North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Super Welterweight champion Willie "The Great" Nelson (19-1-1, 11 KOs) makes his first title defense March 1 against tough challenger Michael "El Magnifico" Medina (26-3-2, 19 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature on ESPN Friday Night Fights, live from MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Nelson (19-1-1, 11 KOs), who is the top-ranked American in the World Boxing Council (WBC) ratings at No. 6, has been compared to a right-handed Paul Williams because of his freakish size (6' 4" & 81" reach) for a 154-pounder.
Coming off consecutive victories by impressive 10-round decisions over a pair of previously unbeaten prospects - two-time Cuban National champion Yudel Jhonson (12-1), on ShoBox, and World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth champion John "Dah Rock" Jackson (13-1, 12 KOs), for the vacant NABF super welterweight title - Nelson is on the verge of a world title fight.
Rumble Time Promotions president Steve Smith, who co-promotes Nelson with Lou DiBella (DiBella Entertainment), can't wait to watch Nelson showcase his talent on ESPN FNF. "Willie is really looking forward to this fight," Smith said.
"He's fully focused and ready to go. Willie is now a complete fighter working with head trainer Jack Lowe and his nutritionist and strength-and-conditioning coach, Mike Bartos. Willie is patient in the ring. He has learned how to use his height and long jab to be more of an advantage for him in the ring. Boxing fans will get to see the scariest 154-pounder in the world, standing 6' 4" and hitting his opponent from across the ring with his tremendous reach. I can't wait for boxing fans all over the world to see the complete package known as Willie 'The Great" Nelson."
Cleveland-native Nelson, who trains in Youngstown, Ohio with Loew, has a rich amateur pedigree having had nearly 250 matches, including title-winning performances in the PAL National Championships twice and U.S. Under-19 Tournament, and only 22 losses.
WBC No. 16-ranked Medina will be giving away 3 ½ inches in height, as well as a 9-inch reach, when he challenges Nelson. The Los Angeles-based fighter's most notable win is by 10-round decision in 2011 to Grady Brewer. A former NABF and FECOMBOX light middleweight champion, Medina has been stopped only once, by Saul Roman, and his only other losses as a professional have been to undefeated WBC No. 2-rated Vanes Martirosyan and John Duddy.