On Saturday, Oct. 17, the “Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden, will host two additional stellar matchups as undefeated Cuban heavyweight Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (22-0, 19 KOs) takes on Matias Ariel “El Matador” Vidondo (20-1-1, 18 KOs) for the Interim WBA Heavyweight strap and middleweight Tureano Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs)faces Eamonn “King Kane” O’Kane (14-1-1, 5 KOs) in an IBF Middleweight eliminator.
Both bouts, scheduled for 12-rounds, will be featured on the televised undercard of the Middleweight World Championship bout between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and David Lemieux. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.
The winner of the Johnson-O’Kane bout will become the mandatory challenger for the IBF Middleweight Championship being contested in the main event between Golovkin and Lemieux.
Previously announced, in the co-featured bout of the Pay-Per-View telecast, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will defend his WBC Flyweight Championship against two-time former world champion Brian Viloria.
“Luis Ortiz is the real deal – not only does he have tremendous power, but he moves extremely well for a man of his size,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “If he gets past Vidondo, and captures his first heavyweight title, fights against anyone in the division – including Wladimir Klitschko – will be on the table.”
“The only way to be the best is to beat the best and taking on Matias and fighting for the Interim WBA Heavyweight World Title is a big step to proving that I am the best,” said Luis Ortiz. “But I am more than ready, I am too fast and too strong for Vidondo and I will prove that on October 17. My dream has always been to become the heavyweight champion of the world and this fight is a big step closer to that dream.”
“Making my U.S. debut while fighting for the interim WBA Heavyweight World Title is a big opportunity for me,” said Matias Ariel Vidondo. “I will get to showcase my power in front of a national stage on HBO Pay-Per-View and on the undercard of one of the biggest nights in boxing this year. I promise my fans and Argentina that I will not let them down. I will be victorious on October 17 and bring home a title.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity that has been awarded to me, to be able to fight in the IBF Middleweight Title Eliminator,” said Tureano Johnson. “It was long awaited, I feel like I am halfway there on the path to accomplishing my goal to becoming a world champion and with Golden Boy Promotions at my side I know it’s inevitable. HBO Pay-Per-View is a major platform and I’m excited to have been chosen and featured as one of their televised fights. I know that the fans have high expectations and they will not be disappointed.”
“I am looking forward to proving I am the next great middleweight champion on October 17,” said Eamonn O’Kane. “I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole career and now that it is finally here I am glad it will be at the ‘Mecca of Boxing,’ Madison Square Garden.”
Fans in attendance will also see a trio of impressive non-televised undercard matchups featuring top prospects from around the globe. In a 10-round lightweight bout, Montreal’s Ghislain Maduma (17-1, 11 KOs) makes his United States debut against the undefeated Maurice Hooker (18-0-2, 14 KOs) of Dallas, TX. Another 135-pounder drawing rave reviews is Washington, D.C. native Lamont Roach Jr. (8-0, 3 KOs) who is scheduled for a six-round lightweight bout. Opening up the night, undefeated super lightweight fighter Ruslan Madiev (5-0, 3 KOs) will fight in a four-round fight. Opponents for Roach and Madiev will be announced shortly.
Cuban amateur great, Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz had amassed nearly 350 wins before making his way to the United States to chase championship gold as a professional. Unbeaten in 24 bouts, the 36-year-old southpaw holds a knockout win over Monte Barrett, and in his most recent bout in June, he needed less than a round to dispatch Byron Polley. Looking to regain the interim WBA title, Ortiz is more motivated than ever to call himself a “World Champion.”
Currently sporting a 10-fight winning streak, Rosario, Argentina’s Matias Ariel Vidondo is nicknamed “El Matador,” but he has played the bull in knocking out his opponent in 18 of his 20 wins. A professional since 2010, the Argentinean heavyweight champion will fight for the first time outside of his home country on October 17, but the 38-year-old is eager to return with a world heavyweight championship belt in his suitcase.
A native of Nassau in the Bahamas, 31-year-old Tureano Johnson proudly represented his nation in the 2008 Olympics, making it to the quarterfinals in Beijing. In 2010, he turned professional and soared up the middleweight ladder before a controversial 2014 loss to Curtis Stevens. Undeterred, Johnson has since won four fights, three by knockout, and as the newest member of the Golden Boy Promotions roster, he knows that if he keeps winning, he will earn a shot at the title in one of boxing’s most storied divisions.
One of Northern Ireland’s most accomplished amateur fighters, Belfast’s Eamonn “King Kane” O’Kane won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and defeated the likes of George Groves and Anthony Ogogo before making his professional debut in 2011. Since then, the 33-year-old has gone unbeaten in all but one of his bouts. He heads into New York City having put together a 6-0-1 record in his last seven, a stretch that includes a 12-round win over previously unbeaten Lewis Taylor in defense of his IBF Intercontinental title in May.
A native of Kinshasa, the 30-year-old Maduma was a five-time Quebec champion as an amateur, and after a second-round technical knockout over Michele Focosi in June, he wants to keep the momentum going.
Lamont Roach Jr. has impressed fans since turning professional in 2014, and on October 17, he will enter the hallowed ring at Madison Square Garden for the first time in a six-round bout. Winner of three bouts thus far in 2015, Roach’s wins over Herbert Quartey, Jose Miguel Castro and Christian Santibanez have shown him to be a young boxer getting better with each fight.
Kazakhstan native Ruslan Madiev has made short work of his professional career having won more than half of those fights by knockout. Most recently the 22-year-old Madiev scored a second round knockout of Julio Sanchez on May 16 on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin/Willie Monroe sold-out event at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Madiev is also trained by the renowned Abel Sanchez alongside Golovkin in Big Bear, California.
Tickets for GOLOVKIN vs. LEMIEUX are on sale now and are priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50, tickets can purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.thegarden.com.