LAS VEGAS – A ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader, highlighted by a 10-round middleweight fight between world-ranked contenders Antoine “Action” Douglas and Les “Lock N Load” Sherrington, is set for tomorrow/Friday, Nov. 6, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC), across from the D Las Vegas in iconic Downtown Las Vegas.
Douglas (18-0-1, 12 KOs), of Burke, Va., is the WBA’s No. 9 contender. He is making his fifth appearance on ShoBox. Eight other fighters who have fought five or more times on the popular prospect-oriented boxing series have gone on to challenge for a world title.
Sherrington (35-7, 30 KOs), of Burleigh, Gold Coast, Australia, is the WBA’s No. 12 contender at 160 pounds. He is fighting outside of his homeland for the first time and will be making his U.S. and 2015 debuts. The winner of Douglas-Sherrington will be crowned the WBA and WBO International Middleweight Champion.
In the 10-round ShoBox co-feature, former amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Ukrainian southpaw Taras “Real Deal” Shelestyuk (12-0, 8 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., faces the more experienced Aslanbek Kozaev (26-1-1, 7 KOs), of Vladikavkaz, Russia, in a welterweight bout.
Two eight-rounders will round out a four-fight telecast: southpaw “Killa” Keenan Smith (8-0, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia battles Benjamin “Da Blaxican” Whitaker (10-1, 2 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas, in a super lightweight match and switch-hitting O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (8-0, 5 KOs) of Orange, Texas, takes on “Tsunami Sam” Teah (6-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia in a lightweight scrap.
All but Douglas will be making their ShoBox debuts in an event promoted by GH3 Promotions and Banner Promotions. All eight boxers will be fighting in Las Vegas for the first time. Tickets are priced at $100.50, $75.50, $40.50, $25.50 and $20.50 and are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com .
The Weights: Douglas weighed 158¼ pounds, Sherrington 159½; Shelestyuk tipped the scale at 145¾ pounds, Kozaev 147 (second attempt); Smith weighed 141¾ pounds, Whitaker 146¼; and Foster weighed 136¼ pounds, Teah 137.
Here’s what the fighters had to say prior to the weigh-in:
“It’s been a great experience being able to grow on ShoBox. I feel I’ve really grown and definitely changed since my first ShoBox appearance. I’ve become more intelligent in the ring, I’ve learned how to categorize my punches. I still throw a lot, but I’m more selective. I’m still learning the sport.
“The way I train, I’m ready for anybody. I respect Sherrington as a fighter. I know he likes to switch, but I’m not sure how he rates against others I’ve fought. The main thing for me is to stay busy and jab. He likes to come forward so I don’t want to make it easy for him and just stand in front of him. I’ll try and take advantage of what I have, utilize all my strengths like I do against all my opponents.
“I had a great camp, and got to travel to three states to train (Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey and back to Virginia). I sparred with guys with a lot of different kinds of styles, including southpaws. I could really feel the difference working in Colorado at that altitude.
“Training and sparring give me my confidence so I can’t help but be excited and ready for anything that comes Friday night.
“This is obviously another big fight for me, a chance to move up in the rankings and then go from there. I’m ready for the next step. This is my fifth fight on ShoBox. I’m ready to move on to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® next. I’m thinking I can have a monster year in 2016. I will fight anybody. I’m looking forward to getting to the big dance. And I’m looking forward to fighting Sherrington on Friday.”
“I definitely feel they’re underestimating me in his fight. They think I’m the same fighter that got knocked out in his pro debut and was just 4-3 after seven fights. But I’m not that fighter at all. I’ve gone through hard times, had different promoters, trainers and I learned a lot of lessons. I had my fair share of setbacks and injuries in my career.
“But this is my opportunity, one I’ve been waiting my whole career for. The timing is perfect, fighting for the first time in the United States, in the mecca of boxing, Las Vegas, where I’ve always dreamed of fighting, and on SHOWTIME. I’ve been here since last Thursday, trained at the Mayweather Gym and at the old Johnny Tocco Gym.
“I’m 33 and had 42 pro fights so I may be a veteran age-wise, but I feel closer to 23. I’m still fresh, enthusiastic and I’m ready to really make my mark. I didn’t turn pro until I was 18 and that was after basically a little or no amateur career. This is my first fight in 11 months but that’s only because I had a couple of fights fall out on me, or offered to me on ridiculously short notice.
“This fight is a make-or-break fight for me. I trained super hard for 12 weeks. It’s been an unreal camp. I probably sparred 200 rounds. I was training hard before I got word of this fight and I’ve been working even harder since. My conditioning is great.
