Lone Star State-based non-profit organization Ring of Hope returns for a resounding night of sanctioned professional boxing when it presents its ninth annual “Night To Fight” pro boxing and charity event on Saturday, March 7 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas.
The main event will present an 8 round light heavyweight attraction between two battle-tested warriors when Dallas-Fort Worth born-and-bred boxer Samuel Clarkson (22-5, 15 KOs) challenges the Freddie Roach-trained Israel Duffus (19-6, 16 KOs).
The marquee match of the night will culminate to serve as the major fundraising event to help support the Ring of Hope boxing program. Since 2010, Ring of Hope has transformed communities and changed the lives of the youth by educating, empowering and engaging students through the fundamentals of boxing.
“I’m often asked why I’ve had such a desire to be a part of Ring of Hope. It’s all about the future of the young men and women in our communities,” said Ring of Hope founder Steven Bolos. “We believe for them, believe in them and believe with and through them that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield (3-0, 3 KOs), the son of Hall of Fame fighter Evander “The Real Deal'' Holyfield, will continue on his quest to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps when the 22-year-old returns to the ring. Presented by Main Events, the Houston-based Holyfield made his pro boxing debut in November with his legendary father supporting ringside.
Local talent and 18-year-old standout Tristan Kalkreuth (4-0, 3 KOs), who last year inked a deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, will continue his climb up the ranks in a separate fight as well. Kalkreuth was born in Carrollton and is a resident of Duncanville. He’s trained by renowned coach Ronnie Shields, and has a decorated amateur background, where he participated in over 100 fights, earned two National Championships and fought for the USA Boxing Team in the World Championships in 2018.
Also to be featured in separate bouts are welterweights Jessy Martinez (14-0, 9 KOs) and Brandyn Lynch (10-1, 8 KOs), cruiserweight Robin Safar (10-0, 7 KOs) and heavyweight Patrick Mailata (4-0, 2 KOs), Austin-based super lightweight Robert Kevin Garcia (6-0, 5 KOs) and the Corpus Christi-based lightweight John Rincon (4-0, 2 KOs).
Night To Fight will be available live on Integrated Sports Pay Per View on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH in the United States, Shaw PPV in Canada and worldwide via the FITE.TV app and website.
Hall of Fame Showtime TV broadcaster Al Bernstein, former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi and LA Times and Boxing Scene journalist and writer Manouk Akopyan will call the action from ringside.
Chad Sugden has received a shock dream shot at the Vacant British Light-Heavyweight title against Shakan Pitters on Saturday 28th March at the Coventry Skydome, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5 in the UK, following the withdrawal of original challenger Craig Richards.
Newark warrior Sugden (11-1-1, 4 KO’s) was originally scheduled to feature on the undercard, but was training as if he was going to challenge for the 175-pound title just in case Pitters or Sugden withdrew from the fight and he had to step in.
That has now become a reality for Sugden after Richards was ruled out of the title fight due to suffering from a viral infection that has left him unable to train and Sugden steps up to fight the undefeated Pitters in the main event.
All-action Sugden, 25, caused a massive shock when he held the WBA Continental Champion and number 10 World ranked Richards to a draw last December at the York Hall where at just a week’s notice and coming in the underdog he fought the fight of his life to level with Richards and saw his stock rise considerably.
‘2-Slick’ Sugden is thrilled to be challenging for the prestigious Lonsdale belt in the first championship contest of his 13-fight career and now heads into a red-hot Midlands derby showdown against his Birmingham rival.
He said, “It’s a dream come true. From fighting Richards at one week’s notice and getting a draw and then being constantly in the gym training over Christmas and New Year looking for the next fight, to then getting a slot on the undercard of Pitters versus Richards and to now getting a shot at the British title is the stuff dreams are made of. I’m not getting carried away with it though, the reality is I’ve got to now train like never before and make this dream real and win the British title. I’ll go into the fight the underdog and I love that because I know I can cause a huge upset.”
Pitters (13-0-0, 4 KO’s) is not unnerved with the change of opponent from Richards to Sugden and will not let that detract his focus and determination to win the British title.
“I’m just getting on with the job in front of me and winning the British title. I don’t care who is in the ring on the night, they’re getting beat, simple. This is my destiny to become British Champion and nothing is going to derail me. The fight is still nearly five weeks away so there is plenty of time to readjust from Richards to Sugden. He thinks he’s seen chinks in my armour because of my height, but he’ll find out for real on the night what he’s up against.” Said Pitters.
Whilst disappointed, Richards has not lost his opportunity and will fight the winner out of Pitters and Sugden next and aims to be at ringside for the fight to see who emerges victorious on the night. He said, “After two weeks out of the gym with a flu virus my manager and trainer Peter Sims has made a decision that I objected to, but I understand it's for my own health to pull me out of the fight against Shakan Pitters for the British Title on 28th March. However, due to my GP supplying the relevant medical paper work to the BBBofC, I’m still the mandatory challenger and will fight the winner of Pitters and Sugden in Coventry where I will hopefully be watching at ringside.”
Promoter Mick Hennessy added, “Sugden’s proved he is more than a worthy challenger for the British title after his tremendous performance against Richards and to hold a quality fighter like him to a draw at a week’s notice was a great achievement. We’re sorry to see Richards having to withdraw due to a viral condition, but at least he has consolation in the fact that he will get first crack at the winner for the British title. Between Pitters and Sugden, we have a real Midlands derby tear-up between a tall, skilled, box-puncher in Pitters and the rough, tough and relentless Sugden which will make for an intense battle with the prestigious British title on the line. With Richards waiting in the wings, it's great to see a dearth of talent in the domestic 175 pound division who will square off against each other.”
Highly decorated amateur, 18-year old super middleweight Angel Chavez of Salinas, California, will turn pro after winning numerous national titles. Chavez, who had well over 100 amateur fights, will have his professional career guided by established manager Bob Santos.
"I felt it was the best move for my career to turn professional since everyone says I have more of a pro-style," said Chavez. "I know I’m young, but Bob Santos has an incredible track record working with great fighters. He guided Robert Guerrero to multiple world titles, and there are many more world champions that he’s helped get to the top. I feel I have a great team in place, and I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase my talent with Santos in my corner."
Chavez, who stands 6’3, is a big Mexican-American super middleweight, who will be trained by former #1 contender, Jose Celaya.
"Chavez has great size and athleticism for the super-middleweight division," said Bob Santos, who also works with WBA Super Welterweight champion Erislandy Lara and WBA champion Mario Barrios. "This kid has tremendous power in both hands and we're excited to see what the future holds for such an exciting young fighter. I really think Chavez can be something special."
Chavez will make his professional debut on a PBC card TBA.