A triumphant return to the ring is in store for Showtime Championship Boxing.
For the first time in nearly five months, the American cable outlet will present live boxing action beginning with a tripleheader airing live August 1 from a crowdless Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, unbeaten junior featherweights Stephen Fulton and Angelo Leo will collide for the vacant WBO title in the evening’s headliner.
Two more undefeated 122-pound boxers meet in the evening’s chief support as Tramaine Williams and Ra’eese Aleem collide in a crossroads bout. Opening the show—and as previously reported by BoxingScene.com—Joseph George and Marcos Escudero square off in a rematch to their clash last November, where George claimed a split decision win.
Between the six televised boxers exists just one loss and a combined record of 92-1 (48KOs). The show also kicks off a monster stretch for Showtime, which will run six events from its flagship Showtime Championship Boxing series along with two monster Pay-Per-View events through the rest of the year.
“We’re kicking things off August 1 with a world title opportunity for our rising contender Angelo Leo who has been consistently grinding and taking care of business,” said Leonard Ellerbe, whose Mayweather Promotions represents Leo and serves as co-promoter of the event. “He’s facing another young and focused undefeated fighter and only one of them can leave the ring crowned champion. Both guys are confident that the title belongs to them, which is going to make for a great fight from the first bell.”
Fulton and Leo are both coming off of arguably the best wins of their respective careers, both having aired live on Showtime.
Philadelphia’s Fulton (18-0, 8KOs) will fight for the second time in 2020, making his way to the title picture with a 12-round win over Arnold Khegai this past January in Brooklyn, New York. The win was his second straight against an unbeaten opponent, with Leo serving as the ninth undefeated fighter he will face through just 19 pro fights.
“This is my time. I’ve prepared for this my whole life,” said Fulton of his first career title fight. “He will be a world champion one day, but not this time.”
One month prior to his opponent securing a title shot, Leo did the same in his most recent bout. The Las Vegas-based contender—originally from Albuquerque truly graduated from the ShoBox circuit to the title stage following an 11th round knockout of Cesar Juarez last December in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I’m excited to get back in the ring and to continue where I left off,” said Leo, also entering his first major title fight. “It’s an honor to be the main event on Showtime and to be fighting for the WBO belt.”
Added event co-promoter Tom Brown: “I’m really impressed with both of these young boxers. Stephen Fulton has an impressive resume, which includes victories over eight undefeated fighters. Angelo Leo will be the third straight unbeaten fighter he’s faced. Leo has passed every test with victories against some of the toughest fighters in the division.
“The winner of this match will be soaring to new heights in the division.”
The same is said of the supporting bouts, with all four participants making their respective debuts on Showtime’s main series.
Williams (19-0, 6KOs) is the only one of the show’s six boxers to enjoy something of a home game. The unbeaten 27-year old southpaw hails from nearby New Haven, roughly 45 minutes from the venue although his local fans will have to settle for watching from home as the event—and all future Showtime cards—will take place behind closed doors.
The bout is the first for Williams since a 10-round win over veteran contender Yenifel Vicente last July. His opponent, Las Vegas’ Aleem (16-0, 10KOs) has been more active of the two, coming off of a 4th round stoppage of San Antonio’s Adam Lopez this past February in Philadelphia.
In the televised opener, George and Escudero both return to the ring for the first time since their previous encounter.
George (10-0, 6KOs)—a 30-year old light heavyweight from Houston—prevailed by split decision in their ShoBox-featured matchup of unbeaten prospects last November. Escudero (10-1, 9KOs), a 27-year old Sampson Lewkowicz-promoted product from Buenos Aires scored six straight knockouts prior to going 10 rounds for the first time in his career and also in suffering his lone career defeat.
The event will mark the first live boxing telecast on Showtime since March 13, when the network aired the last televised event from the United States—a ShoBox card from a crowdless Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota—prior to the start of the pandemic.
The last Showtime Championship Boxing card to have aired was February 8, when long-reigning featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. outpointed unbeaten mandatory challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be finally getting back to boxing,” notes Ellerbe “Everyone has been patiently waiting and the series of fights that we will collectively put on over the next few months will be great for boxing and the sports world in general.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox