Unbeaten rising star Antoine “Action” Douglas will fight on ShoBox: The New Generation for a fifth time when he takes on Les “Lock N Load” Sherrington in a clash of ranked middleweights in the main event of a quadrupleheader on Friday, Nov. 6, at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC), across from the D Las Vegas in iconic Downtown Las Vegas.
The popular prospect-oriented boxing series premiered in July 2001 and has produced 63 world champions to date. Antoine’s fifth ShoBox appearance will tie him with eight other fighters for second place on the all-time list (the ShoBox appearance record is held by Chris Avalos with six appearances). All of the fighters with five or more ShoBox appearances went on to challenge for a world title, five triumphed –Andre Ward, Ishe Smith, Robert Guerrero, Kendall Holt and Badou Jack—and three fell short –Avalos, Mike Arnaoutis and Sechew Powell. A sixth five-time Shobox participant, Lateef Kayode, is scheduled to challenge WBA Cruiserweight World Champion Denis Lebedec on Nov. 4.
Douglas, of Burke, Va., is the WBA’s ninth-ranked contender. He will enter the 10-round bout for the WBA and WBO International 160-pound titles with a record of 18-0-1, 12 KOs. Australia’s Sherrington, the WBA’s No. 12th-rated contender, is 35-7, 30 KOs.
“Douglas has been consistently entertaining throughout his fights on ShoBox and is fighting another older, more-experienced opponent once again,’’ said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “Part of the satisfaction of watching fighters develop on ShoBox is seeing them graduate to contender status. Douglas is just about at that point; he is taking his final classes.’’
The 10-round ShoBox co-feature will match former international amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Ukrainian southpaw Taras “Real Deal” Shelestyuk (12-0, 8 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif. against experienced Aslanbek Kozaev (26-1-1, 7 KOs), of Vladikavkaz, Russia, in a welterweight bout.
Two eight-rounders will round out the 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 in a super lightweight scrap and O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster (8-0, 5 KOs) of Orange, Texas, confronts “Tsunami Sam” Teah (6-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia in a lightweight match.
Douglas, 23, has been impressive in four consecutive victories since he boxed a draw with former world title challenger Michel Soro in an eight-rounder that was part of the 200th ShoBox telecast on July 25, 2014. Douglas has won his last two starts by knockout: on July 17, a third-round TKO over Istvan Szili and on March 13, a sixth-round TKO over Thomas LaManna.
“This is a very good matchup for me,’’ said Douglas. “I feel I’m in the right place on my career. I want to move up the ranks and earn a title shot.
“I have seen Sherrington and he is tall and long. He likes to fight on the inside. He has lost to Sam Soliman. I’ve been in camp with Soliman and he’s not a big puncher.
“This is my first fight in Las Vegas, I’m very excited. Las Vegas is the boxing mecca of the world. This is a huge step up for me.”
Douglas, a top amateur who made it to the 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials, has been extremely active since turning pro in October 2012. He fought twice in 2012, nine times in ’13, six times in ’14 and this would be his third start this year.
Sherrington of Burleigh, Gold Coast, Australia, will be fighting outside of his native land for the first time in this, his U.S. and 2015 debuts. He’s won two in a row and is 8-1 in his last nine fights, the loss coming to former IBF World Middleweight Champion Soliman in December 2013.
Since the bitter defeat to Soliman that knocked him out of the world rankings, Sherrington has been looking to redeem himself in a major matchup in a major stage. This is his opportunity.
“This fight is something I have been waiting my whole career for and I plan on giving it my best shot,’’ he said. “I can’t wait to get over to America and showcase my skills. Fighting top-tier fighters is all I’ve ever asked.’’
The well-conditioned 6-foot, 33-year-old Sherrington turned his career around after losing his pro debut in April 2002 and going 4-3 in his first seven starts. Since March 2006, he’s 25-3 while winning several minor titles. In his last start on Dec. 2014 he captured the WBA Oceania Middleweight Title with a shutout 10-round decision over Samir Santos Barbosa.
