On Friday, January 10, “Battle at the Boat 94”, a night of high-level professional boxing, will be televised live, worldwide by ESPN in the I-5 Showroom of the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington.
In the night’s main event, IBF #8-ranked Afghani-Canadian Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) will face Mexican KO artist Juan Antonio “El Mozo” Rodriguez (25-4, 23 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight battle.
And in the televised co-feature, longtime top contender and Erik Morales conqueror Zahir “Z-Man” Raheem (34-3, 21 KOs), the former Philadelphian turned hometown Tacoma hero, will continue his comeback against an opponent that is TBA.
On the undercard, former top cruiserweight contender Lateef “Power” Kayode (19-0, 15 KOs) will make the second appearance of his heavyweight campaign.
31-year-old Usmanee, was born in Afghanistan, is now based in Montreal, but trains in Las Vegas with former champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. He was last seen fighting to a draw with current IBF Super Featherweight Champion, Argenis Mendez, in August of 2013. In a battle many felt the aggressive Usmanee had won, the fight was declared a majority draw with one judge scoring for Usmanee.
Puebla, Mexico’s hard-punching southpaw Juan Antonio Rodriguez was last seen n November of this year, scoring a TKO 4 over Javier Mercado at the Centro de Convenciones IMSS, in Tlalpan, Mexico. Rodriguez has been very competitive against top level opposition including former IBF Featherweight Champion Billy Dib, but has just fallen short. The fight against Usmanee will be his chance to join the upper ranks of the division.
37-year-old Zahir “Z Man” Raheem was a top-level featherweight for many years and scored a nationally televised win over all-time-great Erik Morales and dropped a highly questionable decision to multi-world champion Acelino Freitas. He began his comeback earlier this year and has notched three victories since stepping away in 2010. He was last seen scoring an impressive TKO 2 over Tim Coleman at the Emerald Queen Casino.
Undefeated 30-year-old Nigerian Lateef Kayode is best known for fighting to a draw with world champion and Roy Jones conqueror Antonio Tarver in June 2012. Kayode began campaigning as a heavyweight earlier this month and scored a devastating TKO 2 over Travis Fulton at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California.
“I am happy to be working with so many great promotional firms to bring this sensational event to the fans in Tacoma. We are expecting a total sell-out, standing room only.” said event promoter Greg Cohen. “Arash Usmanee is the uncrowned champion of the world and I congratulate ESPN for recognizing his importance and putting him in another main event of one of their exceptional broadcasts. The entire night will be terrific. There is also a full undercard of local prospects. I expect this to be one of the best shows of the year.”
“We are very excited to be working with Friday Night Fights once again,” said Brian Halquist. “We have now been working with Zahir for over a year now and are absolutely ready for a national showcase. Being 3-0 with 3 knockouts, Zahir has done everything we have asked of him and more. After Zahir defeated Morales there were always questions surrounding a Raheem vs. Pacquiao fight, leaving behind some unfinished business. He belongs on the world stage and that’s where we’re going to take him.”
Tickets for “Battle at the Boat 94” are available through Ticketmaster and start at $35. All bouts are subject to change. The Emerald Queen Casino is located at 2024 E. 29th St, in Tacoma. This event will begin at 6:00 pm (PST). Visit GCPboxing.com for more information. This event is for persons 21 years of age and older. No one under 21 will be admitted.