Showtime returns with hard hitting action on Saturday, January 26 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas live on SHOWTIME at 10 pm. The tripleheader will be headlined by Argentinean knockout artist Lucas Matthysse defending his WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship against Mike "The Silent Assassin" Dallas Jr.
In co-featured bouts, welterweight warriors Selcuk Aydin and Jesus Soto Karass will collide in a significant non-title attraction while rising undefeated junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo takes on an opponent to be named in a 10-round junior middleweight attraction.
Featured in a non- televised bout will be a 12-round WBO Asia Pacific Junior Welterweight title fight between champion Chad Bennett and challenger Ben Ankrah.
"We're excited to start off 2013 with a big tripleheader on SHOWTIME," said Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya. "We are setting the standard high for 2013 and this event is going to deliver up to that standard for fight fans in attendance at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and those watching on at home on SHOWTIME."
"We are thrilled to kick-off SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING in 2013 with an exciting night of boxing featuring some of the sports' hardest hitting punchers," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. "Whenever you bring together fighters of this caliber, you can expect great action packed fights and that is exactly what we are anticipating for this tripleheader on January 26."
After fighting under the radar for several years, Argentinean strongman Lucas Matthysse (32-2, 30 KO's) began breaking through on the international scene in 2010-11 after controversial decision losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, which many ringside observers believe he won. Following those defeats, he decided to take things out of the judges' hands. What followed were four consecutive knockout wins, including a 2012 finish of Humberto Soto in June and a 10th round TKO of Ajose Olusegun, the latter victory earning him the WBC Interim Super Lightweight title that he will defend on January 26.
One of California's top young talents, Bakersfield's Mike "The Silent Assassin" Dallas Jr. (19-2-1, 8 KO's) has learned from his experiences in the ring over the last four-plus years. After bouncing back from losses to Josesito Lopez and Mauricio Herrera in 2011 with wins against Miguel Gonzalez and Javier Castro in 2012, he's ready to make his move in 2013. The 26-year-old Dallas can make an emphatic statement to the boxing world with a win over Matthysse at the end of next month.
A native of Turkey who fights out of Hamburg, Germany, hard-nosed battler Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KO's) has long been one of the top European fighters in the world, winning European, WBC International, and WBC Silver titles. In July of 2012, Aydin returned to fight in the United States for the first time in three years and gave Robert Guerrero a grueling 12-round battle before losing a decision in their WBC Interim Welterweight World Championship bout. On January 26, the 29-year-old is back stateside and looking to take out perennial contender Jesus Soto Karass.
Highly respected by his peers and a growing fan base that appreciates his work ethic and aggressive fighting style, Los Mochis, Mexico's Jesus Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KO's) has paid his dues fighting the best competition possible over the years and is finally starting to get his time in the spotlight. An 11 year pro, the 30-year-old has won two of his last three bouts, with the only loss coming in a Fight of the Year candidate against Marcos Maidana in September of 2012. Knowing Soto Karass' style, once all is said and done, his bout with Aydin may receive that same consideration.
After putting together three big wins in 2012, Houston's Jermell Charlo (19-0, 9 KO's) is looing forward to topping that total in 2013, and he begins that quest on January 26. The winner of bouts over Chris Chatman, Denis Douglin and Dashon Johnson this year, the talented 22-year-old known as the "Iron Man" will be ready for whoever is placed across the ring from him in the SHOWTIME opener.
Fighting out of Newcastle, Australia, Chad "Hollywood" Bennett (30-4-3, 21 KO's) has been on a tear of late, winning six straight over the last two years, with five of those victories coming by knockout. The current WBO Asia Pacific Junior Welterweight Champion, the 39-year-old Bennett will return to fight in the United States for the first time since 2010 to defend his title against Accra, Ghana's Ben Ankrah (17-11, 8 KO's). A 12-year veteran of the sport, the 33-year-old Ankrah has won six of his last seven, and considering that he has ended five of those victories by knockout, expect some explosive action when he squares off against Bennett.
Tickets priced at $150, $100, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $125, go on sale on Friday, January 4 at noon PT and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.