CORK, IRELAND – Unbeaten Irish based Cuban duo Luis "El Leon" Garcia (11-0, 9 KO's) and Mike "The Rebel" Perez (17-0, 12 KO's) are promising a double dose of seasons beatings when they make their US debuts on the undercard of Jermain Taylor's return at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, California on December 30th.
Garcia takes on fellow undefeated prospect Alexander "The Great" Johnson (12-0, 5 KO's) in a bout which will be broadcast live on ShoBox: The New Generation on the Showtime network while Perez meets Friday "The 13th" Ahunanya (24-8-13, 8 KO's) in a heavyweight bout scheduled for ten rounds.
Garcia and Perez are part of the Team Thomas stable based in Cork, Ireland which also includes a third undefeated Cuban, current world number 13 super bantamweight (WBA ratings) Alexei Collado (15-0, 14 KO's). All three were World Junior Champions in the amateur ranks prior to relocating to Ireland to launch their pro careers.
Garcia is confident that he can shine on his Stateside debut and leave an impression on the Shobox viewers. "I'm excited to give US fight fans a chance to show what I am about and to prove that I am ready for anyone in the light heavyweight division," revealed Garcia who celebrates his 24th birthday on Friday.
Garcia's last outing saw him record an impressive second round stoppage win over former two time World Champion Byron Mitchell and with Europe's best light heavyweight's running scared Garcia has turned his attention to the World stage.
"I have had a few fights fall through this year because it's very difficult to find opponents for me in Europe. Johnson has accepted the challenge, he's unbeaten and ambitious so it's a good fight for the fans and the winner will definitely be part of the New Generation.
"It's an important fight for me and I am determined to make the most of the opportunity. My fiancee is expecting our first child just a few days after the fight so it is tough to leave her at home while I go the US for this fight but I am making the sacrifice for my family's future and hopefully I will be back home in Cork in time for the birth."
Perez's bout with Ahunanya will give him the opportunity to showcase the punching power which saw him blitz the competition earlier this year to win the first ever International Prizefighter. Perez defeated Kertson Manswell, Gregroy Tony and Tye Fields en route to lifting the trophy in the one night event in London. In fact Perez needed a combined total of just 96 seconds to win the semi final and final and in his 3 fights he beat opponents with a combined record of 79 wins (69 KO's) against just 5 losses.
Perez might be in for a longer nights work in California with the ultra durable Ahunanya having dropped a points decision to Chris Arreola in his last fight this past July. The Las Vegas based Nigerian has also gone the distance with renowned puncher David Tua and current WBA Champion, Alexander Povetkin. Ahunanya also has a number of impressive scalps on his record having previously burst the unbeaten bubble of Alonzo Butler, Shane Cameron and Nate Jones while his record includes draws with Franklin Lawrence and Dominick Guinn.
Perez has been preparing for his US debut by sparring highly touted American prospect and Olympic medallist, Deontay Wilder and veteran contender Larry Donald. While Ahunanya is the next obstacle in his path his ultimate aim is a fight with either of the Klitschko brothers.
"The Klitschko's are easily the best guys out there right now at Heavyweight but there is no serious competition for them out there and I want to change that," stressed Perez. "They are excellent boxers but they are not the most entertaining to watch. The only fireworks during their fights are during the ring entrances and I can guarantee when I fight them there will be fireworks. A lot of guys just want to fight the Klitschko's for a big payday. They don't come to win but I will. For now I'm just concentrating on this next fight but I would love the opportunity to take on either of the Klitschkos."
Although the weather in California in December might be a little closer to the Cuban climate then a cold winter in Ireland neither Perez or Garcia has any long term ambitions to move Stateside. "Cuba is always in our hearts but Ireland is our home now said Perez. We all have family and friends here now, I have a little baby daughter and an Irish fiancee so I'm proud to fight with the Irish and Cuban flags. We have been made very welcome here and have great support from the Irish fans."
The Team Thomas trio of Garcia, Perez and Collado are all coached by the vastly experienced Colin Morgan. The Guyanese native relocated from New York to Cork 18 months ago having previously worked with World Champions such as Wayne Braithwaite, Guillermo Jones, Elio Rojas.
The December 30th event is promoted by DiBella Entertainment with Garcia V Johnson the first of three live bouts on the Shobox telecast. The main event sees the return of former undisputed middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor as he faces Jessie Nicklow while in the co-featured bout super middleweight contender, Andre Dirrell faces Darryl Cunningham.