ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The eight fighters who’ll be fighting on ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday, Aug. 19, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT) at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., all made weight Thursday.
Undefeated Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (17-0-1, 15 KOs) faces his toughest test to date in veteran Fred Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KOs) in the main event, which will take place at the outdoor USL soccer venue here. The co-main event features promising Louisiana lightweight “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard (31-1, 23 KOs) facing his most dangerous foe to date in Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (18-2, 11 KOs) of Houston, Texas, by way of Uzbekistan in a 10-round battle for the WBO NABO Lightweight title.
Plus, undefeated welterweight knockout artist Bakhtiyar Eyubov (10-0, 10 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y., by way of Kazakhstan, steps up to face veteran Karim Mayfield (19-3-1, 11 KOs) of San Francisco in a 10-round clash. And unbeaten Antonio Nieves (16-0-1, 8 KOs) of Cleveland will square off against Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago (11-2-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round bantamweight bout for Nieves’ WBO NABO Title.
The Weights: Miller tipped the scales at 296 ½ pounds, while Kassi weighed 237 ¼ pounds. Menard weighed 134 ½ pounds, while his opponent, Mamadjonov, measured half pound over the limit on his first try, but hit the 135 mark half an hour later. Nieves weighed 117 even, while Santiago weighed 117 ½ pounds. Eyubov weighed 142 ½, while Mayfiled measured at 142 ¾ pounds.
The event is presented by Salita Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions.
Here’s what the principals had to say prior to the weigh-in:
Jarrell Miller, Undefeated Heavyweight Prospect
“Mike Tyson was a freak of nature. Vitali Klitschko was a freak of nature. I’m also a freak of nature. I’m 6’ 4” and pushing 280. I’m a big guy, but I’m athletic. I can move. I can punch, and I was a kickboxer. I’m not your average heavyweight. I’m not trying to change the blueprint of how heavyweights should be. I’m just being myself and doing my job.
“They are like, ‘we’ve seen his body, we’ve seen his size. We’ll outwork him,’ but they are wrong. Never can judge a book by its cover. I’ll outwork him in the ring. I’m fast, I’m good and I can punch. He’s not going to see me coming.
“Don’t let my weight fool you. I’ve been doing cardio. I’m in really good shape and I’m ready to go the distance.
“Every fight, I have to know how to adjust. I feel like Fred has never been in with a guy like me. He’s been with [Chris] Arreola, who doesn’t move as much, and he also fought [Dominic] Breazeale, who doesn’t have good footwork. I’m telling you, he’s never fought a big athletic body like me. He’s in for a surprise.
“I know my jab is going to be on his face. For me, it’s not just about winning, it’s about performance. Every fight in my career from now on it’s about more than winning. Now I have to prove myself. I have to prove I’m worthy of a title shot.
“I wasn’t happy with my [Jan. 22] win over Donovan Dennis. I knew I could’ve done better than a seventh-round TKO. That’s why I’m pushing myself on this fight. I want to win convincingly and I will.
“Anthony Joshua is a punk. Deontay Wilder, don’t get me started. Now, Tyson Fury can actually punch. I’ll give him that. From all of them, Fury in my opinion is the better one. That’s why I want to fight him. I believe you should go for the hardest ones first. You take the biggest guy out first and then, you go for the easy ones. That’s how it’s supposed to be and that’s what I’d like to do. Take the hard ones out first. Fury, you are next.”
Fred Kassi, Heavyweight Prospect
“I’ll be a little bit heavier than usual for this fight, but I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready. I hope the judges see that. I have had some bad experiences with judges recently.
“I have had some big fights. I dealt with big guys and talkers, but that doesn’t concern me because in the ring it’s going to be just the two of us. That is when the real fight is going to happen.
“I did my job against Arreola, I did what I had to do against Dominic Breazeale. I got robbed.
I’ve never fought a heavyweight shorter than me. I’m usually the shorter one in the ring, but I know my game. I know what I’m doing.”
“I’ve gotten robbed so many times. I was coming on hard against Hughie Fury. I didn’t do great in the first rounds, but I was leading in the late ones, and he was slowing down. The stoppage was a relief for him. He was running out of gas.
