Louisville, Kentucky will play host to the first round of the ‘Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament’ at the KFC YUM! Center on Friday, April 27 as the matchups for the first round were announced today by Evander Holyfield’s The Real Deal Boxing in association with the World Boxing Council and Louisville’s Top Knotch.
Tickets starting at $35 will go on sale this Monday March 5 at 10:00 a.m. and are available through the KFC Yum! Center box office, Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Over the last ten days boxing fans from around the world have ranked each of the eight welterweights chosen for the tournament which have formulated the first-round matchups. Each fight will be scheduled for ten rounds.
#1 ranked FELIX DIAZ, (19-2-0, 9 KO’s) of Santa Domingo, D.R. will clash with #8 ranked DERRIECK CUEVAS, (16-0-1, 13 KO’s) of Catano, Puerto Rico.
#2 ranked CHRIS VAN HEERDEN, (25-2-1, 12 KO’s) of Johannesburg, South Africa, faces #7 ranked TIMO SCHWARZKOPF, (18-1-0, 10 KO’s) of Stuttgart, Germany.
#3 ranked FREDRICK LAWSON, (26-1-0, 21 KO’s) battles #6 ranked BAISHANBO NASIYWULA, (13-1-1, 6 KO’s), of Urumqi, China.
#4 ranked RADZHAB BUTAEV, (8-0-0, 6 KO’s) of Russia faces #5 ranked BRAD SOLOMON, (27-1-0, 9 KO’s), of Douglasville, Georgia.
“It is a pleasure to be part of something that honors the late Jose Sulaiman and represents the WBC," said Felix Diaz. "I’m excited to be facing Derrick Cuevas in the first round and look forward to the challenge.”
Said Derrieck Cuevas, ‘I can't explain how happy I am to be chosen to compete in the Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament. I am honored to fight Felix Diaz. I would like to thank Real Deal Boxing and my manager Troya for believing in me and choosing me from so many talented prospects to compete and show the world that Derrieck Cuevas is the future of the 147lb. division.”
“This is a great opportunity to be entered into this tournament and I look forward to facing Timo Schwarzkopf in the first round on April 27 in Louisville,” said Chris van Heerden.
Said Timo Schwarzkopf, "I'm very excited to fight Chris van Heerden and really looking forward to this great tournament. Fair circumstances for all participants is what convinced me to participate. This is exactly what boxing needs. It promises great fights. I want to thank my Management and Promoter, the WBC, Evander Holyfield and the whole Real Deal Boxing team for making this happen. I'm more than ready. I want to win this tournament."
“My comeback to the limelight has been a hard road to travel,” said Fredrick Lawson. “I thank God the almighty, my manager Jacob Zwennes who has been my rock and my entire team for believing in me and who will prepare me for my first-round matchup against Baishanbo Nasiywula. Most importantly I thank Real Deal Boxing and the WBC for giving me this opportunity to come and show the world who "General Okunka" really is.”
“I’m honored to fight in the United States and fight Fredrick Lawson in the first round of the ‘Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament,” said Baishanbo Nasiywula. “I know there are many great fighters entered but I plan on using this tournament to make my mark internationally and be victorious throughout.”
Said Radzhab Butaev, “The tournament is a great opportunity to make myself known in the world! I know that I can win the tournament! There are top prospects in the tournament, but I will do everything to defeat Brad Solomon, win the next two rounds and move on to world title fights!”
“This tournament is just what I need right now for my career,” said Brad Solomon.”I'll be victorious over Butaev and look forward to the next two rounds and winning the tournament later this year.”
The two alternates chosen by the fan voting include FRANCISCO SANTANA, (26-6-1, 12 KO’s), of Santa Barbara, CA and PADDY GALLAGHER, (13-3-0, 8 KO’s) of Belfast, Northern Ireland.