Taras Shelestyuk made his debut at the late age of 27. A prospect at 147 pounds, he was an amateur standout (195-15) in Ukraine with extensive international experience. He was the Gold Medalist at the 2011 World Championships and a Bronze Medalist at the 2012 Olympics, both at 152 pounds.
The 5-foot-10 29-year-old, who was born in Makeevka, Ukraine, is trained by International Boxing Hall of Famer, Freddie, Roach. Shelestyuk is a lefthander with solid skills, movement and punching power who has exclusively campaigned in the United States since turning pro in March 2013. He went 6-0 in 2013, 3-0 in 2014, and is 3-0 this year. He’s coming off a unanimous eight-round decision over Juan Rodriguez last April 3 in Ontario, Calif. He’s gone eight rounds twice.
Regarding his nickname, Shelestyuk said, “My nickname is ‘Real Deal,’ and it means that I prove what I say in the business that I do.”
Kozaev, 29, 5-foot-7, is making his 2015 debut and fifth U.S. start. He won his first two before losing his outing before last on a 12-round decision to prospect Ray Robinson in an NABO welterweight title fight on Feb. 21, 2014. He’s short for the welterweight class and is spotting Shelestyuk 3 ½ inches in height.
Smith, the 2008 National Golden Gloves Featherweight Champion and a 2007 Junior Olympic National Champion, turned pro in April 2010—at 130 pounds.
The 5-foot-7, 25-year-old will be making his fourth start of the year after fighting just one time in both 2012 and 2011. He’s won two of his three fights in 2015 by knockout, including any easy second-round knockout over Lavell Hadley last Aug. 15 in Atlantic City. This will be his second fight since signing with GH3 Promotions and his first since his mother died in late September.
“This has been a rough training camp as my mom passed away and we had the funeral on Sept. 29,’’ Smith said. “Going through that is extra motivating and I am dedicating this fight to her. I am excited to be in my first television bout. I can’t wait for Nov. 6.”
Smith went 72-4 in the amateurs. Two of the victories came against current world-ranked contender Amir Imam.
Whitaker, a 5-foot-9, 31-year-old, has fought in Texas in all but one of his fights. He’s been impressive in his three fights this year, winning them all by clear and convincing eight-round decisions.
Whitaker produced a career-best victory two outings ago when he soundly out-tallied previously undefeated knockout artist and local favorite, Skender Halili. Also, Whitaker captured the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) and U.S.A. Texas State Super Welterweight titles by outpointing Rodolfo Gomez on Jan. 16 in Laredo.
“Talk is cheap, this fight is going to be a war,’’ said Whitaker, a three-year pro who was victorious in his first seven pro fights and also owns a win over previously undefeated Felipe Rivas. “He wants to keep his undefeated record but I am trying to get to where I want to be.”
Foster, 22, will be making his eight-round debut. A pro since August 2012, he’s made short work of his last two opponents, scoring opening-round knockouts over Darius Jackson (1:03) and Frank Jordan (1:26) on Sept. 26 and Aug. 22, respectively.
“It is going to be a great fight. I am glad for the opportunity,’’ said Foster, who’s been brought along carefully after a 100-plus amateur career in which he advanced to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Games Trials where he lost to unbeaten pro prospect, Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz.
“I have been training really hard. I have looked at Teah and he throws a lot of wide and wild punches. I am looking forward to fighting in Las Vegas.’’
The 2011 Houston Golden Gloves and 2010 PAL National Champion, Foster was a five-time Ringside National Champion and two-time National Junior Golden Gloves Champion.
Teah, 28, a lightweight, will also be making his eight-round debut. All seven of his previous starts have been scheduled for four rounds. Since suffering his lone setback on a majority four-round decision to undefeated Laviasas Williams on July 25, 2014, Teah has won two in a row, both on shutout four-round decisions, including a 40-36 whitewash against Raymond Velez in his lone start this year on July 17.