The popular, prospect-orientated boxing series, ShoBox: The New Generation celebrates its 15th anniversary with a quadrupleheader on Friday, July 22 from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
In the 10-round main event, undefeated top 10-ranked Adam “Mantequilla” Lopez (15-0, 7 KOs) of Phoenix faces Roman Ruben Reynoso (18-1-1, 7 KOs) of Argentina in a bantamweight bout. Super middleweights Ronald Ellis (12-0-1, 10 KOs) of Lynn., Mass., and Julius Jackson (19-1, 15 KOs) of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, will collide in the eight-round co-feature.
Two eight-rounders will round out the four-fight telecast. O’Shaquie Foster (10-1, 7 KOs), of Orange, Texas, meets Rolando Chinea (12-1-1, 6 KOs), of Lancaster, Penn., in a featherweight scrap and undefeated Khiary Gray-Pitts (13-0, 10 KOs), of Worcester, Mass., will be opposed by fellow unbeaten Ismael Garcia (10-0, 4 KOs), of Vineland, N.J., by way of Pahokee, Fla., in the super welterweight opener.
Since its premiere on July 21, 2001, 67 boxers who’ve appeared on ShoBox went on to become world champions; the most recent, Rau’Shee Warren. An additional 75 fighters who appeared on ShoBox have fought for a world title.
Testament to the ShoBox mission statement and to the competitiveness of the fights – prospects are matched against their toughest opposition to date – 150 fighters have suffered their first loss on the developmental series.
Lopez, Ellis and Foster fought on GH3’s Feb. 19 ShoBox at Atlantic City. Lopez and Foster triumphed; Ellis boxed a draw.
Adam Lopez vs. Roman Ruben Reynoso: 10-round bantamweight bout
The steadily improving Lopez, now trained by Houston-based Ronnie Shields, will be making his fourth ShoBox start since March 2015. In his first three, he defeated previously unbeaten prospects (combined record: 44-0-2) on each occasion.
Last Feb. 19, the 5-foot-7, 25-year-old Lopez captured a career-best, highly competitive 10-round decision over Mario Muñoz (16-0-1) of Mexico. Lopez survived a nasty cut over his right eye to win by the scores of 98-92 twice and 97-93. In his other fights on ShoBox, Lopez won a (then personal-best) 10-round majority decision over Dominican Eliecer Aquino (17-0-1) on July 17, 2015, and by second-round knockout over Pablo Cruz (11-0) on March 13, 2015.
Regarding his upcoming fight against Reynoso, Lopez said, “Everything is good. I’m starting to turn up my sparring. I have switched trainers to Ronnie Shields in Houston. I see a lot of improvement since my last fight.
“Reynoso is a good fighter from Argentina. He is in Canada now, so I am sure he is getting good sparring there. He is kind of wild, but guys like that are hard to fight because you don’t know where the punches are coming from, but we will be prepared for anything.”
Born in Phoenix and raised in Los Angeles, Lopez moved to San Antonio at 15. He went 125-23 in the amateurs and won six national championships before turning pro at 21 in February 2012.
The 25-year-old Reynoso brings a 10-fight winning streak into his United States and ShoBox debut. A five-year pro, the South American lightweight champion fought his initial 18 fights in Buenos Aires before winning his last fight and lone start this year on a decision over Cristian Arrazola last May 20 in Canada. Reynoso’s lone defeat came in his fourth fight.
“Everything is going well in training camp,’’ Reynoso said. “We know that Lopez is tall for 122 pounds and he has good hand speed. He has a good name and we will try to learn more in the next few weeks.
“This is a big opportunity for us and we will do our best. This is a big fight and we know we have to win. With a win, we would hope to get a world title opportunity.’’
Ronald Ellis vs. Julius Jackson: Eight-round middleweight bout
Ellis gets an immediate opportunity to regain his winning ways after taking a sizeable jump up in class and boxing an eight-round draw with hard-hitting Jerry Odom in his Feb. 19 ShoBox debut. A spirited, close contest throughout was scored 78-74 for Ellis and 76-76 apiece. The draw snapped a four-fight-knockout streak for Ellis, who’s won all 10 of his knockouts inside two rounds (eight in the first) since turning pro in 2011.
“This is going to be another coming out party for me,’’ the 5-foot-11, 25-year-old Ellis said. “The last fight was a draw. I had some problems with my hand, but I’m back and this is a step for me. Hopefully he comes to fight. I hope he brings it 100 percent because I am bringing 200 percent.
“I am glad to be on ShoBox again. I showed the fans a little bit in my last fight. They can expect the same thing but a little bit more on July 22.’’
