makes you want to see him against the best middleweights. Tonight was Antoine’s graduation from ShoBox. Now he’ll move up to bigger and better things," said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood afterward:
Douglas went 10 rounds for the second time and upped his winning streak to five since boxing a draw in July 2014.
“They said this was my graduation day, time for a cap and gown, so this was definitely a big win,’’ said Douglas, a top amateur who made it to the 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials and was the WBA’s ninth-ranked contender going in. “It was a great experience fighting on ShoBox and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me getting me ready to go to the next level. Now, it’s time for me to take the next step.
“I expected to win, probably by knockout, but I didn’t expect it to be this way. I expected Sherrington to be tougher, more prepared. I think my jab was the key. It set him up for all the big shots I landed with my right hand and left hook.
“I knew I’d be faster than him. I was very prepared. One good thing I’m happy about is how I kept my composure.’’
Sherrington, who was fighting outside of Australia and making his U.S. and 2015 debuts, came in having won eight of his last nine fights, including his last pair. But the WBA’s No. 12 contender was no match for Douglas.
“Antoine Douglas is very good and he will go on to really big things in this sport,’’ Sherrington said.
“I’m not making excuses, but I was freezing and could never really warm up. And then he caught me cold. I came here to reach a lifelong dream of mine but it was not meant to be. I got welcomed into the big leagues in a big hurry and in the worst way. All credit goes to Douglas for that.’’
Farhood was impressed with Shelestyuk, a former amateur standout. “[Taras] Shelestyuk looked like the most mature fighter on the card,’’ Farhood said. “He has a wonderful amateur pedigree, he was an Olympic Bronze Medalist. He fought a fighter that made him fight and throw a lot of punches -- he averaged 85 punches a round. He dominated the fight from the first round on and he looked like the world-class fighter that he was developed to be."
Shelestyuk utilized his 3½-inch height advantage to dominate the game but outclassed Kozaev. “This was a good fight for me. I’m so happy. I won my first pro title, went 10 rounds for the first time and won all the rounds,’’ Shelestyuk said.
“The guy was a super tough opponent. I thought I was going to knock him out in a few of the rounds but he took all my hard punches. He was a warrior and had a lot more experience than me.’’
Kozaev, making his first start in 18 months, started fast but got outhustled and outworked from the second round on. “He’s a good fighter and I gave my best, but having not fought for such a long time was a big factor,’’ he said.
Smith overcame a nasty cut over the left eye from an unintentional headbutt in the sixth but came back to score a knockdown in the seventh. He triumphed by the scores of 79-73 and 78-74 twice.
“Keenan Smith overcame a very bad cut to win this fight,’’ Farhood said. “He scored a knockdown that was unexpected late in the fight. I thought that it was a very close fight, but Smith did enough in the early rounds to win. He’s definitely a prospect that will get better."
Smith was fighting for the fourth time this year after a three-year hiatus. He was less than enthusiastic afterward. “This was a rough camp for me. My mother died. I dedicated this fight to her and really wanted to get the knockout,’’ said Smith who wore all-pink trunks in her honor.
“I’m not all that happy because I felt I could have finished him even though my left shoulder was hurting and I was not 100 percent. I also couldn’t see much at all out of my eye after the cut.
“But tonight, it was like a welterweight fighting a junior welterweight. I weighed in at 141 and he was at 147. But going eight rounds for the first time was definitely a good thing. I just feel like I should have finished much stronger. The weather was not a problem.’’
Whitaker had a three-fight winning streak end. “The scoring was way off. It was a much closer fight than that,’’ he said. “I don’t understand how he could get warned the whole fight for holding, but never get a point taken away. The knockdown wasn’t even a knockdown. It was more of a trip. The ref asked me if I could continue and I was like, ‘I wasn’t even hurt, not even wobbled a little bit.’
“I would love to fight him again.’’
Teah won the opening bout of the telecast by the scores of 79-73 and 77-75 twice. “This was an upset,’’ Farhood said. “Teah beat a fighter who had been a tough amateur. The problem for O’Shaquie Foster is that he looked like an amateur. He didn’t adjust to the pro game. He didn’t show enough strength and enough determination. He was a disappointment and [Sam] Teah took advantage of that."
Teah, making his eight-round debut, won his third in a row. “I’m ecstatic and couldn’t ask for anything better,’’ he said. “This is definitely my biggest win and I definitely felt I won. I could have done more, but I did enough. This was a great win for my team. Working 10 hours a day paid off for me.
“This was my first time going eight rounds and I felt strong. To beat an unbeaten fighter was huge. The first six rounds I coasted. The last two rounds fatigue set in and I started to feel the weather, but I feel great now.’’
If anyone of the eight boxers froze under the bright lights it was Foster. “For some reason I just wasn’t myself in there,’’ a visibly disappointed Foster said. “I could have done so much more but I just didn’t throw enough punches. It’s time for me to regroup and get it together for the next time.’’
All but Douglas were making their ShoBox debuts.