Mason Menard, Lightweight Prospect
“After that last knockout, so many people were actually exhilarated about it. People that didn’t even know me, they’d come up and say, ‘Are you Mason? Man, I saw that KO [and show me the video]. I’ve watched it a thousand times.’”
On his opponent…
“He’s one of those guys that no one wants to fight. I took this fight as soon as it was offered because it’s another step up for me. I have to beat guys like this to get to the A-class of fighters. He’s not a bad fighter but he’s not A-class. I simply have to beat guys like this.
“Hand speed and foot speed, those are my difference makers.”
On his growth beyond the La., circuit now, after 35 fights:
“I am glad to be getting the national exposure now. We had some step up fights in Louisiana at first. Now, we are right where we need to be. It’s all happening now.”
Bahodir Mamadjonov Lightweight Prospect
“Menard fought many of the same fighters that we have. Many guys in the same class as we did. So, we are not impressed with his record or his knockouts. We prepared for seven or eight weeks. Although we only knew of this opponent for two-three weeks. At this level, this is no surprise. We are ready.
“We tried to fight him years ago. He was 17-1 or 18-1 at the time and he didn’t want the fight. Now, he’s out of options. I am by far the toughest test of his career.
“We are close to a world title now. A win here, our third appearance on SHOWTIME, and against a world-rated lightweight…. “I will bring the fight to Mason Menard. That is my style and it doesn’t change for this fight. He’s fighting to prove he’s legitimate. I am here to earn my title shot.”
Antonio Nieves, Bantamweight Prospect
“When they tell you are going to fight and then you hear your opponent got injured, you get a little bit down. Thankfully, Alejandro Santiago was ready to step up.
“We’ve noticed he’s successful when the fighter gets in his face, and I have the right strategy for that.
“From my last fight I took two weeks off, and then back in the gym. I didn’t even know the name of my opponent. I just wanted to be ready to go when the fight was set.
“I’m ranked fifth in the WBO, after Santiago I want to fight for the WBO bantamweight title and then, I will probably look for Rau’shee Warren to unify the titles. I think there’s not enough action in my division and I’m ready to change that.”
Alejandro Santiago, Bantamweight Prospect
“I’ve known about this fight for two months. I was about 130 pounds when I found out. I’ve been training hard and I feel ready to move up in weight. I’m ready for my opponent.
“I like to box. I like to get in my opponent’s face. I like to hit and not get hit. I’ve worked a lot on my defensive skills.
“I know Nieves is a tough fighter. He’s skilled. But I have a good strategy. I’ll approach him smartly, and I’ll get the decision.”
Bakhtiyar Eyubov, Undefeated Welterweight Prospect
“We have been training in a large ring, specifically to prepare to cut the ring off. We are prepared to go 10 rounds, to go 15 rounds. We are not worried about going rounds.”
(Re: only 10 fights so far in career):
“I grew up in the gym, had a great amateur career. I expect to progress quickly just like the great amateurs before me. I am at the peak of my strength and I am ready. Karim has never been stopped, never been dropped. He’s a real test.
“I grew up in a rough environment, in the streets. I am not intimidated. If not for boxing, I would be in a very bad situation back home (Kazakhstan).”
“It will be a real fight. I hope he is ready 100 percent because we are. I am not a God, we can’t predict, but know this, it will be a good show. Let him do his job. I will do my job. And I will have him out of there within five rounds.”
Karim Mayfield, Welterweight Prospect
“I’m a world class opponent. I’ve fought better fighters than him. He will be taking his first loss.
“For those that say it’s too late at 36, I tell them they are wrong. I’m not worn out. I haven’t been in one-sided wars or beatings. I’ve been taking care of myself. I’m experienced and I know my craft.
“I’m planning to show my opponent I know how to utilize the ring. I’ve only been down once. I know my opponent is a strong fighter and that he’s going to come strong, but he’s not going to take me down.
“I’m used to training late. I hit the gym at 7 or 8 o’clock at night. Our fight is late tomorrow, but I’m used to it. At that time Eyubov is going to sleep. So, I’m going to do him a favor and I’ll put him to sleep.
“I feel that I still have the opportunity to thrive, to move forward in my boxing career. There’s still a lot of me left.”