“The key for me is to bring everything I’ve got: Fitness, my jab, my power. Everything has to be working because Douglas is a great up-and-coming fighter who I hear some are calling the next big superstar.
“I just feel that experience will be a big difference. I’ve gone 10 and 12 rounds many times. He is very quick and slick, but I can box, too. It’s is going to be a great fight and I am totally looking forward to it.’’
“I sparred maybe a couple of rounds with Kozaev a year or so ago, but nothing meaningful. This is my first fight for new trainer Eric Brown. I feel like I’m continuing to develop and improve my pro style.
“I have no regrets staying amateur for as long as I did. I think now, at 29, my age is perfect. I got a whole lot of experience fighting amateurs in the Olympics so I feel it’s time to take the next step in my pro career.
“I know I’ve grown as a fighter. What I like as a pro compared to the amateurs is that you can spend a whole camp training for one guy. In the amateurs, you may fight six guys in a row with different styles.
“After this fight, I want to step up against any of the contenders.
“We have several different game plans for this fight. I know I am three inches taller than him, so I know I should box, but I like to fight. I need to be more patient as a pro but if I can stop him I will. But I’m ready to go 10 rounds. I’m ready for any situation.
“I think all good Ukrainian fighters coming up respect the Klitschko brothers for being able to stay on top for so long. I have some of the same friends as they do.’’
“I’ve been in the United States for three weeks training with Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif. I’m so looking forward to fighting again. The reason I’ve been off so long (18 months) was due to trouble with my promoter in Russia.
“I continue to work hard to be a well-rounded fighter. I expect this to be my toughest fight so far, but also a very exciting fight. Both of us are 100 percent ready. I’ve fought southpaws before so that is not a concern. What I remember about sparring with him is that he was strong, sharp and smart.
“For me, the key in this fight is for me to be aggressive, get inside, give him lots of head movement, stay busy and stay behind the jab. The jab may be the key.
“My last loss was against Ray Robinson (in February 2014), but I’m not even sure he was a boxer because he ran so much.’’
“My Mom died (Sept. 16) during this training camp, but I know I am doing the right thing by fighting. This is what she would want me to do, and it is making me stronger and more motivated. I am dedicating this fight to her and my late brother.
“I’m absolutely excited about this fight and ready to go. It’s been a tough road for me but I never doubted that I would not return to boxing and this is my fourth fight this year. I’m a changed person.
“You learn from your mistakes. I’ve become a Muslim, and that has really humbled me. I’ve worked hard, trained hard, run hard and did everything necessary to win again. I hope people will be able to tell how much I’ve changed and how hard I’ve worked.’’
“I’ve fought two or three southpaws as pro, but I’ve also sparred with Erislandy Lara, who may be the best left-hander in the world. It was a tremendous experience.
“At 31, I’m playing catch-up to most fighters, who have been doing it since they were at a young age. But I’m motivated, determined and dedicated so I feel I am gaining ground on them all the time.
“This is another tough fight. I may be the underdog, I don’t know, but I wasn’t supposed to beat my last two or three opponents either. I never watch tape; I just prepare the best I can and make adjustments as I go.
“I feel I am one of boxing’s well-kept secrets. But that can change overnight which is why I always fight with a chip on my shoulder. Although I feel closer to 21 than 31, there is no time to waste. I feel I can do a lot of things well. Boxing is a hard sport, but I’m a competitor and I’m going to compete.’’
“I’m not much of a talker but I can tell you I am ready to step up to eight rounds for the first time. I have worked very hard in the gym so stamina won’t be a problem. I’m looking to make an immediate first impression on SHOWTIME.
“I feel both physically and mentally prepared for this huge opportunity. I am not nervous at all. I’m fighting a fast guy, but I’m a good thinker and know what I’m supposed to do.’’
“I’ve been in camp for about 10 weeks for this fight and I can’t wait for Friday. After fighting five times last year, this will only be my second this year, but that is due to a lot of bad circumstances.
“I feel good about this fight and my career. I’ve fought southpaws before. I’ve pretty much trained myself as an amateur and as a pro but I know exactly what I have to do as a fighter. I am really motivated for this fight.
“I’ve already surprised a lot of people who never thought I’d amount to anything. But all that I’ve gone through has made me wiser, hungrier and more mature.
“I’ve definitely come a long way from the days when I was younger. I spent time in a juvenile detention home, and I got suspended from school for one year for fighting. Most of the people I knew thought I would be on probation or in jail by now. They can’t believe I’ve made something out of my life.’’