Memphis, Tenn. - Earlier today at Memphis' famed Jerry Lee Lewis Café in downtown, lightweights Ivan Redkach (15-0, 13KO's) and Tony Luis (17-1, 7KO's) met face-to-face at the final press conference before the two square off this Friday night in their 10-round lightweight showdown. The match-up will be the headlining bout on Friday's ShoBox: The New Generation premiere card of the 2014 season. Photos by Stacey Verbeek.
In co-featured televised bouts, unbeaten junior middleweights John Thompson (14-0, 5 KO's) and Frank Galarza (11-0-2, 7 KO's) collide in an eight-round matchup and fast-rising and highly regarded up-and-coming prospect Antoine Douglas (11-0, 7 KO's) squares off against Marquis Davis (8-0-2, 5 KO's) in an eight-round middleweight showdown. Opening the telecast will be hard-hitting Maurice Hooker (12-0-1, 9 KO's) fellow undefeated prospect Abel Ramos (8-0, 4KO's) in an eight-round junior welterweight matchup. The exciting four-fight telecast will be aired live on SHOWTIME® beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Both Redkach and Luis looked confident and excited to get things underway on Friday night. Below are quotes and photos from the fighters and their respective camps.
IVAN REDKACH - I am excited to be here and want to thank everyone involved for making this fight possible, especially my promoter Lou DiBella and DiBella Entertainment, my manager Larry Army, and of course Tony Luis. I feel great, never better. I am a machine and, no offense to Tony, but there is no way that this fight is going the distance. Maybe he makes it into the 4th, 5th or 6th round, but there is no possible way he sees the final bell.
TONY LUIS - It's an absolute pleasure to be here and to be part of this great event and I truly grateful to have this opportunity. Also January 17th, is the birthday of the great Muhammad Ali, so having the opportunity to honor him makes this fight that much more special.
As for me and Ivan, I have prepared for a nightmare. In training with that mindset, I am going to become his nightmare. I just want to touch on something, you know I have been reading and hearing all of these things that he represents himself as a Mexican fighter based on his aggressive style. He was born and raised in the Ukraine though, and I think one of the most important things in this sport, and in life, is that you can't forget where you come from. That is part of my job on Friday night, to remind him who he really is and where he comes from. I know we have both trained very hard and are both ready to put on the performances of our lives and I hope that everyone enjoys the fight.
KEVIN ROONEY JR. (DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT) - First and foremost we at DiBella Entertainment want to thank everyone who was involved in making this tremendous show possible, particularly our partners on Friday night GH3 promotions, Greg Cohen Promotions and of course our local promoter here Brian Young and everyone at Prize Fight Boxing. We are excited to be here in this great city of Memphis which has such a rich history in the sport and is a great fight town.
When Showtime came up with the concept of the ShoBox series, they envisioned having cards like we have here on Friday night. In the four televised fights, you have seven fighters coming in with undefeated records and the eight fighters have a combined 96-1 record. Not only do these fights look good on paper, but they are truly great match-ups. Each bout features promising and hungry, evenly matched young fighters, looking to make a name for themselves in their respective divisions. On Friday night, four of them will take a major step in that direction.
In the main event you have who we at DBE believe is truly one of the bright young stars on our roster and in all of boxing, taking on his toughest opponent to date in Tony Luis. Ivan is everything you want to see in a young prospect. He is super talented, super exciting and very focused and hungry. What we feel separates Ivan from the rest of the pack, is his ferocity inside the ring and his pure punching power. We believe that we have one of the most promising and talented fighters in the entire 135 pound division and after Friday night, you will know why.
GREG COHEN (GREG COHEN PROMOTIONS) - It's great to be back in Memphis working back with Brian Young and his brother Russ. Anytime we have an opportunity to fight on a Showtime card it's just terrific. Kevin touched on it already but this card is exactly what the ShoBox series is all about. You have four fighters, who are right there, right on the cusp of becoming world champion level fighters. We are opening the telecast with the very talented Maurice Hooker in terrific fight against fellow undefeated prospect Abel Ramos. Then you move on to Antoine Douglas against Marquis Davis in the next bout. This fight also features two undefeated fighters putting it on the line. Antoine is a special young fighter. He has world champion written all over him and it is going to be terrific for him to get his Showtime debut on Friday. Then you move onto the next bout featuring a 14-0 John Thompson taking on 11-0 Frank Galarza, setting up what promises to be an exciting main event between Tony and Ivan.
Ivan Redkach was an unbelievable amateur and is an unbelievable fighter. He has passed every test with flying colors so far in his career, and he seems to be a real force to be reckoned with. Tony has had a terrific amateur pedigree as well though. Tony is a real serious and real hard-working kid. He has all the talent in the world. When I asked him the other day how he was feeling about the fight, he told me that he wasn't just coming here to fight, but coming to win. That is the attitude that he always has, and I believe in him 100 percent and I believe that one day he will be a world champion.
The card on Friday night is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with GH3 Promotions, Greg Cohen Promotions and Prize Fight Boxing, and will take place at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn. The event is sponsored by Ivey Poker.com - "It's more fun when you win", Fitz Tunica Casino and Hotel, Bakker Magnetics, Maple Ave Boxing Gym and Everlast.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.