Hawkins Manager: Shelestyuk 'Chickened Out' of ShoBox Bout

By Steve Kim

The April 14th of ShoBox from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland will have a main event that will pair rising undefeated prospect Dmitry Bivol facing Samuel Clarkson for the interim WBA light heavyweight title.

The co-feature was to have matched a pair of undefeated welterweights in Malik Hawkins and Taras Shelestyuk, but now Hawkins will be facing Juan Ruiz, instead.

Shelestyuk a 2012 Olympian from Ukraine was forced to pull out of the fight late last week.

002_Taras_Shelestyuk (720x480)_1

"He was running and he rolled his ankle. It was pretty bad so we had to pull him out of the fight so the swelling would go down," explained Matt Rowland of Banner Promotions.

As for when Shelestyuk might return, he told - "Once the swelling is down and he's able to run. So probably June."

Akendre 'Snapper' Taylor, who manages Hawkins, was skeptical of the ailment.

"Man up, fight Malik," was his message to Shelestyuk. "Honestly, I know the politics of boxing, I believe he chickened out out. It may not have been him but maybe somebody like his management realized that Malik wasn't just an opponent so I think they needed a little more time so they fake the injury to get that time."

Hawkins(10-0, 7 KO's) told - "I was expecting it because he's never really fought nobody like me."

Regardless, he will still be on this broadcast and he promises to be ready.

"Yes sir, I definitely will be," said the 21-year old native of Baltimore.

Steve Kim is the news editor for

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