Light Heavyweight prospects Umar Salamov and Brian Howard will meet in a 10-round matchup that will open the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION tripleheader Friday, June 22 live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT) from Masonic Temple in Detroit.
In the main event, unified champions from different divisions will meet in the middle. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Unified Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields will face Unified Jr. Middleweight World Champion Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championships. Both fighters have a lot at stake when they meet as Shields will look to become a two-division champion and Gabriels will seek to win titles on a third weight class. In the co-feature bout, women's unified WBC and WBO Middleweight World Champion Christina Hammer will defend against former world champion Tori Nelson as all four women’s middleweight world titles will be at stake.
Salamov (20-1, 15 KOs), of Alkhan-Kala, Russia, will be making his United States debut and is currently in training at Kronk Gym in Detroit with famed Javan “Sugar” Hill Steward. In his six-year career, the 23-year-old has already won the IBO Youth and World Light Heavyweight, WBO Youth World, European and International, and the IBF East/West Europe Light Heavyweight Championships.
Howard (13-1, 10 KOs) of Bartow Fla., currently resides in Loganville, Ga., outside of Atlanta. He started boxing 12 years ago at the age of 26, after playing three years in minor league football for the Polk County War Eagles. Despite being 38, Howard has shown natural talent and has knocked out previously undefeated fighters in two of his last three appearances.
"I waited a long time to make my U.S. debut and I am thrilled that it's going to be on SHOWTIME," said Salamov. "Training at the Kronk Gym in Detroit has been a phenomenal experience. I look forward to putting my skills and experience together to make a powerful statement. Howard is an accomplished and skilled boxer. I am coming in ready and know that it will be an exciting fight for the fans at Masonic Temple. This is my opportunity to show that I belong at the top of the light heavyweight division."
Howard is also excited to be making his SHOWTIME debut. “It's one of the opportunities that every fighter hopes to get,” he said. “I want to thank team Salamov for giving me the chance to take part in this event. I look forward to future opportunities and putting on a great show on fight night. I know he's a champion, which I respect. He's a skilled fighter who handles himself well in the ring, but I predict I will get him out of there between the fifth and 10th round."
“I believe Umar has the skills, experience and hunger to be the best light heavyweight in the world,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions. "Umar will have a chance to prove a point against a big puncher and spoiler in Brian Howard. It will be an exciting fight with both fighters needing a win to get into world title contention.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are available at Ticketmaster.com or at the Masonic Temple Box Office at (313) 832-7100. VIP tickets are priced at $300, ringside tickets at $125, and remaining tickets at $75, $50 and $35.
Jack Catterall has dismissed the notion Tyrone McKenna presents the most thorough examination of his world title credentials.
The unbeaten super-lightweights are preparing to collide in a mouth-watering clash on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s homecoming on June 30 – with many viewing the bout as impossible to predict.
World-ranked Catterall (21-0-KO12), however, is supremely confident of retaining his WBO strap against ‘The Mighty Celt’ (16-0-1-KO6).
Catterall said: “Tyrone is not my toughest test to date. I’ve been in tougher fights than this one will be.
“Nathan Brough was a tough amateur and I knocked him out. Tyrone Nurse achieved more than McKenna. Nurse had some good wins and lots of momentum before I fought him.
“I’ve also sparred McKenna myself. I sparred him before my British title fight once or twice. He’s a southpaw and very tall but the way he fights is fine for me.
“The way Tyrone fights, it looks like he’s not shy in coming forward to have a go and that suits me down to the ground. He’s there to be taken out.
“I believe there’s only one winner but I do respect him. I was actually talking to him a couple of weeks before the fight got announced. I hope Belfast gets behind him – they seem to love him.
“I’ll bring some good support with me too. I didn’t get to showcase my improvements at Elland Road but hopefully I will this time round. It’s a huge event coming up in Belfast.”
Catterall v McKenna is just one of a host of huge fights on the night, with Jono Carroll’s long-awaited rematch with Declan Geraghty and Paddy Gallagher v Gary Corcoran, Tyrone McCullagh v Joe Ham and Johnny Coyle v Lewis Benson all competing for limelight.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced the officials for this Saturday, June 16, clash between WBO Jr. Flyweight Champion, Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta, from Puerto Rico, and ranked No. 10 by this sanctioning body Carlos 'Chocorroncito' Buitrago, from Nicaragua, in a scheduled 12 rounds bout.
The world title match will take place at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan as the main event of a boxing evening presented by the Cotto Promotions. The Puerto Rican Luis Pabón will be the referee of the clash. Pabón is a veteran of over 400 professional boxing fights, including 168 world titles bouts.
The Coliseo de Puerto Rico, was the scene of Miguel Cotto's first world championship, when the today’s promoter was crowned WBO Jr. Welterwweight Champion on September 11, 2004 after defeating Kelson Pinto, of Brazil, by technical knockout in the sixth round.
Puerto Rican Jerry Martinez of Guaynabo and from the United States, Rocky Young, of Florida, and William Lerch, of Illinois, were appointed judges for the bout. The WBO Supervisor will be WBO President of the Classifications Committee Edgardo López Sasso, Esq.
For Acosta (17-1-1, 17 KOs), it will be his first world title defense of the title he won last December by knocking out Mexican Juan 'Pinky' Alejo in the tenth round. On his part, Buitrago (30-3-1, 17 KOs) has held the WBO Youth and Latino Mini Flyweight titles.