Jackson is making his second ShoBox start. In his debut – and initial go in the U.S. – the older brother of John and son of former two-division world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson registered two knockdowns en-route to a ninth-round TKO over Jonathan Nelson (19-2, 10 KOs) on Dec. 20, 2014.
Much like Ellis, Jackson is also getting a quick-fix chance to redeem himself and get back on the winning track. But, unlike Ellis, Jackson lost his most recent fight. His perfect record and 19-fight winning streak ended when he lost by second-round TKO to now top-rated super middleweight contender Jose Uzcategui last Oct. 6.
“I’m looking to redeem myself and come out with a win,’’ said the 6-foot-2 Jackson, who turns 29 on Aug. 1. “This is my second ShoBox fight and I’m excited to get back to let the world see my talent. I’m getting better, my training has been good. I expect to be in with another really good fighter. It should be a great fight.’’
A 2008 Olympian for the Virgin Islands and a pro since January 2009, Jackson is fighting for the third time in a row in the U.S.
O’Shaquie Foster vs. Rolando Chinea: Eight-round featherweight bout
O’Shaquie (pronounced “oh-SHACK-ee”) Foster is making his third appearance on ShoBox. Last Feb. 19, he began to live up to expectations when he rebounded from a sub-standard performance in his ShoBox debut (an eight-round decision loss to Samuel Teah in November 2015) to register a seventh-round TKO over previously undefeated Lavisas Williams (8-0-1).
Foster, 22, dropped southpaw Williams four times – in the second, third, fourth and seventh rounds. Three of the knockdowns appeared to result from a push, but Williams’ gloves touched the canvas each time so they went into the books as knockdowns. After the final knockdown in the seventh, the fight was stopped at 52 seconds into the round.
“Everything is going good,’’ Foster said. “I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning. I am in the best shape of my life. Chinea has a good jab and I know he will be in a good shape.
“Ever since I moved to Virginia to train, my conditioning, mentality and confidence has gone way up and that was the difference from my first fight to my last fight on ShoBox. On July 22, I will be even that much better.’’
A highly decorated amateur standout, the 5-foot-8½ inch Foster advanced to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials where he lost to unbeaten pro prospect, Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz. Before that, Foster was a 2010 PAL National Champion, a five-time Ringside National Champion and two-time National Junior Golden Gloves Champion.
Chinea, a 5-foot-8, 25-year-old, is making his ShoBox debut. After going pro in November 2011, he went 10-0-1 before losing an eight-round decision to Ismail Muwendo in April 2015. He’s won two straight since, including a six-round decision over previously undefeated Ladarius Miller (then 9-0) in his last fight on Feb. 16.
“I treat every opponent the same,’’ Chinea. “I give everything I got and I leave it all in the ring. I know Foster was a good amateur. I know he can box and I know he has some pop.
“This is the moment I’ve dreamed about since I started boxing at 14. My main goal is to tune out the crowd and win. I want to be a main event fighter on SHOWTIME and this is the first step.’’
Khiary Gray-Pitts vs. Ismael Garcia: Eight-round super welterweight bout
Gray-Pitts, 23, will be boxing on ShoBox for the first time. Ambidextrous with quick hands and feet, Gray-Pitts turned pro in June 2014. He fought three times that year, eight times in 2015 (8-0, 8 KOs, seven in the first, one in the second) and this will be his third fight in 2016.
“I’m very excited,’’ Gray-Pitts said. “Now I get to showcase my skillset to the whole world. It’s something I’ve been waiting for. There’s still more that people haven’t seen yet when it comes to me. Now I get to see what I have the ability to do. I’m able to block [the crowd] out.
“The more pressure there is, the more relaxed I am. I don’t know a lot about my opponent, but it doesn’t matter as long as I go in there and get done what I need to get done.”
The 5-foot-9 Gray-Pitts is coming off a second-round knockout over Quinton Willis last May 13. In his outing before last, the previous Feb. 19, won a 10-round decision over Eduardo Flores.
Garcia, 29, has fought sporadically since turning pro in March 2010, although he’s been more active in the last 14 months. He fought in May and October in 2015 and won his one start this year on a six-round split decision over Carlos Garcia last March 18. Garcia’s initial seven fights took place in Atlantic City, the last three in Philadelphia.
“It is my television debut, and everything we have been working on in my first 10 fights we will put together for this fight,’’ Garcia said. “This is SHOWTIME. Being on ShoBox is a long time coming for me. It’s what I’ve dreamed about since I started boxing. It’s his TV debut as well so I know he will be on top of his game. We will be preparing 100 percent for that and then some.
“I have seen a little of Gray-Pitts on tape. This will be my toughest test, as I will be his toughest test. When you have 13-0 fighting 10-0, it will be a good fight.’’